New "Smart" Studio Lettering Collection from House Industries

House Industries delivers one of its most ambitious font offerings ever with the release of its Studio Lettering collection, which features beautiful scripts based on illustrative hand lettering, “smart font” technology that intelligently selects the most appealing variant drawn for each letter, and culture-specific style settings that include colloquial symbols used around the world.

In creating the Studio Lettering collection, which includes three typefaces and a set of illustrated shapes, type designer Ken Barber sought to marry the worlds of lettering and typography. This pursuit was not about digging up old relics and creating typefaces around them, he says, but rather finding what is unique about hand lettering and making it compatible with the more rigid framework of type.

“Lettering is a unique experience. It’s never done the same way twice. Whereas type is predictable, which is good for graphic designers,” Barber notes. “The goal of the Studio Lettering collection was to capture both the free-flowing rhythm of lettering and the predictability of type.”

Barber also incorporated colloquial lettering symbols — such as the tilde used as a shortcut for the two dots of a dieresis that he observed on a visit to Stockholm. Exhaustive research into historic and cultural references from numerous countries identified a wide range of vernacular lettering idiosyncrasies, which are included in culture-specific stylistic settings for America, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Holland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

The Studio Lettering collection has been awarded the prestigious Certificate of Excellence in Type Design for 2008 by The Type Designers Club in New York City.

The typefaces are based on hundreds of sketches using classic tools of the letterer’s trade: A wide-nib steel brush, a showcard writer’s Payzant pen, and a kolinsky mink brush. The award-winning collection includes:

– Slant, rooted in the discipline of traditional calligraphy with influences ranging from 17th Century French legal records to 20th Century American lettering. Complementary oversized caps and accompanying numerals plus countless substitution routines bring back the hand-lettered flavor that is missing from today’s digital desktop.

– Swing, a bouncy, animated typestyle with “consistent inconsistency” that achieves a carefree look and feel. Using intelligent OpenType programming, the font contextually applies one of three letter alternatives to achieve the best aesthetic result. Letters dynamically change as the user types and creates an approximation of the choices an artist would make.

– Sable, a snappy script that takes its cues from the fluid motion of advertising brush lettering of the mid-20th century. An additional character set and more OpenType programming allow Sable to achieve a unique level of liveliness. Consecutively repeating letters fluctuate in size, creating an upbeat rhythm that imparts a spontaneity lacking in most display typography.

– Shapes, offering more than 50 convenient creative aids in a handy font format. Many of these decorative ornaments were specially engineered to work together to create dynamic banner treatments.

House Industries is offering the Studio Lettering collection at a price of $160. The collection is accompanied by a limited edition ampersand sculpture (8″ x 9″ x 2″), available in aluminum or weathered iron.

Order online at or call (800) 888-4390 or 302-234-2356.

Posted on: July 11, 2008

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