Raiders of the Lost Fonts

I am a font geek. Fonts express emotion. They can change the look and feel of any design from classy to fun to disturbing. A well designed font can also make the difference in a document’s legibility. Last week, I watched a documentary entitled Helvetica. The film is, as you could guess, about the story of the ubiquitous, san serif typeface. It goes into detail about the font’s history and its adoption as the world standard for accessible, easy-to-read type.

Fascinating.

See, I told you I am a font geek.

Recently I picked up an old textbook from a local church rummage sale—Applied Drawing and Design, Mattingly & Scrogin, copyright 1942. It educates the reader on skills that were essential to designers and draftsmen of the mid-twentieth century. The book covers things like measuring and dimensions, proper technique when using a french curve, essentials of design and, my favorite, lettering (known now as typography).

The lettering section of the book presents examples of typefaces and their applications. Modern Gothic, Old English and Roman are the common styles covered, but a couple of fonts caught my eye. The authors identified the first font as Futurity Gothic, a somewhat space age typeface. The second type style, Aerline, is a more formal, art deco type. They are handsome and well-designed fonts, but the real reason I was intrigued by them was that I had never seen them before. And I’ve perused my share of typefaces. I felt like Indiana Jones uncovering a forgotten relic inside the Temple of Doom.

With the hundreds of thousands of fonts available for use, I was skeptical these were in fact, rediscovered typefaces, and conducted numerous searches to uncover them in one of the many online databases. I even submitted them to WhatTheFont.com and came up empty. By the way, WhatTheFont (www.whatthefont.com) is a great tool to help identify type styles that you just can’t seem to put your finger on. I highly recommend it.

So, with all the research behind me, I am excited to announce to fontographers everywhere that Futurity Gothic and Aerline will be coming to a graphic design application near you.

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