Release Year
Country of Origin
Ornamented, Novelty
Original Format
caps, display


A new typeface designed by British type designer Philip Kelly.
Although Fantail is caps only, there is an extensive character count and you can set in the French, German and Spanish languages.

The design has echoes of Art Deco with a touch of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The initial creative spark was ignited when Philip saw the Roy Orbison concert DVD ‘Black And White Night’. This was filmed in 1987 at the now demolished Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles. The club was part of the Ambassador Hotel and went through many décor changes. For Roy’s concert the stage had an Art Decor theme, with a large ‘Ro’ monogram behind the musicians. That monogram was the spark that gave him the idea to begin Fantail. The monogram is different to Fantail, but it is not reproduced here in case of copyright issues. For those interested, perhaps look it up on ‘YouTube’.

This typeface has some feminine charms and being very condensed, saves space – very helpful on tall narrow packaging and book covers.

The ‘O’ began as a straight-sided race track shape. This then suggested cutting up the ‘O’ to make an arch topped ‘A’ with straight sides. He also considered using this shape as a template for other letters. However, Philip soon realised that this approach was too geometrical and repetitive and he went for a more humanistic ‘O’ instead. The ‘fantail’ shaped serifs came a bit later when he was looking for inspiration from the arts and crafts movement.

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Dave Dawson’s avatar

Last edited by Dave Dawson on June 2, 2012, 12:32am EST

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