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Friday, March 26, 2010

Pondering Fonts

Alyson Graves of Unruly Things wrote a guest post on 101 Layer Cakes today. Her story was one only a fellow designer (2010 bride) could truly love and appreciate. She wrote about the inspiration behind their invitations and the search for the perfect font. I for one can't wait to see her invitations, which I think will be revealed in July.

So why do I bring this up? Well today found me thinking about fonts. I thought we'd made our font choice back when we finalized our Save the Dates. We chose ITC Mona Lisa for its formal vintage feel. This font was inspired by a 1930s typeface drawn by Albert Auspurg. As the original drawings were gone and the surviving metal type severely worn, the resulting typeface "melds the flavor of the 1930s with current design standards." In addition to gracing our Save the Dates, you can it at the top of our wedding website as well.

After hand addressing all the Save the Dates (and forgetting the return addresses on a few), we looked into other options. An additional font - Park Avenue - was added to our suite for our response cards and return address. This font was similar to my calligraphy so it would be consistent with the hand addressed envelopes. Park Avenue was designed by an American designer Robert E. Smith in 1933. (A third font was introduced when we selected our Table Numbers scheme: Roman Numerals from a Vintage Timepiece. The font chosen was Universitas Studii Salamantini.)

Both of our stationery fonts are "retro" and rooted in the same period - the 1930s. And until today it seemed as if we were past having to make font decisions. Well most of the pieces for our tablescapes have been ordered and delivered. Initially our wedding favors weren't part of this design. We had Ivory linen tablecloths and Black linen tablecloths, with either Cotton Candy shantung or Amethyst sheer table runners topped with Coffee Paper Table Tents, Real Touch Silk Dahlias and Peonies and Amber or Clear glass bottles and Ivory Palm Wax tapers. Our wedding favors were to be placed in a picnic basket next to our Enjoy - (Please Take One) sign.

It made better sense to place the wedding favors at each place setting. Slight problem. The paper/color of the table numbers and escort cards is different from the paper/color of the wedding favors. Additionally, the banana paper stock tends towards gray while the coffee paper tends towards ivory. Not something that's going to be noticeable but anyone other than a designer. A quick design change - wedding favors will now have Coffee Coverstock and the programs will now have Banana Coverstock.

Ok, back to fonts. We started developing our cookbooks for friends as a gift for the 2010 Holidays. The initial design didn't consider our wedding design as we didn't have a date or theme or font yet. Reconsidering the coverstock made me rethink the layout and font choices. (The 8.5" x 11" cookbook initially used Marker Felt Wide, Marker Felt Thin, and Lucida Grande Regular.) With ITC Mona Lisa there's only a regular typeface, so headings would differ from text only in size not weight. It could be one of the fonts for the cookbook but not the only font. Park Avenue is a more casual font and could possibly be used for a callout or ingredient note.

A great font resource for free fonts that I discovered from Style Me Pretty is Dafont.com. Starting here and moving to AbstractFonts.com, I looked at Deco or 1930s Serif fonts consistent with the theme of our wedding for use in the cookbook:
  • Adamant BG Regular
  • Andron Freefont LAT Regular
  • Bergamo Std Regular
  • Bodidota Regular
  • Droid Serif Regular
  • Medio Regular
  • Old Standard TT Regular
  • Resavska BG Regular
  • Sanford Book
  • Temporarium Regular
  • Thryomanes Normal

I looked at width of letterforms, terminals, loops, and serifs.

And after careful consideration, the three fonts chosen for the cookbook are: Mona Lisa, Bergamo Std Italic, and Bodidota Regular.

How did you chose your fonts? Did something unexpected influence your choice? Did you use a default font?

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