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.
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.
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.
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 forthbut 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
protestI suppose some post-Freudian hack would call them misplaced
aggressionbut 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.
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.
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