Steven Heller’s Font of the Month: Ray Gun

Ray Gun, by Derek Weathersbee for Interrobang Type, was designed in 2016, but it easily could have come through a time warp from the past or the future. It has a classic script aesthetic that suggests those nostalgic-looking three-dimensional chrome logos common on 1950s cars, like on the side of an Oldsmobile Rocket 88; and on the front of kitchen appliances, like an atomic-age Frigidaire.

In fact, it’s a quirkily concocted, contemporary script full of odd flourishes and doodads – seemingly gratuitous (like the lowercase “g”) but entirely functional and playfully practical. It’s pleasantly addictive to use for just about any typographic purpose that demands “attitude”.

Ray Gun suggests a kind of Forbidden Planet electricity, which derives from the well-chosen conceit of it being a string of fluid, curvilinear letterform lights connected at the base. The typeface is so charged with energy, it appears to be zapped out of the space-time continuum. Its most pleasurable illusion is its kinetic quality. Yet it’s locked on a baseline that holds each letter in place. Whether in upper- or lowercase, Ray Gun is dynamic and delightful.

Conventional scripts are designed to evoke a sense of handwriting. Ray Gun, however, is what I’d call an anachronistic 21st century evolution of hybrid handwriting generated by a computer. Ray Gun may not work for every need, but it has a lot of applications that are yet to be discovered. I cannot wait to can see a few samples in Interlingua, Lojban, and Pitcairnese, among the many languages the font supports.

Font of the Month: Ray Gun
Designer: Derek Weathersbee Foundry: Interrobang Type

Steven Heller is nothing short of a legend in the design community. Award-winning graphic designer, author and editor of hundreds of books (yes, 100s!) and one of the world’s foremost authorities on graphic design history; and arguably its best design commentator. Follow Steven on the must-read The Daily Heller and read his latest book, Growing Up Underground: A Memoir of Counterculture New York.

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