The Design Center / Typography Department / Alex White  

Chris Costello fonts

For this year's Fonts Festival we caught up with Chris Costello, creator of one of the most familiar and popular fonts in use today, Papyrus -- which he created for Letraset in 1983. I remember using it in press type! It's so popular, Apple decided to license it for distribution as one of the OS X fonts! So, when you make it to Apple's menu, you know it's widely respected, and sought-after.

Chris is a native of Poughkeepsie, New York -- a graphic designer, website designer, illustrator and typographer now working in Boston, Massachusetts. His foundry is simply called Chris Costello. Now, with over 20 years experience in publishing and advertising, he continues to create hand-rendered drawings, maps, and lettering for clients including Simon & Schuster, Random House, IBM, The New York Yankees, Encyclopedia Britannica and Scholastic Press.

Chris says: "Designing typefaces is a labor of love for me. After handlettered book and magazine titles for several major publishers, I thought it would be cool to produce complete character sets from some of these designs..."

Discovering the treasures in Chris' library we get the distinct feeling he's tuned into font design that conjures lettering styles that portray the emotion and feeling of antiquity...

Chris Costello Blackstone
One might be swept back to the Middle Ages when seeing type set in Blackstone. This was one of ten winners in The 1988 Chartpak Typeface Design Competition and is now available in two styles with additional characters, alternates and dingbats. Blackstone was originally designed with only upper case letters so try using different combinations of all caps. (Sample | Font Page)

Letterpress font

Note that we've seen lots of similar fonts over the years, like Benjamin (Shareware), Caslon Antique and others. (See our article on "Distressed Antiques" ) None of the shareware styles have this elegance -- PLUS the alternate set of swash and fancy caps...
Swash characters for Letterpress
Chris sez:
      I was particularly intrigued by a few unique treatments of such characters as the lower case italic 'p', the question marks and various swash caps, that I had never seen before. During the conversion process, I made sure to preserve the worn look of faded ink on old paper by maintaining a subtle level of decay and opacity with each character (Sample | Font Page )

Chris Costello Mirage

Mirage Font Of Mirage, Chris sez:
      I designed this font with ink and a watercolor brush while thinking about the Sahara Desert and ancient civilizations. Then, it was filed and forgotten for almost 15 years. As I was sifting through some of my old art files recently, I found under the debris, a "stat" of the entire character set, complete with punctuations. In almost mint condition, this was a truly a magnificent archeological discovery. Then I thought, hey, maybe it's day has come, why not share it with the world? So, here you are, world, a completely digitized version for the new millennium. (Sample | Font Page)

Papyrus font by Chris Costello

This unusual roman typeface effectively merges the elegance of a traditional roman letterform with the hand-crafted look of highly skilled calligraphy. An extra set of initialling capitals is included to enhance its unique style. Created in 1983, originally for Esselte-Letraset. (Sample | Font Page)

Coming Soon... Chris is working on Driftwood, and we can't wait to see it! This font was developed for use on the cover design of Saltwater Seasonings, a cookbook by written by Sarah Leah Chase and Jonathan Chase, published by Little Brown & Company. The digitized version of Driftwood will contain upper and lower case international characters as well as several alternate swash capitals. Keep your eye on the Driftwood page for details.

Chris costello

ALSO SEE: Interview with Chris | Chris' Pen & Ink Samples | Logo Design

Go to the DT&G Fall Fonts Festival

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