Monday, December 29, 2008

News from Esserveld

The holiday season proved benificial for my new font. I talked a lot, made sketches and waited for some "brainwaves" and all that resulted in a partially overhauled font:

The X, Y and Z are still problem children, and the same is true for the O and Q. The K seems promising, but it's not quite what I want. The H could use an ellipse, probably on the right side. I'll tinker with that. As always: if you have a comment, don't hesitate to share it with me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Help is much appreciated

I'm keeping my focus on the northern part of The Netherlands for a while, getting inspiration from all the fascinating buildings over there. One that caught my eye was the Esserveld cemetery, of which I present this picture of the entrance building:

Notice the lettering that was used for the name. This just HAS to be transformed into a font. First impression: "Hey, piece of cake, I'll do that in a couple of hours..."
Yeah! But then the second impression: "Whoa! This is really complicated", followed after a short while by impression number three: "Gosh, what did I do? How do I get out of this trap?"
First thing I did was recreate the E, S, R, V, L and D, with a little tweaking, like the stem of the R. Then, the rest of the uppercase set was made, as can be seen here:

And this is where the public comes in (I hope). Please let me know which of the letters you find the 'odd ones out'. I have some ideas myself, but in order not to influence anyone I keep my mouth shut for the time being. Please put a comment underneath.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blues no more, welcome to the city

Finally the new font Mokum Stad is complete. I added some diacrytics, made a small kerning table and - to top it off - I wrote a new page for my website. On this page is some info about the font, my source of inspiration and, most important of all, a means to download the font.

This is a link to that page

The page is bilingual (Dutch/English) and it might not display properly if you have a small screen. So, for those of you having a 640 x 480 pixel screen, please scroll a bit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Typographer's blues...

Okay, the new font Mokum Stad was in the making. I only had an example for upper case, and tried do make my own lower case. That was the first version of the font. It was not quite what I thought it would be. After some talks the original idea was abandoned and a new, rounder version was made. That looked like this:

It was modelled a bit after one of the Broadway typefaces. And guess what? People I showed it to all found it "remarkably like Broadway" and "not quite as nostalgic as it could be". Blast! I couldn't but agree, so there I was. Up a certain creek without a paddle...
Time for some serious thinking, done while sawing logs for the fireplace. Destroying lumber as a means to free your mind... And yes, it worked. A new lower case was born, as a sort of small caps. Looking like this:

Well that's more like it. There are still some wrinkles to iron out, but the result looks nostalgic enough for my purposes. Have another sample here:

Friday, November 14, 2008

A new font, finally

It took me some time to produce a new font. This time I was inspired by the city of Groningen, in the north of the country. That region has a rich tradition of architecture and the like from the 1920's and 30's.
One of the city maps was done in Amsterdam School style, with a peculiar lettering. This forms the basis of my new font:

The name of the font was a challenge, because I wanted to include the word Mokum (meaning city in Hebrew). This had to be combined with another term belonging to Groningen. The inhabitants call their cjty Grunn, so Mokum Grunn was an option. In the neighbouring province of Friesland the city is called Grins, leading to Mokum Grins. This suggestion was definitely discouraged by Koos Staal, graphic designer from Haren, province Groningen.
Then a third option came into view. The people from Groningen are often called Stadjers, meaning inhabitants of Stad. Presto, the name was born: Mokum Stad, in which Mokum stands for city and Stad stands for city as well! But who cares?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Practical application of the fonts (4)

Some time ago I told you that I saw my font Mokum Tooneel on the fa├žade of a building in Amsterdam-Noord. Today I hopped on the ferry, to take a closer look. This may seem like a tremendous journey, but the distace covered is a couple of hundred meters, which takes no more than 3 or 4 minutes.
Stepping off the ferry, I was treated to the lettering in all its glory, as you can see on the picture below:

The characters are made of wood, with several layers of paint on it. It looks very nice. Going in, I got my second surprise of the day, a chalk board next to the entrance with the specials of the day (in this case several kinds of pastry from 3 euros). Notice the artwork at the top of the board! Very nicely done. I must experiment a little with texts that are perpendicular to each other.
Anyway, it then was time for the third surprise, when the barkeeper asked me if I had seen the second logo on the back of the restaurant (the side that is visible to the people coming from Amsterdam-Noord going by ferry to the centre). I didn't, so I went to the back, and took the following picture:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A new font in the making

I finally found the time to do some work on a new font. This one will be called Mokum Schip, in honour of Michel de Klerk and his fabulous building called "Het Schip" in Amsterdam. Translation is not that difficult, it's just "The Ship".
In this complex, which has a triangular layout, there is room for all kinds of public spaces, like a school and a Post Office. The school is still in use, the Post Office is now part of the museum. You could buy stamps there, post letters and make telephone calls. To do the latter, a special procedure was followed. In the Post Office there were two Phone Booths. One was behind the counter and that was used to make the connection. When that was done, the connection was rerouted to the "Spreekcel", located in the public area of the Office. The person making the phone call went into the Spreekcel (phone booth) and talked with the other party. With the door closed, for privacy.
For this booth a special font was designed, as you can see on the picture. That sample will form the basis of my new font.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sailing along to a surprise

Last Saturday I spend the afternoon on a boat, going through the canals of Amsterdam. We also navigated the IJ, the water between the centre of the city and the Northern part (yes, it's called Amsterdam-Noord). Just between to gulps of beer I noticed something in the corner of my eye. Looking closer I discovered a peculiar piece of lettering.

Would that perhaps be....???
On closer inspection it turned out that it was indeed my font Mokum Tooneel, which was used for the new sign on Cafe de Pont (Freely translated the Ferry Pub). The owner was looking for a nice font to use on her newly acquired Cafe, which was built in 1928. Mokum Tooneel fitted the requirements. Shortly I will go over there, to take some pictures of the giant wooden letters.
The font is also used on the website of the Cafe, so I would suggest to take a look.