Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Font of the Week #32: Debonair

   Hello and welcome to the first Font of the Week feature for November! This week we will take a closer look at “Debonair”—one of the earliest Jukebox fonts.


   Debonair is a digital revival, meaning the Jukebox version is a recreation of an old typeface that was previously only available as a photo-typositing font. Once photo lettering went the way of the Dodo when computers and PostScript came along many of these older fonts were forgotten or fell out of use. Designers weren’t able to use them because photo lettering was gone and they hadn’t been converted into digital fonts for the computer.

   It has been something of a fun task for us digital typeface designers to bring these old fonts back to life again and make them available to designers of today. Debonair is a digital revival of an old script typeface called “Diane” which was originally designed by Roger Excoffon for the Olive Type Foundry in 1956. I created the digital version of this previously unavailable font in 2001 as part of the original JAW Fonts library which was later rebranded as Jukebox in 2003.

   What captured me about this interesting script font is the angular elements in the lowercase letters. Usually script fonts are meant to imitate the free-flowing forms of handwritten lettering, but in the case of Debonair, the lower case letter’s downward curves are angled off at a point…this gives the font a slightly edgy feel that is unique among formal scripts.

   Working from samples in an old type catalog, I traced each letter in Illustrator and then imported them into Fontographer to build the font up.

   Debonair is a Copperplate (or Spencerian) script as they are sometimes called. These elegant script fonts are based on lettering from the 18th Century and have always been associated with formality and refinement. They are perfect for wedding invitations and anything that needs a classy and elegant feel.

   As the Jukebox library was completely converted to OpenType in 2013, Debonair is now available as an OpenType font from Veer. 

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