Fulfilling Lichtenbergianism’s core principles

The Lichtenbergian Society has been a godsend! Just when I thought I might force myself to work extremely hard on the songs for Day in the Moonlight so I could in all honesty begin work on the symphony in January, along comes the Society, and above all, its Charter!

Since it’s been well-documented that I’m a font freak, no one will be surprised that I took it as an excuse to buy the Declaration font from P22. This is a replica of the writing in the Declaration of Independence, and it’s the first time I’ve ever bought a really professional set of fonts. It has not one but four complete fonts, plus a fifth one that consists, and how marvelously useless is this?, of nothing but the actual signers’ signatures. Need my John Hancock? That’s a capital A.

What are the other four fonts? One’s the basic Declaration font, then a separate set of alternate letter configurations, then a complete set of the blackletter used in the title and other places (think Old English), and then finally a set of the most common variations of letters and ligatures seen in the document.

What this means is that it’s not enough to type out the Charter in Helvetica and then convert it to Declaration Script, you also have to step back and look hard at the aesthetics of the thing. My first pass revealed a lot of horizontal lines running across the lines: the lower case t’s crossbar is a long and mighty thing, but too many of them and it looks like your printer has issues. The very word procrastination has a line running across half the word.

Not to worry; there are this many t’s in the complete font:

Yes, there’s even an alternate The for the beginning of a sentence, typed with the capital T in the Sorts font. So you make aesthetic choices about which t to use where in order to break up all those distracting lines. Part of it is remembering that the Declaration was not typeset but engrossed by a scribe on parchment; it’s handwriting, after all.

See what I mean about this being a Lichtenbergianismist’s wet dream? Seeking out all the medial s’s and replacing them with the long s; seeking out all the initial th’s and replacing them with the ligature, as well as the tt’s, the st’s, the ll’s, the rr’s , ff’s, wh’s, etc., etc., etc. And terminal consonants at the end of a sentence: is there a swash alternate? Capitals, same thing. Where will Blackletter make a statement?


Later: Mike Funt emails me not one but two successive approximations of the seal. I’m posting the second one for your marvelment:

9 thoughts on “Fulfilling Lichtenbergianism’s core principles

  1. A true Lichtenbergian if ever I saw one. Press on! Tomorrow is better. But today is pretty good, too. Especially with distractions such as these.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *