Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter...

Today's letter is brought to you by the letter: F.
ITC Blackadder, Regular, lowercase f.

I haven't done a decorative type face in this series yet, but as soon as I saw ITC's Blackadder, I knew that was about to change. What I really love about ITC Blackadder's regular, lowercase 'f' is how evocative it is. With the flowing, long stem and rough edges, it's the perfect typeface to use when writing that message in a bottle. It's an heirloom, a relic of a time when people wrote by hand, sailed ships to new lands, and said words like wench and booty and Jolly Roger without pretension or irony. Something about the actual shape makes me think nautical. Is it the way the stem leans forward, like a boat that forges ahead? Is it the descended extender that imitates a hook? Or the ascender that evokes a hook for a hand? Or the whole shape that was clearly created with a new quill pen and the finest Indian inks over choppy waters?

I think ITC Blackadder does exactly what type should do--evoke a time, a meaning, a place. Sure, it'll more often be used poorly than well, but occasionally (Pirate Day?) it could be used perfectly. I found this example of a wedding invitation using ITC Blackadder. While the typeface does have a romantic edge to it, I think it feel romantic in a lonely, ennui way, not quite the best subconscious feeling for a wedding. What do you think?

Courtesy of fonts.com and myfonts.com

Design Foundry: ITC International Typeface Corp
Bob Anderton

Date: 1996

"It was the eerie transformation of insurrectionist Guy Fawkes’ signature after he was tortured that inspired British designer Bob Anderton’s new typeface ITC Blackadder. Basing his design on hand written letterforms typical of the 16th century, Anderton captured the flurried scrolls and curlicues of the era and then added the sinister tremble that defines ITC Blackadder. This elegant, yet menacing display face is perfect for theatrical uses and scare tactics." - Fonts.com

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