[Alyson Kuhn] Monotype Imaging recently released two new typefaces — downloadable for free — to coincide with the publication of The Complete Engraver, by Nancy Sharon Collins (a.k.a. The Engraving Lady). Today, we’ve invited Ilene Strizver of The Type Studio to take JMC Engraver and Feldman Engraver for a spin — or a curlicue or two.
Both typefaces were designed by Monotype Imaging’s Terrance Weinzierl, who credits Mrs. Eaves by Zuzana Licko with provoking a typographic epiphany while he was in college. The London Underground system map, which Weinzierl had occasion to use while studying abroad, is another big influence.
How would you classify these typefaces? Are they decorative scripts?
Ilene Strizver: While they are certainly decorative, they are not really scripts, because they don’t look like handwriting or calligraphy. So I’d categorize them as decorative typestyles. They both have a lot of individuality and quirkiness that can be very useful for projects requiring an expressive typestyle to help set the mood and tone of a piece.
And do you mean “individuality” in the sense of each typeface’s personality or in terms of specific letters?
Both, actually. A typeface is made up of its characters — or glyphs, to be accurate — all of which contribute to the overall spirit and flavor of the design.
What are some quirks of Feldman Engraver to consider when setting it?
Feldman Engraver has a vintage flavor, with some rather quirky characters. Its funky curves and curlicues — such as the a, g, h, k and r — as well as its jumpy descenders — check out the f, p and y — add to its charm and lively rhythm. But my favorites are the “catch words” available for The, To, From, Mr. and Mrs. — all of which give it a very nostalgic feel. You want to make sure to use enough line spacing to allow the characters to “breathe.” And remember that less is more when using the decorative characters and features of this typeface.
And what about JMC Engraver in terms of distinctive characters or traits?
When I played around with this typeface, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it took on different personalities with ease — compare the foggy, mysterious mood of the Sherlock Holmes quote to the lighthearted, whimsical flavor of the Pool Partay invitation. I often look at my own initials — I.S. — in a typeface I’m working with. In JMC Engraver, they are simple and unobtrusive, which matches my personal style. The I and the S in Feldman Engraver are quite decorative, with extreme ornamentation — which I liken to wearing lace and ruffles. I dare say I’m just not that feminine!
Whichever typeface you use, be sure to check — and fine-tune as necessary — the horizontal and vertical alignment, both of which contribute to how the final piece holds together.
I know you are a big proponent of contrast when mixing typefaces. What pairs nicely with these specialty engraving typefaces?
For the most part, a neutral sans is your safest bet. I used Sackers Gothic set in all caps, because it complements both of these type styles without competing with them. An all-cap setting creates a streamlined look, which helps to highlight the quirky characteristics of both of these typefaces — the curlicues as well as the extended strokes which break out of the x-height alignment.
Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio and TypeCast Webinars, is a typographic consultant, designer, writer and educator. She specializes in all aspects of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical, conducting her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography Workshops internationally. Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. The fourth edition is currently in the works.
Terrance Weinzierl began his many-faceted typographic career at Ascender Corporation, where — among other projects — he designed Quartz MS (yes, the MS stands for Microsoft), a familiar display on LCD and LED screens.