Local Flavor Typography

010In strolling through my town, I found this typeface not just on the sign for “Bill’s Music,” but also on three other storefronts. For “Music City Maryland,” I feel that this typography is appropriate. Catonsville is a small town, but not a cute, quaint one; rather, the growing downtown has a working class feel. This typeface is simple and straightforward, and the curves add fun; free of flair and intricacies, but full of a lively spirit, this typeface embodies the local flavor of this town.


Suburban Typography

005 I feel that this picture embodies the typography of suburban America. Shopping centers thrive in cities and towns surrounding metropolitan areas; though everyone would love to be able to walk to a local grocery store, shopping centers like these are often the main source of everyday goods and services for the working and middle classes of the suburbs. The typography, I noticed, does not have to be fancy or establish a brand; it simply needs to deliver the store names. Besides the “Giant” logo on the top of the sign, each title on the shopping center sign is written in a plain, straightforward sans serif typeface.

Neon Typography

016Another great example of typography from the local liquor store – neon typography. Neon typography, I noticed, is used sparingly in most storefronts – except liquor stores. The reasons are obvious. First, these signs simply do not have a professional, corporate look; the viewer not only sees the neon type, but also the unlit parts that provide structure to the typographic forms and graphics. In addition, liquor stores receive most of their business in the night hours; neon typography is perfect for these conditions, as the colors and lights are easy to see. Most businesses, however, do not operate under these conditions. It is clear that neon typography is an important design choice for some businesses, but definitely does not fit into the aesthetics or needs of most stores.




asusLooking through my closet, I find an ASUS monitor box, and I snap a picture of the logo. I immediately recognize that what I truly love is logotype.

There is something so special about a typeface that defines a company, especially if it is designed specifically for that business. This type does not use the stroke contrast that I so dearly love, but with sliced letters, it creates a swift feeling of purpose. It completely embodies the concept of the company. Like hand-painted typography, it is unusual and singular in purpose. However, for this singular purpose, it may be reproduced endlessly. It contains the beauty of both worlds.


Industrial Typography

CAMIndustrial typographcockeysy: so simple, so graphic, so solid. For the sake of being a well-rounded researcher, I also document the typography of these industrial businesses. The CAM Construction sign may be found on Maiden Choice Lane in Catonsville, and the typography of Cockey’s Enterprises, Inc. is on the trash container in my yard.

Cockey’s typeface is clearly used for readability and identification, not branding or beauty. The CAM typography has more noticeable qualities, although it is still very basic and straightforward.

I understand the importance of using simple, direct, and highly readable typefaces; however, they are not visually stimulating to me. It is clear that I am more interested in creating a more recognizable typeface, with provocative contrasts and greater differentiation between strokes.


Hand-Painted Typography

pcBeing a painter, I naturally wanpc2t to explore hand-painted typography. This paint-your-own-pottery studio in Catonsville, named The Pottery Cove, chose a hand-painted typography display for its storefront.

While ruminating on these images, I am drawn to the beauty of its imperfection. This typeface can never be reproduced in its original form, and, in this age of computers, that is such a strange thought.

I would be happy to design hand-painted typefaces. However, I am also drawn to the strictness and uniformity of designing a reproducible typeface. A conflict of feelings.


Old Style Typography: An Example in Contemporary Design

Atwater'sHere it is! Venturing into my small town of Catonsville leads me to another display of Old Style text, only this time in a contemporary design. The typeface style displayed outside of Atwater’s instantly creates a timeless, nostalgic feel.

This typography is also interesting because it is distressed. Distressing is a new trend; however, it is utilized to make something appear old or used. Interesting juxtaposition…A contemporary design tool is used to age an actual historical typeface.

So now I have evidence that serif typefaces are used in contemporary designs. However, no research is complete without thorough investigation, and I cannot simply begin developing a serif typeface without learning about many aspects and fields of contemporary typography. The typefaces that illustrate a variety of contexts must be collected.

A Preface to the First Wave of Research

Wow! The past few weeks have been full of learning about and experimenting with typography.  As a preface for the following posts, here is a brief outline of my research from the past few weeks.

  • History (Secondary Sources)

I have never been a history buff, but the history of art and design has always been of interest to me, both for the sake of learning as well turning that newfound knowledge into inspirations for new projects. I will post about the highlights of my historical research: some facts about the founding of historical typefaces that I find especially interesting.

  • Encounters with Typography (Primary Research)

As I have immersed myself in the history and technical aspects of typography, I have begun to notice typefaces more and more. Type is absolutely everywhere. Now, as I drive down the road, I long to take pictures with my eyes so that I may remember and compare all of the different typefaces displayed on the fronts of buildings. As I watch a documentary, I recognize the typeface being used, and it is all I can think about for the entirety of the show. The following posts will display the pictures of my primary research: encounters with type that I have found throughout my apartment and town (Catonsville), the type that flavors my life and the lives of those in my community. This is another extremely important basis for the founding of a new typeface.

  • Inspiration

Continue reading to discover what this secondary and primary research has inspired in the business aspect of my life.


Welcome to the Founding ‘Faces Blog!  I am excited to share my research of typography with you on my journey to create a new typeface.

Just to get started, I have made a small collection of interesting websites that contain easy-to-read information on typography and resources for creating typefaces and fonts.  These include:

  • www.fonts.com — Though this website contains an extensive font library, I am mostly interested in the Learning About Fonts & Typography Section.  Under this section, “Fontology” contains brief and concise information on the history of the Latin alphabet and typography.
  • www.typophile.com — This is a fun website to browse if you have an interest in expanding your knowledge about specific fonts. There is a Typowiki section that contains information on everything from typefaces to printing methods.  Since it is user-edited, it may not be the best for research projects, but it is a good starting point for learning the basics.
  • www.creativebloq.com — This blog post that I found, entitled “How to design your own typeface,” does just that; it gives great tips to think about when starting on this endeavor and outlines how to turn ideas into action.
  • http://www.fontlab.com/ — I found this website through the blog www.ilovetypography.com, another great blog that outlines typeface-creation in the post “So you want to create a font.”  The author of this article gives a few options of font editing software, of which FontLab Studio is stated to be the industry standard.  It is, of course, very expensive, but it is worth it to look at the site and compare the product to others in the field (Font Forge and Font Creator).

I look forward to sharing my research and conversing with you about this awesome field of design!