Friday, January 18, 2013

Font of the Month: Quicksilver

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
What the Font Forum, MyFonts is a clearinghouse for typography questions and information, and their "What the Font?" forum is a chance for readers to submit a sample for anyone to identify what the font might be. The Letraset Quicksilver font identified on this page has an interesting back story. In 1976, teenaged Dean Morris boldly submitted his hand-drawn neon tubular Quicksilver typeface to the Letraset company for consideration. Since its disco style was very hot at the time, the company added the font and filled in the gaps Morris had neglected to create (such as punctuation). The 37 years since then has seen the big display font used, imitated, and appropriated around the world, and the designer freely admits its tendency toward the "trashy". Below the excerpt, check out the Flickr slideshow of several examples of the font in action.

Excerpt (from the designer's response to the query): "I designed it as a 16 year-old kid in John Glenn High School in Bay City, Michigan, and sent Letraset a xerox of a tight sketch of 3" letters kerned with the heavy outlines slightly overlapping as I originally intended. I drew only the skinny S without an alternate and submitted no punctuation (what did I know?). Letraset must have wanted it real fast (fifties nostalgia and disco were WHITE HOT then, remember), because they did the finished art themselves at 5" high (they can’t have known my age, maybe they had no confidence in my technical talent), starting with the E as did I in the design stage. And what a gorgeous rendering job they did in the pre-Mac days of ruling pens, straightedges, and handdrawn curves (those aren’t compass curves)! Letraset stayed very close to my tight sketch, designed the punctuation, and suggested an alternate but wierd wide S, which I approved, figuring there was probably no other decent way to design it. I imagined the punctuation would match the stroke width of the letters but they drew them narrower and slightly oddly, but I figured what the hell. 

If you wondered, 'What was I thinking?' when you looked at the A, B, E, F, K, N, Q, R, and Y, I’ll tell you. I was simply trying to describe part of the letter being drawn in the wrong direction. I thought I was so clever. For instance the E cross-stroke goes from right to left rather than from left to right like, oh, any other Roman cap E in history. R and Q diagonals came from waaaaaaaay on the other side, N goes waaaaaaay around the wrong way before starting the diagonal. “Chrome” letters can branch but these “glass tube” letters don’t! Alas, digitization came along eventually and fontographer technology followed."

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