Typefaces are rarely designed in response to public demand – but that’s exactly what led Richard Bradley back to his drawing board to create the Bradley Type™ family. He had designed ITC Bradley Hand for ITC in 1995, and ever since its release, appreciators have continued to request a more versatile counterpart.
“After listening to so many graphic designers ask for a version without Bradley Hand’s rough edges, I knew I had a mandate,” acknowledges Bradley. “Bradley Hand, with its somewhat rugged demeanor, makes distinctive blocks of copy at small type sizes, but it can become visually distracting when the typeface is set much above 18 point. It became clear to me that a natural handwriting typeface for display purposes would be very useful.”
The design process had a humble beginning – but one that was perfectly suited to Bradley’s style of working. “I drew the typeface with a permanent felt tip pen on ordinary lined paper,” Bradley says. His primary goal was for the new design to retain the verve and spontaneity of handwriting – but look more refined than Bradley Hand. He also wanted the new typeface to be slightly more condensed than Bradley Hand, in the interest of space efficiency for titles, headlines, signage, and even billboards. “After many hours of writing and experimentation,” he continues, “I chose the best characters and then provided both my sketches and final drawings to Richard Dawson for font production.” Dawson is a type designer who is also skilled at providing digitizing services. Bradley is primarily a calligrapher and lettering artist – and happy to let font technology experts handle the conversion process.
From Bradley’s choice of pen and paper through Dawson’s digitizing, the undertaking was unified and collaborative. The final design of Bradley Type has the same handwritten, “everyday” feel that has made Bradley Hand so popular. While Bradley Hand is primarily best suited for small blocks of text copy, Bradley Type’s utility spans a much wider range of applications. “I designed the family,” says Bradley, “for casual home computer users as well as professional graphic communicators. For anyone who’s looking for a handwriting typeface, Bradley Type can be used at a variety of sizes for diverse projects.”
The result is a family of three weights, ranging from a svelte Regular weight, through a sturdy Bold to a robust Heavy. Each weight also has complementary italic design. Bradley also included a suite of handy ligatures for each weight, adding to the versatility of the family.