The Process of Vulf Mono

  1. A musician aware of the power of custom type and its relationship to branding.
  2. A relatively young person aware of IBM Selectric typewriters, and the fonts available to them.
  3. Someone outside of the type world using the word “monospace.”
  4. A monospace for a funk band? Most definitely not an obvious choice when you consider the rich history of expressive type and lettering on funk and soul record covers.
The IBM Selectric typewriter was technological milestone not only for the multiple font choices available to it (see the balls of type), but also due to the machine’s “memory” that allowed you to type faster than the machine could print.
12 pt Light Italic. Image courtesy of Luc Devroye.
My initial sketches ranged wildly in weight and width. As is always the case, leaving no stone unturned is a good strategy for dialing in the variables to exactly their sweet spot.

Warmth in Vectors

Though the vast sketching exploratory revealed a few interesting directions, Jack resisted their novelty, and found my first sketch of the Vulf logotype to be more fitting for the band.
The simple difference between a geometric square, and one with slight bends on all sides. A subtle move to be sure, but one that can breathe life into a design when echoed through thousands of outlines.
An early version of the typeface, showing how adjusting the slope individually helps to fill horizontal space more evenly.
The relation in width between upper and lowercase is a challenging give and take for monospace designs. This early version of Vulf Mono also shows ball terminals on K and R, a detail that was later ironed out.

Broadening the Designspace

Starting with the bolder italic in the top left, I considered what additional styles might look like. By drawing just a few characters, one can quickly test ideas to get a feel for the family. Later, the x-height was increased in the bold, to help the styles maintain proportions through the weights.

Bringing it Home

The part is pure fun. I have a prediction that treble clefs will be the new ampersands.

In Closing

See a preview of Vulf Mono, and hear a sample of the new Vulfpeck album, due out October 17.

Fonts are chill. @jamestedmondson serving as janitor.

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OH no Type Co

OH no Type Co

Fonts are chill. @jamestedmondson serving as janitor.

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