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Philip Kelly Releases 'Shiosai' Typefaces

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Philip Kelly Releases 'Shiosai' Typefaces

Posted by: Philip Kelly Digital Design | Date added: Fri 17 Apr 2015

New Typefaces

Shiosai’ (The Japanese word for ‘The sound of the sea’) In 1987 I designed a typeface called ‘Spritzer’; whilst working in the type studio at Esselte Letraset Ltd. Spritzer was only released as Letraset rub-down transfer sheets.

It was a reasonable seller but never made it into the digital era. Spritzer was an italic, outlined, drop-shadow with serifs .... and includes many decorative elements of course. So there is a lot going on within each letterform. I received an inquiry via email from someone very interested in what he called ‘Lost typefaces’. That is, typefaces that never made it into digital fonts and had become somewhat forgotten, or ‘lost’. One of those that he rather liked was my Spritzer design.

This inspired me to have another look at the typeface again after so many years. For copyright reasons alone, I had to ensure that I did not just ‘adapt’ the original Spritzer and I also wanted a new fresh contemporary typeface. The Shiosai letters began as very decorative with plenty of elements shooting out all over the place from each letter. I found that too much decoration rendered the letters somewhat illegible - although fun.

I decided to design a new typeface that was ‘inspired’ by Spritzer but was cleaner and modern with less decoration but with as much, and maybe more punch. For Shiosai, I decided to retain plenty of the base sans shapes and keep the decoration to about 40% or less for each outline. This would help the letters remain more legible but not lose any of their impact in display use. I have also created a set of decorative ‘Initialling Caps’.

These are placed on alternative keys that are easily available via the ‘Glyphs Palette’ in Adobe apps, and via ‘Insert’ in MS office apps. They are best used only as the first glyphs in certain words and are not intended for use within words themselves or for complete words. How will users interpret the decoration? The decorative elements are not meant to be actual waves; or maybe even flames. However, if people use them that way, then great. Some may see them as oriental brush strokes, perhaps even fireworks or feathers? It does not matter how the shapes are interpreted, I just hope that designers have fun with my creation.

‘Shiosai Calm’, a new ’plain sans’. How did this come about? I had not planned to create a separate complementary plain sans form for the decorative Shiosai. However, as the Shiosai outlines took shape, I felt that the letters could also form a new contemporary sans in their own right. The underlying ‘sans’ foundations were not based on existing fonts but developed organically from the decorative elements. Normally (and perhaps more sensibly) I would have begun with a plain sans form and then added the decoration, but in fact I did the opposite.

The new sans outlines are supportive of the decorative form. I needed to re-design the basic sans shapes to work without the decorative elements, whilst remaining in sympathy when used in mixed word sets. This new bold sans offers distinctive shapes and the narrower ‘T’ and ‘L’ often seen in logotypes to help reduce too much white space in the letter spacing. Although not designed for text usage, it reads quite comfortably in short passages.

The font is available exclusively from Philip Kelly Digital Design directly. ‘Shiosai’ and ‘Shiosai Calm’ are supplied in OpenType Postscript format which is Mac and Windows compatible.

Other articles by Philip Kelly Digital Design:


New Typeface ‘Fantail’

New Typeface ‘Fantail’

Philip Kelly Digital Design releases a new display typeface named ‘Fantail’.

Date added: Mon 28 May 2012


Philip Kelly Digital Design releases ‘Sendai’ typeface family

Philip Kelly Digital Design releases ‘Sendai’ typeface family

New Typeface ‘Sendai’

Date added: Mon 22 Nov 2010