Original Font Designs by Arthur Durkee


Just as musicians and artists seek to create some new expression of our time amd link it to a rich past, so too must the work of type designers and type founders remain bound to the great tradition of the alphabet. –Hermann Zapf


I have been developing fonts since 1997, when I first started playing in Fontographer. I do a fair bit of book design, art direction, creative direction, and typographic design, including the development and implementation of original typefaces. On these pages are several examples of commissioned, freelance, and freebie font designs.



Free Fonts 2002

Free Fonts 2003

Free Fonts 2004—2005

A small collection of new fonts made quickly and for fun. Enjoy!



Client: Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN, 2004
In 2000 I was commissioned by the Dept. of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota to create a Dakota language font to be used to compile linguistic material on both Mac and Windows platforms. The Dakota font contains several special characters, and is completely cross-platform. In 2004, I was asked to expand the font into a family of fonts, for the publication of 550 Dakota Verbs by the MN Historical Society Press in February 2005. Above is a sample page from the book.

Still available for download is the original Dakota language font that I designed on commission from the Dept. of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.



Futura Exotic AD is inspired by the classic font Futura Book, radically altered and stylized to look highly futuristic. The look of the font is especially intriguing when used in display applications: the risers and descenders, while all consisting of sharp angles, seem to have an almost organic, liquid flow. Futura Exotic AD contains the standard character set plus a full set of diacriticals and special characters. There are also alternate characters with reversed angles on the risers and descenders, to smooth out the "flow" of the characters in some applications.

Over time, I have come to regard Futura Exotic AD as something of a personal signature or identity piece, so I have used it throughout this webstie as the display font, to give everything here a consistent look and feel.

Here is a sample of Futura Exotic AD used in a commercial Web banner.

Here is Futura Exotic AD used in the section headers and display titles of musician Paul Mimlitsch's website. I am grateful to Paul for his help with beta-testing the font. Paul's a terrific musician, by the way, and a fellow Stick player; check out his MP3s.


Rough Cut AD:



RoughCut AD, shown below, was actually my first completed font. It doesn't behave very well, it's ugly and nasty, and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I like it very much.


Rough Cut AD:



More fonts are always in development. A companion to Futura Exotic AD is in the works, inspired by Gill Sans, as a tribute to Eric Gill. Maybe someday I'll let you see Dominate AD-OSF or AD Freehand Regular, but I'm still tweaking them as time permits.

Meanwhile, I am taking out my frustrations about bad typography and bad design by demolishing two over-used and usually badly-used typefaces: Courier and Helvetica. These are good, solid, reliable, useful, even beautiful fonts. But since the invention of desktop publishing, they have been misused and overused in the extreme. It seems like everybody, as soon as they get their shiny new Macs or PCs, suddenly thinks they know what they're doing when they make their newsletters, 'zines, webpages, and so forth–but having the tools so readily available does not guarantee good typography or design. Not only do they misuse beautiful typefaces by totally ignoring things like kerning and leading, but many folks seem to think that Helvetica is the only sans serif typeface in existence. Ignorance is a deadly disease, followed closely by laziness. So my desecrations are a kind of protest–I suppose some post-Freudian hack would call them misplaced aggression–but they relieve much frustration and are fun to play with. I don't really hate Helvetica, I just protest its overuse and misuse.

I'm naming my mutilated versions Death to Courier! and I Hate Helvetica. Each contain multiple font sets within the family, from Regular to Spiked to Drippy, mangled and manipulated and folded and spindled without regard for propriety. Available someday.




Futura Exotic AD and RoughCut AD are available as shareware, with a full set of characters. If you want to try out these delicious homemade fonts, just download them now: although these free download versions have only the basic character set, plus some punctuation. The full versions cost $29 each, and contain full character sets, with several alternate characters. If you can't get enough of them, please email me, and I'll send you details on purchasing the full versions.

These free downloads are Macintosh and Windows versions of the fonts, with reduced character sets.

Futura Exotic AD (SIT version)

Futura Exotic AD (.ZIP archive)

RoughCut AD (SIT version)

RoughCut AD (.ZIP archive)

All fonts on these pages © copyright 1997­2005 Arthur Durkee / Black Dragon Productions.
All Rights Reserved.



Further Resources

P22 –not your typical type foundry, and one of my favorites. Some very unusual fonts, mostly historically accurate or based on the writing of great artists and other cultural creatives.

I highly recommend DesktopPublishing.com as a resource for virtually all of your online DTP needs. Their list of shareware font resources alone is worth a look.

Chank Diesel's excellent and unusual fonts. The punk DIY aesthetic lives on.

Emigre creates and releases some of the best, most elegant, most useful modern typefaces in the world.

Ragnarok Press creates many very beautiful fonts based on historical models and specialty usages. One of the best resources for fontworks on the WWW.

Free Typewriter Fonts is a site for lots of free typewriter fonts, for which I have a special passion. I love making this amazing computer set type like a beat up old typewriter. Anachronistic fun.



XStick and StaffTab Font Conversions

Two music typesetting fonts creted by Stick players for the use of other Stick players. All I've really done here is provide fully cross-platform conversions, available for free download to the Stick community.


Entire Contents of this Website
© 1992–2010 Arthur Durkee/Black Dragon Productions (TM).
All Rights Reserved.

Email: Stickdragn@aol.com