Share your pleasure and learning experience at drawing revivals

(I hope that's the adequate category to post the following. Otherwise moderators may move this topic to a better place.)

I would not open here a discussion about copyright or about why or why not drawing revivals. I find those questions are extensively and interestingly discussed on other topics.

I think that should be constructive and funny (why not) to read your personnal experience about drawing more or less accurate reconstitution of old or very ancient fonts (in the Venetians I take for example Mangel's Basel Antiqua), or more or less free reinterpretation of them (for example Hadriano, Pastonchi etc.)

That could be a technical learning or an aesthetical or even an emotional experience.

Do you have plenty of satisfaction or even big frustration in this area, express yourself here if you want for our information.

Thank you in advance !



  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,337
    edited December 2017
    The most fun I've had making a revival was Minicomputer. I tracked the development of magnetic typefaces Westminster in 1965 to the end of the MICR craze—which only seemed to last about 5 years. Apart from the initial MICR E13B numerals designed in the 1950s, everyone did their own interpretation of what the alphabet would look like with a certain amount of borrowing from one another. Everyone had their own plausibility level. Squared off designs like Yavroyan Egra. A mix of circuit board traces and LSD as in Hinge Computer. Data '70 and Computer were more austere and ended up becoming the standard. The style branched off into similar styles like Amelia, Williamson Program, Cucumber. I spent way too much time researching, not enough time working on my font. It's not based on any particular magnetic typeface. It's more of a what-if scenario. What if someone in the 1960s had been asked to make a magnetic typeface in multiple weights, covering Greek, Cyrillic and more symbols and punctuation that you'd typically find in a display font in those times.
  • edited December 2017
    My first three outline fonts were revivals (before those I made original bitmap fonts). The first one by eyeballing, no scanning (like some of Nick's). Doing a revival felt like a necessary evil (due to my cluelessness) not something wholesome, although I was naïvely proud of the results.

    Charles Mazé recently revived Deberny & Peignot's #16. I would have loved to do it myself! But only because its Italic helps open up an interesting future.

  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited December 2017
    Wow ! Already very informative material and interesting points of view !

    @Nick Shinn Your first link doesn't work for me. However I saw "Cartier" a long time ago, and what a good idea to digitize it ! I like its somewhat between Art Nouveau and Art Deco taste. It has also something in common with Goudy's Kennerley. Your version is charming. About Moderns I find me very unexperienced to talk about Scotch as I am for Didones too. But your Goodchild is interesting, it remembers me Legacy ITC which is also a good large x height Jenson revival.
    Your motivation at working on revivals is close to mine. Its a very immersive learning experience. I could complete your description with "trying to see through the original designer's eyes".
    I very well understand you don't work with printer specimens. If you do so you must always add comprehensive comparisons with "real world" prints to your process.

    @Ray Larabie This area of typography history isn't less interesting than the study of "Great historical Ancestors". I appreciate your "what if scenario" concept :-)

    @Hrant H. Papazian Aren't doing something not completely wholesome and beeing naïvely proud of the result parts of a normal learning curve ? ;-)

  • ivan louette said:
    Aren't doing something not completely wholesome and beeing naïvely proud of the result parts of a normal learning curve ? ;-)
    Who you callin' normal?!  ;-Þ
  • Ha ha ha ! You got the point :-) Perhaps I could say legitime instead of normal (because normal evocates too much some kind of standardization ;-)
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,059
    edited December 2017
    Here is the Dair link, fixed.
    Your motivation at working on revivals is close to mine.
    I don’t think so. You asked about experience in the design process, which I recounted, not motivation, which I didn’t.

    My motivation for the Modern Suite was primarily to correct a couple of misperceptions prevalent in 2004 (and perhaps still), namely that the didone genre has poor readability, and that the sans serif is a modernist, 20th century invention. Also, I felt that the available Scotch Moderns were too cookie-cutter clinical in their finish, and there should be a more “post-printed” version published—a concept established by ITC Bodoni.

    My motivation for Goodchild was again contrarian, namely to produce an old style newspaper text face. I figured why not base it on the source, Jenson.

  • Thanks a lot for the link. I confirm I like Dair.

    About motivation I possibly misunderstood some parts of the the last paragraph of your first post.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I am not sure if my Dez Weimar Plakat Pro counts as a revival, since it was based on lettering and not a typeface. I saw a low rez gif file online of an old 1923 Weimar poster that got my attention.  It only contained a few of the characters but I just extrapolated the rest of the Latin and added Greek and Cyrillic just for fun.  There were no scans but since it was a simple rectilinear face, it was not very hard to figure out. Strangely, it still sells!

  • Thanks. Interesting extrapolation process. And very easy to read result ! Did you see it in use ? Or for which kind of document do you think it's used ?
  • Nice and funny poster ! But I am sure it could be used also elsewhere out of its historical context.
  • [A bit out of the subject]… I never did any revival typeface, however I guess I'll love to do so. If somebody has some suggestions to summit to me do not hesitate. 
  • Not totally out of subject. Depends on your tastes perhaps. For example which historical area would you investigate ?
  • I look rather at the style than historical area, country or year period. Something like condensed sans serif one.
  • Personnally no idea (in Belgian French I say "Je donne ma langue au chat"), but perhaps somebody else ?
  • Thanks a lot ! That's a remarkably interesting video. The questions should we publish as it is an unpublished type design project, or should we publish it optimized, or should we not (never) publish it ? On the other hand sould we call it a revival in the first and the second case or should we give another name to that ? (A "vival" perhaps ;-)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    Here is the original poster that I used as a source for my typeface:
  • Thanks Hrant and Chris for your suggestions. I will certainly take a close look to that.

  • Pretty interesting presentation (video). Personally I would choose the second option of those three questions.
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