Studio Lettering

Studio Lettering

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.