Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The word "bad" has different meanings in Dutch and English...

Work has started on a new font, inspired by "Het Sportfondsenbad" in the eastern part of Amsterdam. In this case "bad" doesn't mean bad, but it stands for "pool". That's why the font will not be named Mokum Bad, but Mokum Plons. Plons is Dutch for "splash". I rejected Mokum Pool for roughly the same reason, because Pool in Dutch stands for "inhabitant of Poland".

The inspiration
The text Het Sportfondsenbad has been cut from a thick sheet of steel*). The name was first bolted to the wall of the building that houses the pool. Over the years this building was altered, refurbished and such. Consequently the lettering was taken from the wall, remounted et cetera. This caused some damage. A couple of years ago the text looked like this:

It seemed interesting and one day I went to Amsterdam to take a better look. This is part of what I saw:

And somewhat further to the right there was this:

The bottom of the letters was rusted and then covered in paint. But it survived several decades, that's the main thing. The characters look deviously simple, which I found out when I did my best to copy some of them. That first try looked horrible, and the font-to-be was put on hold. In the meantime there appeared a book on alphabets in Amsterdam, on the cover of which the Sportfondsenbad was prominently featured. If you do not know that book, look at the following picture, where you see yours truly holding it:

The font now lies on the drawing board. It still needs some tweaking & fiddling, but:

*) Update #1
I have to revise my earlier thoughts, since the letters are oxydized at the sides they were probably not made from steel. Rather, they were cut from a sheet of iron. Stainless steel was available when the tekst was made, but ir probably was too expensive. A good coating of primer or poisonous leadoxyde were enough to keep the metal from rusting. Several layers of paint gave the finishing touch.

Update #2
The font is more or less ready for download. I might do some tweaking, but the body of the font is ready. Download is possible, using Internet Explorer, from: http://ristcard.nl/html/mokum_plons1.html


Annemarie van Gorkom said...
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