I’m trying to get into a pattern of releasing at least one typeface a month. My release for May turned into a seven typeface family and wasn’t going to be ready this month. So I turned to my sketchbook and found inspiration for what would become my May release - Big Thursday.
(If you want to skip straight to the download, it’s over at Fonstruct. A free registration is required to download… Sorry about that…)
About 8 years ago when I was working at an ad agency, I had a pro bono project for a Big Thursday Oyster Roast invitation. Big Thursday refers to the South Carolina vs. Clemson Football game that was played on a Thursday in November for decades.
In doing research, I came across the poster from the final Big Thursday game in 1959. And Big Thursday was set in a Barnum-style slab serif. (Some call it Italienne or Reverse Egyptienne.)
I did some sketches and planned to hand letter some type for the invite, but took another approach didn’t need the custom lettering for the final design. Occasionally, I’d come back to the lettering and play around with the concepts, but never finished the typeface.
I built the typeface in Fontstruct, an amazing online type design tool from Fontshop International. Fontstruct uses a modular system to build and generate type.
It’s really powerful and fun to play with. And you can work quickly. The bulk of Big Thursday came together in only 4-5 hours.
Fonststruct does have limitations. Because you are working with tiles on a grid, slanted letters can be difficult. And the ability to customize spacing or kerning is limited.
If you like Big Thursday, feel free to download the typeface from over at Fonstruct. And while you are there, rate it or leave a comment.
Tips for Setting
The typeface that Fonstruct generates is TrueType and will work for Macs and PCs.
There are also a few odd things about the font file that is generated. First of all, the sizing is off. This is a known issue with the Fontstruct engine, but as a result, you’ll need to use really large sizes and the leading will seem off. It takes a little experimentation to get it right. And often, with display type, you may be better off converting the type to outlines.
Also, if you are using Abobe InDesign or Illustrator, I’d recommend using Optical Kerning. It does a nice job of cleaning up the spacing irregularities.