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jwoodford

answered Original Heidelberg Cylinder nameplate typeface?

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jwoodford

I am having no luck identifying the typeface used on the nameplate of an ORIGINAL HEIDELBERG CYLINDER (picture attached).

I took some photos of one recently and want to turn them into a book or zine of some sort, utilising this typeface as a title treatment and for infographics relating to the machine. I'm a graphic designer by trade so thought I'd try tracing the photo to replicate it as best I can, happy with the results but of course I still only have half the alphabet and no numbers or punctuation so it would be better/easier/more rational to use the actual typeface - if it exists.

Of course, it is entirely possible this was custom cut for exclusive use on this badge, in which case I will redraw the remaining characters or find a suitable secondary font for any other copy I include.

Any help would be much appreciated.

DSC_0094.jpg

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jwoodford

Also, this project is purely a personal work, just a bit of fun and not for commercial use. And the query relates to only the ORIGINAL HEIDELBERG CYLINDER portion of the nameplate (not the top roundel badge).

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Riccardo Sartori

Most certainly not a typeface.

There could be something similar in digital form out there, but for this kind of project it would probably be best to maintain all the quirks of the original as possible.

You could consider modifying an existing typeface (ideally one with a license that permits it).

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Ralf Herrmann

It has the feel of a technical drawing. Once a matching grid is set up, it should be rather easy to construct all the missing characters. 

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jwoodford

Thanks Riccardo, I definitely wouldn't replace it with a typeface if it weren't the original, this whole project is a celebration of that era and the age of the machine after all. However, just out of interest, do you know of any similar digital options? And if you don't mind me asking, how are you so certain it isn't a typeface?

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jwoodford

I'll be honest, I am confident in my ability using bezier curves but I have struggled to nail the curved edges of some of the characters and they appear to differ where you might assume they wouldn't. The top half of the G for instance differs significantly from the top half of the C, though this could come down to the angle of the photograph. These little quirks were the reason I thought it might be an actual typeface - if it were machined using a strict grid with no artistic interpretation wouldn't it be safe to assume the top half of the G and C were identical?

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jwoodford
Posted (edited)

Anticipating this wouldn't be an existing typeface, here is my adaptation so far.  You can see I've tried to make the curves as consistent as possible, repeating those paths where possible without changing each character too much. Even so, these don't exactly match up with the original lettering but I figured if this is going to be adapted into an actual working font it might actually be a good thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: do you have any advice on setting up a grid to draw the remaining characters? Should I concentrate on using straight paths and then curve them after systematically (e.g. using round corners effect in Illustrator for consistency) or use the paths I have already drawn to construct the remaining characters?

EDIT: after looking at the remaining characters 'F J K M P Q S T U V W X Z' the majority appear to be adaptable from the ones I already have except for K, M, S, V, X and W.

Thanks again.

Screenshot 2019-05-28 at 12.54.28.png

Edited by jwoodford
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Ralf Herrmann

My expectation would be that the smallest corners (e.g. in the E) can be used as the smallest unit and everything else would fall into place using that grid. 

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Riccardo Sartori
1 hour ago, jwoodford said:

how are you so certain it isn't a typeface?

Because up until the “digital revolution” (and certainly between 1850 and 1960), typefaces were made for printing.

There were alphabets made for specific uses (like architectural lettering and the likes), and I think this is the case in this instance.

1 hour ago, jwoodford said:

do you know of any similar digital options?

It would be difficult, because most rounded typefaces that aren't rounded versions of existing ones are mainly modeled on stencil/template lettering, thus they tend to have letters very regular in width (and also less squarish in the wider curves (see, just to have at least one example, Dosis).

I also suspect that in the sample the roundness could be not part of the original design, but rather a byproduct of the process of making the mould and casting the metal (which would also explain the differences in curves between the letters).

 

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Riccardo Sartori
20 minutes ago, jwoodford said:

Should I concentrate on using straight paths and then curve them after systematically [...] or use the paths I have already drawn to construct them remaining characters?

It probably would make no significative difference.

The first option would be closer to the original construction. The second one could help in increasing the appearance of consistency between original and new letters.

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jwoodford

Thanks Riccardo, the logic makes sense. Thanks also Ralf.

Well back to it then. Actually kind of happy that I now have the opportunity to bring it to life by creating/completing the lettering and turning it into a custom font.

I have to say it's the first time using this site and so far it's been a great aid and really nicely designed. I also love that you get paragraph spacing as default when entering a paragraph return - it's the little things. I look forward to using it MANY times in the future.

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Gecko

You know it looks to me like you have pretty much nailed it with your vector work.

Checkout Planer Extra Bold from FontSpring. It will get you fairly close, nowhere near exact, but it may inspire you for the missing numbers and other glyphs.

https://www.fontspring.com/fonts/northern-block/planer?utm_source=fontsquirrel.com&utm_medium=matcherator_link&utm_campaign=planer

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jwoodford

Thanks Gecko, will check it out

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