AN ORIGINAL TYPEFACE BY DIXIE HEMINGWAY
THE GREATER THE DIFFICULTY, THE MORE THE GLORY IN SURMOUNTING IT. —EPICURUS
Inspiration Typeface Goals The Serif Problem Consistency The Right Name Application In the Magazine Alphabet Sets
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After researching type extensively, I had determined which characteristics I preferred in a face. Struggling to come up with an actual problem to solve, a friend asked me about the logo for Bon Appetit magazine that was sitting on my desk. With this simple question, she launched an exploration that lead to the creation of Epicurean. Researching the logo, I found a rumor online that said legendary typographer Matthew Carter had created the logo. Because I loved the perfect simplicity of the logo, I inquisitively emailed Matthew Carter hoping to find out more about the logo. The main question that I had was if Carter created an entire alphabet for the logo or just the individual letters. Matthew Carter kindly responded to me the next day answering my questions. In Carterâ€™s response he informed me that he did not create the logo or the letterforms and that only the 7 letters in the logo had been created, not an entire alphabet. With the thrill of excitement from his response, I had an idea of the problem I wanted to solve. I was going to make a typeface to be used in Bon Appetit magazine for the headlines.
Hello Mr. Carter, I am a graphic design student at Anderson University. I am currently in a typography class and have been extensively researching type. I was flipping through the mail one day and noticed the typeface used for the logo of Bon Appetit magazine. After some research, I discovered that you designed this typeface. I was wondering if you made only the letters for the logo or if you created an entire alphabet. I also discovered in my research, that this logo is based on Baskerville and Mrs Eves. Was this your inspiration? I really appreciate your time and really enjoy your work. Thank you! Dixie Hemingway
Dear Dixie Hemingway, I had made a couple of suggestions for a logo for the magazine, but they were rejected. In the end the Art Director designed the logo, and all I did was clean it up a bit. I only did the 8 letters needed for the logo. Iâ€™m not sure what the Art Director used as a source for the letterforms. Yours, Matthew Carter
As I did more research, I realized that the headline typeface was outdated. Making a typeface inspired by the logo, I could replace the headline typeface inside the magazine unifying the magazine even more. I began by compiling a list of goals that I wanted the typeface to achieve. Many of the goals were guided by the characteristics of the magazineâ€™s logo.
An initial decision was that the magazine headlines should have serifs in order to compliment the magazine’s san serif body copy. In my preliminary sketches, I was drawing a small bump onto the edge of my letters. By drawing this small bump, I was trying to accomplish my goal of having serifs that were small enough that they did not touch other serifs. Despite my attempts, the serifs were quite unpleasant. Professor Speaker correctly described them as being “mushy”. This sparked my exploration to solve the serif problem. After many disappointing sketches, I began to refer back to the magazine’s logo. When I did this, I struck gold. I decided to round the edges of logos’ serifs which was the perfect solution. While still similar to the logo, my letterforms had a smoother feel because of the roundness of the serifs. I had discovered the perfect serif.
THE SERIF FROM THE MINISCULE “B” FROM THE MAGAZINE LOGO.
THE SERIF THAT CAME TO BE.
After I had established the necessary serifs for Epicurean, I created the letters. Many changes occurred throughout the process of hand drewing each letter. When I transformed the letters from hand drawings to digital files, I noticed several consistency problems. Throughout the drawing process, I had greatly refined the arch of the minuscule and majuscule o, but had not repeated this element throughout the rest of typeface. The biggest problems were the round portions of majuscule B, P, and R. Once all of the letterforms had utilized this round characteristic, the miniscule and majuscule set felt like they belonged together, and the personality of the typeface truly emerged.
THE ARCH OF THE “O” WAS THE BASES OF EVERY CURVE OF THE ALPHABET.
Now that I had created an entire typeface, the last decision was the perfect name. Despite wrestling with several ideas, I was left unsatisfied with any of my brainstorming. While discussing my typeface with my mother, I asked if she had any name ideas. Knowing my inspiration and the process, she understood what the typeface expressing. After a moment of thinking, she announced that she had the perfect name. She remembered watching a television show called Epicurus which was based on discovering delectable food and fine wine. Curiously she looked up the root word of the show’s title and discovered the word Epicurean. Instantly I was sold. The name seemed so elegant yet simple. Researching the word Epicurean, I discovered this great definition: “fond of or adapted to luxury or indulgence in sensual pleasures; having luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating and drinking.” By establishing the perfect name, the identity of the typeface was complete.
The intended purpose of Epicurean is to replace the headline typeface in Bon Appetit magazine. To compliment the sans serif body copy of the magazine, Epicureanâ€™s unique serifs reflect the distinct personality of the publication. Even though the intended purpose for Epicurean is for a specific magazine, there are many settings. Other settings appropriate for Epicurean are menu design, cookbook design, shoe store branding, and many more. This typeface is a great display typeface. The only limit for this typeface is the designerâ€™s imagination.