I Love Typography

Sunday Type: ornament type

From Another Planet

I first came across this poster by Paul Grabowski for the Type Directors 54th TDC Show over at Armin Vit’s Under Consideration. It’s absolutely stunning. Viewed from afar, it looks as though it’s comprised of myriad typographic ornaments.

Closer inspection reveals that those ornaments are in fact letters. I cannot begin to imagine how long this piece took to design and assemble.

I’ve recently taken more of an interest in typographic ornaments, and even started designing some of my own. A good book to get you started is 2600 Typographic Ornaments and Designs (all royalty free designs). Stefan Hattenbach’s Anziano also comes with some beautifully drawn ornaments. Also try FontShop and MyFonts. P22 has a good set of ornaments inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement (think William Morris). Let me know if you find some real ornamental gems.

Love this shellfish alphabet from Giovanni Jubert:

shellfish by Giovanni Jubert

Be sure to take a look at the entire Shellfish project, and the PDF, where you can see the alphabet up close.

Some lovely and some downright weird lettering. This is one of my personal favourites:

You can see more on Agence Eureka. Larger images are on her La lettre dans le decor Flickr set.

Typographunnies is the place to find type jokes and humour. You can even rate them. Here’s one to get you started:

A sans-serif face walks into the street and is hit by a Swiss Modernist truck. The carnage is grotesk… but you know, akzidenz happen.

Sunday Links

10 great, free fonts for font-face embeddingvia
Dollar Dreadful Family Library
10 Great Free Fonts You Might Have Missed
Qual a tipografia certa para textos longos?
Nudist Typeface
An evening with Rian Hughes (video)
Ampersands with attitude—Smashing Magazine
Message on a napkin—thanks TypeTweets.
Olympic victory for Futura bold italic
Alphabet Particles is Action Script + the alphabet. Would like to have the option to change font:

Thanks to Vivien.

The Alphabet Series from Lazy Soosan. Each issue devoted to a letter of the alphabet, and beautifully illustrated:

Via A Cup of Jo.

Elastypography from Sarah Kahn:


I was also going to mention Sarah’s Screenshots poster, but just saw it pop up in my feed reader, so you can see it over at It’s Nice That.

From the Typography Shop (makers of the Helvetica Neue Descendingt-shirt) a new tee. Meet Across the Univers:

And the Postmodern tee designed by Postmachina:

Thanks, Marcus.

Like this simple cover from Daniel Bretzmann:

daniel bretzmann

A type mosaics Flickr set:

Thanks to Parka.

The Photogram Alphabet. There x-ray like images are in fact Photograms—photos of shadows.

No camera is involved; instead the object is placed onto photographic paper and exposed. I’d like to try this myself. Via swiss miss.

The Fell Types

Be sure to check out Igino Marini’s redesigned and updated Fell Types web site.

the fell punches

The highly influential Fell Types, named after English Bishop John Fell (1625-86) have been harangued (for their raggedness) and praised for their form. If you don’t know the Fell Types, then be sure to take a look at Igino’s site.

Out of this world

Graham McArthur’s work is breathtaking. This piece is easily my favourite,

but also love the palette and complexity in pieces like this:

And although Graham’s work is out of this world, he does in fact live on planet earth with the rest of us—Adelaide, Australia, to be precise. I was reminded of Graham’s work after a piece on Typophile.

Free Font

Tim Ahrens’ Zallamander Caps is a set of OpenType fonts in six weights from extra light through to extra bold:

And the Fell Types, digitally revived by Igino Marini, are free to download. Be sure to read the license, especially if you wish to use them in commercial work. Even if you don’t use them, download them, print them, study them—you’ll learn a great deal about letter forms in the process.

They also come with some printers’ ornaments (Fell Flowers).

Coming next

I’ll see you again midweek for a piece written by graduates of The Hague’s Type and Media course. Have a really great week.


  1. The TDC poster is such a beautiful piece, isn’t it? It’s almost as if it’s a little too much at first - ie. the mirrored Ps at the top almost feel too big, but the more I look at it, the more in love I fall

    And Dover make some handy books, don’t they? I received a dover book today, from amazon. It’s the first one I own (after seeing them a few times in bookstores and online), and can’t wait to get a few more. Much better than the awful scans I have of some old floral patterns I normally resort to. The title image on the Fell Types link is a good example of the kind of thing I found in the book I got today.

    I also really enjoy the Lazy Soosan illustrations, just beautiful..

    Have a good week Johno

  2. Ko

    Love that TDC poster, very nice piece of work. I won’t ask how long it took to ‘construct’.

    The Photogram Alphabet brought me back to school; I haven’t printed a wet black and white for years now - but they still do it at my old workplace.

    Photograms are an amazingly expressive form of photographic print, but also notoriously difficult to make especially when overlapping more than one object.

    The fishy alphabet looks great as well. It’s amazing people can still come up with new designs for letters (and many other objects, etcetera, as well!)

    Now I’m off to explore the many links…

  3. “Hey!

    How do you do? I hope very well.
    I’d like to say thank you for linked my blog here. It’s a honor for me!!!

    Please, if you wish, send me an emai ‘cause I want know you e your job with iloveypography.com.

    So, I wait for your menssage ok.


  4. Such incredibly beautiful pieces this week, Johno! That Grabowski poster is insane. (In a good way.) Love the Obama mosaic and the Agence Eureka work, too. And the MacArthur pieces. Hell, it’s all good. Excellent roundup!

  5. Not only is the Fell Types site very informative, it’s gorgeous use of typography makes the site a real joy to read :)
    Also that TDC poster is AMAZING! A great way to start off the Sunday Type!

  6. Photograms courtesy of Mr Man Ray, previously called rayograms!

  7. Scott

    Wow, those shirts a fantastic! The red one (not shown here) of the Postmodern one is fantastic, and also set in Univers if I’m not mistaken.

  8. FV

    Wow. Where can I get that poster?


  9. Nice to see that ornaments aren’t completely forgotten. I’ve made some time ago a CD cover using Linotype’s HotMetal Border and a draft for business card with Monotype’s Arabesque.

    Also please consider, that Morris’ ornaments don’t count, because they are drawn. Only typesetted ornaments are real ornaments!

  10. Wow. Stunning—that shellfish text! And enjoyed the other things you shared as well. Thank you!

  11. Hehehehe: that typography joke is just too funny. Great round-up as always.

  12. That TDC poster is truly something amazing. A lot of love went into that.Thanks for all the Type links John, good stuff as always.

  13. That poster is absolutely stunning! Nice stuff, really!

  14. Johno, Yesterday I left the wrong email. Now, this is right!
    I’m waited your contact, ok.

    Best wishes
    Daniel Campos

  15. Oh! Ornamentation! Let us please not forget the age-old resource, and a personal favorite of mine, Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament (1856)


  16. Thanks for including the Fell Types, John. I am, of course, interested in faces for book production. I like the Fell and will perhaps look for a sitch, a book, that they’ll add something to.

    I’m actually planning a blog entry on free fonts—extra points for whole typeface families that include both a serif for body text and a sans for display, like Fontin—for students and newbie book designers starting out with little capital who are setting up their “tool chest” on a dime. (And I’m not interested in 99¢ per font knockoffs or bootlegs.)

    So I’m doing research on such free faces. And, anyway, 9 out of 10 new fonts are garish display faces that may be clever but tend to have limited shelf life. I think. (But, admittedly, that’s my text-based bias speaking.)

  17. Great inspiration, thanks !

  18. Postmodernist T-shirt?
    No, it’s plain old retro.

  19. Be sure to check out Zalamander Caps in use: Logjammin’ 08

  20. The work of Sarah Kahn is a big discover! Thanks!

  21. these are all fantastic — and thank you for the link love! xo joanna

  22. A belated thanks John, for featuring shirt #2. I trust you got my e-mail finally responding to your flickr mail?



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