ITC Greengate is the result of a time-traveling, intercontinental collaboration — one between 21st century South African designer Richard Every, and early 20th century Scottish artist Jessie Marion King.
Jessie Marion King (1875–1949) began her professional career as a book designer and illustrator, but over time her creativity found its outlet in many forms, including posters, jewelry, ceramics, wallpaper, fabrics, murals, interior design and costumes. After eventually settling in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, she founded Green Gate Close, a center for women artists.
Although her style is reminiscent of the Art Nouveau artist, Aubrey Beardsley, King’s aesthetic was an offshoot of the “Glasgow Style,” a Scottish hybrid of the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau. Often, her illustrations included hand lettering.
It was just this kind of lettering that gave Richard Every his inspiration for ITC Greengate. When he saw some children’s book illustrations that King created in 1898, he knew on the spot he had to complete the hand lettering as a typographic font. He began working on the typeface in 1996, but it took six years to be released as an ITC typeface.
Every simplified and harmonized King’s letterforms slightly and, most importantly, added a suite of lowercase characters. The result is a somewhat earthy Art Nouveau design, with a character quite distinct from typical digital revivals.
Every’s career has been as diverse as King’s. He was born in Durban, South Africa and studied graphic design at ML Sultan Technikon in Durban. He’s been an art director, freelance designer, the owner and manager of a nightclub and co-manager of a South African band. “Through it all,” he says, “typography has always been one of my passions.”