by Ilene Strizver
Halloween is around the corner, and with it, an onslaught of spooky graphics on invitations, posters, ?yers, decorations, and greeting cards. It’s the perfect time of year to say “boo!” to scary fonts.
Scary fonts are not just for Halloween, of course. They’re for whenever you want to communicate a ghoulish, creepy feeling – think of horror book covers, movie posters, rock group logos, T-shirts and web sites.
Here’s a guide to some blood-curdling fonts that just might scare the pants off your audience – and you!
Shocking splatters give this typeface by noted British designer Andrew Smith a dangerous look, but Chiller is surprisingly legible, even in small sizes. A collection of alternate characters and ominous spot illustrations guarantee striking and effective graphics.
This zany assortment of illustrations comes from the wildly creative imagination of designer and illustrator Steve Zafarana. Here he renders an eclectic group of gargoyles in “cartoony” ink. The result is a collection of fantasy characters ready to haunt, hover and spook.
A bold display script with a funky, unkempt appearance, Hollyweird was designed by California lettering artist Jill Bell. Curled ?ourishes wrap the fashionable uppercase like haughty feather boas. The capitals are ideal for initials; the lowercase delivers maximum impact when set tightly.
This oddly-named typeface evolved from lettering for a project that needed to be “quirky, wacky, and fun,” says designer Carol Kemp, a lettering artist in Sussex, England. “The name came to me as the letters appear to jig along – it just seemed to ?t.”
ITC Ludwig has an edge. It’s nervous, tense – maybe even a little scary. Drawn by Italian designer Giuseppe Errico, ITC Ludwig refuses to be con?ned to a traditional baseline. Its twisted, lowercase ‘g’ and an ‘e’ that could double as an upside-down ‘a’ both add to the design’s spooky personality.
A compulsive day of sketching by illustrator Frank Marciuliano led to this squiggly, nervous design. By day’s end, Marciuliano explains, what began with the letter ‘A’ developed into a typeface that he describes as “a little crazy.” ITC Schizoid looks spontaneous and neurotic, as if rendered by a jittery hand.
This typeface packs a powerful visual punch with its emotional, hand-written appearance. Its raw energy grabs attention in both all-cap and mixed case settings. Another versatile, cutting-edge typeface by the eclectic Jill Bell.
Use this exciting brush script by Andrew Smith on its own, or with the simulated ink splats and smudges included with the font. The loose, unstructured letterforms produce a powerful visual effect wherever a bold, dashing headline is needed.
Spooky, an alphabet to frighten even the bravest, was created by British designer Timothy Donaldson. Though characters are irregular and have uneven outer contours, the ?gures mysteriously line themselves up while conjuring thoughts of ghosts, bats, vampires and darkness. As an added bonus, Spooky includes illustrations worthy of its name, from black cat to spider to witch.
Created by Andreu Balius of the Barcelona graphic design ?rm Typerware, ITC Temble combines some of the angular qualities of medieval metallurgy with a modern tempo. The result is a design both graceful and “goth.” Symbols included in the font depict modern images in the same medieval style.
Those of us who live in seismically lively regions can quickly recognize the appeal of ITC Tremor, which looks as if it’s bouncing off the shelf while you watch. Designer Alan Dempsey says, “Most faces I design come from trace ‘work-outs’ for advertising products. In the case of Tremor, it was to re?ect a lively teenager.” The result is a cartoonish, slab-serif typeface with decidedly irregular angles and abrupt, straight-edged curves, and the feel of being in continuous motion.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.