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Soren Petersen Headshot

Creative Fonts Capture Your Heart, Mind and Imagination

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2011-11-28-Creativefont.jpg
Most fonts are anonymous and underappreciated, as is the Times New Roman font used here. However, the headline above pops out at you and catches your immediate attention by use of the "Dynascript" font and this treatment affects you in quite a different way.

The number of specialty fonts, for creating catchy signs, advertising and logos has exploded since the advent of inexpensive computers and graphics-creating software and it is now possible to create unique headlines and text without employing a high paid graphic designer. But how do these endearing fonts make their way to you and are they just fonts or an art forms in themselves?

Michael Doret is a successful Los Angeles graphic designer originally from New York, who along with his graphic design also develops unique fonts for his own and for others' pleasure. In his Hollywood studio, he has enriched the world with eight new fonts, the latest being the Dynascript font featured in the heading above. All his fonts have a vintage feel to them and are inspired by his love for street signs and billboards from the '30s through the '50s. Since it is not possible to guess what fonts people might want, he follows his own internal vision of what represents good font-design and no fonts make it to print unless he can be proud to assign his name to them.

For Dynascript, the original inspiration was the Johnie's Coffee Shop neon sign at the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire. The typeface was heavy weighted on top and lighter on bottom. The original expression stemmed from a typographic convention started in Germany in the 1920's. The assumption then was that the eye would quickly skim across top-weighted letters like objects hanging on a rail. Like an artist creating a sculpture, Michael chipped away at the font as if carving with stone, and his font little by little seemed to emerge from the computer screen. It is intensely creative work and a complete set of fonts can take a year or more to develop.

"Good fonts are hard to come by, which is why I keep making my own." Michael said with a smile.

The market for fonts is different from that for products and art in that fonts in of them selves cannot be patented or copyrighted in the United States. Most fonts are purchased though online resellers and then downloaded. End User License Agreements (EULAs) limit how the fonts are used, with certain types of usage such as in TV commercials and movies sometimes necessitating a separate agreement for more extensive usage. Also, with most basic EULAs fonts are licensed to from one to six computers, and you are not allowed to give fonts away.

Unlike a fine-artist, whose main goal is to make a statement without caring whether his creations sell or not, Michael considers a font successful only if people adopt it, - if it sells. "People, incorporate my fonts and claim them as their own. They buy a little piece of me," he says. Different fonts have different emotions attached to them. Steve Jobs talked a lot about fonts and their importance to people when he created the original Mac computer. We may not really even see the fonts, but we do have an experience of them, rather like a particular smell captured from one's childhood that brings back a whole set of emotions along with it.