Relaunching Alliance

A sci-fi inspired modular typeface

One of my first typeface designs was Alliance, a modular design inspired by science fiction. I won’t go completely geeky here*, but I wanted to create a stencil design that looked at home in a cargo hold or a launch bay. I started playing around with a modular system, where stencil sections could be reused and reassembled to make letters, numbers and symbols.

Glyphs in Alliance are constructed using eight modular sections.

Glyphs in Alliance are constructed using eight modular sections.

I launched a version of Alliance in 2010 and offered it as a free download on Sketchbook B. Some of the elements in Alliance influenced my designs on Fontstruct and some of my commercial releases. 

A few years later, I took a look at the font and realized how badly I had constructed some of the letterforms. It was one of the first typefaces I built and released. I’d upgraded to Glyphs since I built the original and knew I could do better so I pulled it off Sketchbook B with the intention of building an all new version. Every so often, I think about tackling a new version of Alliance, but I never got around to it.

Last month, I stumbled upon some of my old files and started rebuilding Alliance from scratch. I’m really proud of the final design and am thrilled to rerelease the design as a free download.

The new version of Alliance has a selection of alternate characters in the lower case. I've built all the glyphs that I can with the eight stencil shapes, but the character set is far from complete.

Alliance is a strange little project, but my hope is that some day, I’ll see Alliance in the background on a science fiction television show or movie. You can download Alliance Stencil from the fonts section of Sketchbook B.


* Specifically inspired by the Alliance on Joss Whedon’s Firefly. And maybe a little bit by the Ron Moore Battlestar Galactica reboot.


Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he watches random science fiction television shows. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.

Bob Wertz

Husband, Dad (x3), Creative Director at @UofSC, Type Designer, Teacher and Volunteer. Blogs at Sketchbook B and Wanted in Columbia.