If, at the end of “The Wizard Of Oz,” one of the three freaks who somehow blagged themselves onto Dorothy’s warrior quest asked the Wizard for “an ineffable and infallable sense of visual design,” he would have responded thusly:
“My lad, I have read catalogues, advertisements, book covers, movie posters, and product packaging. I have attended design conferences and watched endless keynotes from the best minds that ever escaped from Madison Avenue, who, when confronted for the first time with actual reality, could only speak in adverbs. Softly.
“I assure you that the only thing separating you from those men and women is one of these:”
And here he pulls from his bag an aggressively-weird pair of spectacles.
“…And of course, a set of really cool fonts. Merely replace the system stock fonts in a presentation or publication with one of these, and they’ll be hailing you as an inscrutable genius and fitting you for a stone-grey mock-turtleneck pullover in no time.”
But I suppose a Flavor Flav necklace clock shaped like a heart is pretty rad, too.
Every year, The Wizard presents the whole world with this same opportunity, in the form of the Comicraft New Year’s Font Sale. Every font in their catalogue is $20.17 today. Yes, even the ones that normally cost hundreds of dollars more.
(As well as the ones that cost several dollars less.)
The whole catalogue bears close perusal between now and the wee hours of the dawn (the closing hour of the sale tends to be rather fluid). But here are some of my favorites. People who’ve attended my presentations, been handed one of my business cards or been mailed one of my Christmas cards, or even approached my front door when I was podcasting and were confronted by a sign urging the whole world to just bug right off has seen one or more of these fonts.
One note: the “International” versions of these fonts contain the entire letterset plus international characters. They’re both the same price, so definitely go International. All of my links should take you to the Internationals.
Some fonts well worth your money…in no particular order:
It’s normally $395. SOLD. But I feel the need to fill this out a little bit so I’ll explain that Comicrazy is a stock, super-professional hand-lettered comic book font with upper and lower-case letters. If you’re a comics reader, you’ve probably already seen this face in print. But really, “$395 marked down to $20.17” is all you need to know.
There are a lot of fonts that are evocative of classic comic-book lettering. Most of ’em are rubbish. Monologous is the real deal. It has a free, hand-drawn feel, but with the confidence of a draftsman who lettered 25% of Marvel’s pages between 1968 and 1989. Which also means it’s perfectly readable at almost any scale. I use this one lots and lots, despite the fact that it’s an all-uppercase font. I confess that I often use it to replace the dialogue in my copies of old comics. I’m reading an “Elongated Man” anthology and suddenly wonder “What would the Fantastic Four have been like, as DC characters?” Before I know it, I’ve wasted the rest of the morning and it’s time to knock off work and get some lunch. That’s well worth twenty bucks of anyone’s money. “Monologous” is normally $149.
At $29, it’s not the biggest bargain in this sale. But it’s a champ, a Marine. I love the mashup between something designed for machine vision and the human analog influence that’s just at the edge of your perception. I use it everywhere.
Comicraft often creates fonts that mimic an artist’s established style. Other font houses do it as a kind of ripoff. Comicraft does it under contract, to save the artist’s poor lettering fingers when the man or woman is busy assembling a magnum opus graphic novel. I use this one as a looser, but still professional, handlettered font. Normally $129.
This was one of my first purchases from the sale — I might have paid $20.08 for it — and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s so very bold, and so very friendly. It’s great for title cards in presentations, or for the “grabber” text that urges someone to stop and read the smaller print. Normally $69.
Another longtime mainstay of my collection. It’s a thick, expressive script that urges you to splash it from one margin to another. Or to design a baseball jersey even if your actual task today is to whip up some name placards for a conference. Normally $49.
Many Comicraft fonts come in packages with multiple weights (thicknesses). This feature of Dash Decent is a godsend when you’re trying to fool people into thinking you’re a designer. The title is in Dash Decent Heavy; subheads are in Dash Decent Bold; bulleted text is in Dash Decent regular. For signage, business cards, presentations…this kind of collection is a one-and-done solution. Normally $79.
Another key purchase (or purchases) for Fraud Designers. A hero sandwich is a layered stack of ingredients. These two sets of fonts contain different expressions of the core font and they’re designed to be stacked for different effects. On fifteen minutes’ notice, you’ve created a company kickball team tee shirt in which the team name is in thick yellow inset with thin green, outlined with a thick blue outline and further set off with a black dropshadow. And all you had to do was copy-paste the same text several times and change the fonts and colors. Normally $59 each.
This sale is a godsend in part because it’s an opportunity to acquire exactly the right font, as opposed to using a font that’s sort of in the ballpark of the effect you want. “Sign Language” is based on the thick, attention-getting hand-brushed letters of old-timey supermarkets (like, from the early 1980s). It comes in multiple weights, plus italics. Just buy it; I promise you’ll use it. Normally $129.
It’s called “Yuletide” so you just know it’s one of those fonts you’ll be using time and time again, throughout the year! I’m lying, of course. But you’ll use the hell out of this one during subsequent Novembers and Decembers, if you’re a Christmas person or need to attract/exploit Christmas people, or both. Normally $49.
These are by no means the only gems in the Comicraft sale. My own collection of fonts scrolls on and on and on past this list. With professional display fonts going this cheap, I feel free to take a flutter on a face that just looks cool. And months later, sure enough…I think “I wish I had time to do a takeoff of the Looney Tunes ‘That’s All, Folks!’ card.” And then I remember, hey! I bought “Merry Melody” a couple of years ago, didn’t I?