Studio Lettering

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Ken Barber
House Industries
Release Year
Country of Origin
United States
Script, Brush Script
Original Format
House Industries


Before the era of digital publishing, talented artists in small lettering shops applied their talents to give personality to countless advertisements, editorials and package designs. Sadly, the use of these time-honored commercial art practices has since diminished. Studio Lettering revives the spirit of a bygone trade by gracefully combining classic techniques with 21st-century technology. These three genuinely “smart” fonts feature handy OpenType engineering, extensive character sets, multiple language support and loads of extras! If all of this seems too daunting, just start setting type in any OpenType-savvy application because we’ve done the heavy lifting.

From the desk of Ken Barber:

“I’ve always been drawn to hand lettering, whether in a disintegrating issue of The Post or on a dusty LP rescued from the local thrift. At the same time I marvel at the talents of designers who brought metal type to life. Yet, both of these disciplines have limitations, so I embarked on the Studio Lettering project to see if these crafts had something more to learn from one another.

“After some critical thinking (and a few hundred sketches), it was clear that lettering and digital type are not all that different. With some innovative computer programming, a letterer’s habits can be synthesized into systematic routines. Add Tal Leming’s type engineering know-how and the result is Studio Lettering, stylishly “smart” fonts that combine genuine freedom and function.

“Early trials of the collection were presented at the 2005 Association Typographique Internationale congress in Helsinki. This trip to Scandinavia also inspired me to develop a distinctive font feature: “colloquial” character sets. In my travels, I noticed that people from different cultures often represent the same letter in unique ways. With the help of several international colleagues, Studio Lettering integrates these cultural nuances and national preferences to make for a truly cross-cultural type collection.

“Despite their origins, these fonts aren’t at all nostalgic. Studio Lettering is a modern and practical response to the demands of contemporary graphic design.”

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Jason Santa Maria’s avatar

Last edited by Jason Santa Maria on August 24, 2009, 03:44pm EST

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