Vernacular Typography Featured in
2012 Typography Calendar

Some typefaces aren’t meant for everyday use. They often aren’t readable as running text or even for headlines. Most will never be licensed for public use nor are they commercially available. But they set the mood, add their own graphic interest, and tell their own slice of the story. That is the case with several of the typefaces featured in the 365 Typographic Calendar for 2012.

Take Girder, for example. Asked to create the identity for the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge next year, Kit submitted an alphabet as part of his presentation. The alphabet took its inspiration from the riveted girders that formed the unpinning of the bridge. The immediate association with San Francisco’s most famous landmark offered a visual linking device in the visitors’ gift shop, and made a distinctive image for all kinds of tourist souvenirs, from key chains to coffee mugs.

Fine artist Ward Schumaker came up with the whimsical hand-lettered typeface that he calls Gertrude-and-Alice when he was working on illustrations for his book on Gertrude Stein “Paris France.” In keeping with his artistic style, he combined brushed letters and hand-cut paper characters. Schumaker says that he imagined that the heavy brush strokes represented the large and ebullient Gertrude Stein, while the delicate hand-cut paper pieces represented the thin and prickly Alice B. Toklas.

For a series of posters for the Golden Gate National Parks Association, graphic artist Michael Schwab recalled the rough-hewn wayfinding signs found in wilderness areas. Routed into wood, probably by a helpful forest ranger, the signs were invariably in all-cap letters and spaced without kerning. The simple lettering perfectly suited Schwab’s graphic style of black silhouettes and bold, flat colors. Adopted as the official typeface for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Schwab’s hand-drawn letters have become iconic in themselves.

These vernacular typefaces, along with nine other quirky fonts, are featured in the Studio Hinrichs 365 Typography Calendar for 2012.