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Thread: Long-serif atlas font?

  1. #1
      jbgibson is offline
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    Question Long-serif atlas font?

    I'm looking for a kind of font, to capture some of the vibe of delightful atlas maps from the 1800s. The examples I snagged are on wikimedia commons, scanned by user Olhaus . His page of uploads has quite a lot of maps. These seem to be mostly German cartographers - I don't know how widespread the exact font and style were.

    I've googled among the universe of free fonts, and on boards like Typophile. Closest I could get with Identifont is Linotype Modern, which is still a pretty modest serif. Best general description I would give is Roman, very long serif. Some tend to be straight, others toward pronounced upcurls on the trailing end. I know - the best way to duplicate this is with a Speedball no. C2 nib and a bottle of ink. I could probably do that, eventually - I once had a fair calligraphy hand - but the sheer amount of lettering on such a map is daunting. At my age and amount of spare time, I need to find shortcuts, not the scenic route!

    To capture the whole style I'd need upright, italic, and reverse-italic (nice standard once used to denote water features). Anybody know where I could find such a font or fonts? Truetype or Opentype, free would be good, or not terribly expensive -- this is for fun, not for sale, and my budget is limited.

    Some examples - all hand-lettered, rougher toward the top, closer to typeset toward the bottom.

    Long-serif atlas font?-longserifs.jpg


    Here's the exact maps these are snipped from, same order top to bottom.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...oromanians.JPG
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...in_Somalia.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ut_1880%29.JPG
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...8ethnic%29.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi.../7a/Slaven.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...enien_1905.JPG
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...lgaria1901.JPG

    I know it's not an ideal cartographic font - the long-serif bit gets illegible quickly. But it's a cool look, and one that I'd like to try to duplicate. And particularly if it's a bit irregular, it screams Period Stuff, Hand-Done!

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      Hai-Etlik is online now
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    It's called a "Hairline" serif. It's a common feature in Didone/Didot/Bodoni typefaces.
    Last edited by Hai-Etlik; 10-07-2011 at 01:01 PM.

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      Ascension is offline
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    Map Vandal uses a bunch of these type of fonts but I don't remember where he got them or what they are named. You might want to look thru some of this threads, mostly challenge threads from this past year, or drop him a message. And, make sure to tell me what they are as well 'cuz I want them too.
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      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Map Vandal uses a bunch of these type of fonts but I don't remember where he got them or what they are named. You might want to look thru some of this threads, mostly challenge threads from this past year, or drop him a message. And, make sure to tell me what they are as well 'cuz I want them too.
    I had pm'd him with that question after his last map and here is his (disappointing) reply:
    I have a collection of old maps that I sample the lettering from. I do not use a font. I use the clone stamp or healing tool on each letter to make the words I want or sometimes I will be able to find the complete word and use it. It is a long process but one I actually really enjoy.
    -Rob A>

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      Lukc is offline
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    Wow ... umm ... it might actually be simpler to make a font yourself than go through that whole process. I'm no good at making fonts myself, but basically once you have the font vectors you just need something like FontCreator to turn it into a font. There's a lot of fiddling involved, but definitely less than cloning all that ...

    Edit: Apparently windows has a crappy font editor already installed: Private Character Editor (Windows)

    "To access it, just click the Run command from your Start menu. In the window that appears, type "eudcedit" (without the quotes) and click the OK button. The editor is primitive at best. Information about how to use it can be found in the Help menu of the program." (quoted from the net)
    Last edited by Lukc; 10-08-2011 at 10:29 AM.

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      jbgibson is offline
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    Thanks, guys. I looked up Map Vandal's awesome Aerie Fief, Two Earldoms, and Hogsmeade maps - you're right that italic is pretty much what I want. I knew I was in trouble though when he commented in the Hogsmeade thread that the only font he'd used was the title :-b... and your intel, Rob, clinches it. It works for him, but like a2area's method of stitching together real-life satellite imagery, it's too much for me to contemplate enjoying.

    Hai-Etlik, armed with the term "hairline serif" and the Bodoni/Didot family of Modern fonts, I did turn up a useful approximation: Walbaum.

    Long-serif atlas font?-walbaum.gif

    Click that - it gets muddy at thumbnail resolution. It doesn't have the hyper-exaggerated serif tails seen in places on those example maps, but it's the right direction. Too, its italic serifs almost all curl up - the lower of those example mapsnippets were penned with a classical italic like that, also like Map Vandal's sampled old-map lettering. But the topmost of my above examples have an idiosyncratic italic with many of the same extended-straight hairline serifs as the neighboring upright letterforms. Guess what I want is a hand-penned Walbaum :-). Things like Bodedo are too distressed, but do have a little variation. Though I guess that example says "roughly typeset" instead of "hand-penned".

    Yeah, Lukc, it might be less effort to just DO a font. I was daydreaming of how to get the variety - I'd do maybe THREE versions, all the same except for variations in crookedness and serif-length, and I'd randomly vary which font was used for a given label, and of course tweak the angles and paths a bit, and do some smudging and warping, and I could do a left-italic for rivers, and and and.... which once again drags me back to lettering with that Speedball nib. I really, really shouldn't delve into font design; I tend to obsess over things and I can sense it being a black hole I'd not emerge from for years. An enjoyable black hole, but still. *cough* Anybody seen Gidde lately? *cough* :-)

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    Guild Journeyer Gallifreyan's Avatar
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    You should check the fonts here. Other useful fonts are Bedini, Dustismo Roman, Bentham, Dubiel, Latin Modern Roman, Old Standard TT and Playfair Display.

    Edit: Theano is also really nice
    Last edited by Gallifreyan; 10-08-2011 at 06:19 PM.
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      Lukc is offline
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    Actually, with open type, you don't need to do three fonts ... you just add variants to the font itself. Check out some of the Adobe Pro fonts, for example.

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      ravells is offline
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    I've been looking for this type of font too. Many months ago I went onto the typophile forum and the ones they suggested didn't really match what I was looking for. I'm trying to make it myself, but I got distracted half way through. I found that to get it right, you can't rely on using the 'auto' italics and also it's primarily designed for a capitalised word (as you'd expect for a city or town). So that means if you want to use all caps, you will need another font set (because the hyper extended serifs interfere with the preceding letter). It's a hard slog but I'm getting there (very slowly). When I'm done I'll probably release this for free for CG members and make it 'to pay' for others.

    Below is a sample from letters I've done, but it's still pretty ugly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Long-serif atlas font?-blair.jpg  

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      Lukc is offline
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    It looks good so far. What about adding some longer serifs to the right sides of the "d" and "h" glyphs? Particularly the "d" seems to need something to fit with the "a" better.

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