Cristoforo: Reviving Victorian fonts with a Cthulhu history project video thumbnail
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$4,863 pledged of $8,192 goal
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$4,863 pledged of $8,192 goal
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About

Help me rescue this funky cool typeface from becoming forgotten history!

Cristoforo is my name for a pair of new fonts reviving classic American-Victorian art nouveau metal types by Hermann Ihlenburg: Columbus (1892), Columbus Initials (upright swash capitals) and the italic companion American Italic (1902). Cristoforo Regular will have some 300+ glyphs. You can see specimens of the source typefaces on my blog.

If you are not familiar with Kickstarter, scroll down to the FAQ and learn more about how it works.

Why is Cristoforo needed? 

Columbus and American Italic were classic typefaces by a master craftsman. But there's never been a decent digital version of these fonts. With Cristoforo, I want to make a pair of professional quality digital fonts, complete both in standard character coverage and in having many assorted alternate letter shapes. (For example, the graphic above shows the swash alternate versions of C, V and R originally available in Columbus Initials.)

Who should back Cristoforo?

  • fans/collectors of classic Americana
  • fans/collectors of Victorian-era design as seen anywhere in the world
  • graphic designers and typographers
  • fans and designers working with/for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game

H.P. Lovecraft & Call of Cthulhu

Cristoforo has a huge history here. Its predecessor, Columbus, was the typeface used to create the logo for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game, inspired by the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The Call of Cthulhu RPG first appeared in 1981, and for over a decade Columbus appeared on the covers of not only the game rulebook, but also a couple of dozen supplemental books and adventures. After falling out of use on supplements in the 1990s, it has still continued to be the primary game logo to the present day, with only a couple of brief interruptions. Thus Columbus has an iconic status among many fans of Call of Cthulhu and/or H.P. Lovecraft. The game introduced many to Lovecraft’s fiction. The Call of Cthulhu campaign adventure Masks of Nyarlathotep, which I designed most of the “clues” for, remains the highest-rated campaign or adventure ever published for any role-playing game. Here are a few of the Call of Cthulhu books using Columbus.

What's that black book at the top of the picture, holding the others at a handy angle? I hand bound a copy of the rulebook, hardcover in leather. Why, yes, I am that obsessive.

Americana & Cracker Jack

Cristoforo also has a key link to classic Americana. Its predecessor, Columbus, was the typeface used as the basis for the original logo for Cracker Jack (the candied peanut and popcorn snack), back in the 1890s. The candy was such a basic part of the baseball stadium experience that it was immortalized in the hit 1908 song, still sung today at most major league baseball games, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game":

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack...”

Although the logo has since been updated and modernized, the current version still shows the influence of the original letterforms.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    COMPUTER DESKTOP WALLPAPERS! We'll have three designs: Victoriana theme; type design theme featuring a tribute to original type designer Hermann Ihlenburg; H.P. Lovecraft / Cthulhu horror theme. Use one or all! PLUS, you'll get exclusive backer-only updates on the project.

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    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    + THREE LETTERPRESS POSTCARDS: I'll mail you a set of three letterpress printed postcards (one in each of the three themes mentioned above). Postcards will be printed letterpress using the Cristoforo fonts! And you get listed on the web site as one of my fabulous backers! PLUS, get the desktop wallpapers and get backer-only updates. ADD $2 for outside the USA.

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    Pledge $48 or more About $48

    THE FINAL FONTS—ALL DIGITAL PACKAGE. Full fonts, at less than the retail price! Get the final versions of both Cristoforo and Cristoforo Italic. You'll also get a working version of Cristoforo upright within a month of the project being funded, and a working version of the italic by the end of September (I think!). PLUS the desktop wallpapers, backer listing and backer-only updates! (But see below if you want the postcards as well.)

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    Pledge $63 or more About $63

    FONTS + POSTCARDS. The fonts, PLUS the letterpress postcards, the desktop wallpapers, backer listing, and backer-only updates. ADD $2 for outside the USA.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $92 or more About $92

    + T-SHIRT: a special Cristoforo silk-screened cotton T-shirt, printed in two colors, and good quality, in your choice of sizes. NOTE: Add $5 for shipping to Canada/Mexico, and $10 for anywhere further abroad. Add $25 for each additional T-shirt, and $3 for each T-shirt that needs to be XXL or larger. PLUS you'll get the final fonts, the desktop wallpapers, the postcards, backer listing and backer-only updates!

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    Pledge $133 or more About $133

    + POSTER: a two-color 18" x 24" poster, showing off Cristoforo! The poster will be printed on archival quality acid-free paper as a limited edition of 100. PLUS you'll get the the final fonts, the T-shirt, the postcards, backer listing and backer-only updates!

    NOTE: Add $10 for shipping to Canada or Mexico, and $20 for anywhere further from the USA. Add $25 for each additional poster or $25 for each additional T-shirt. Add $3 for each shirt that is XXL or larger.

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    Pledge $182 or more About $182

    + OVERSEER OF THE PROJECT! You'll get periodic updates with current versions of the fonts as I work on them throughout the project, plus the chance to give feedback on any aspect of the project.

    This is the reward to take if you want to get me to promise to add Esperanto support, or Norse runes, or something. :)

    PLUS the final fonts, the poster, the t-shirt, the postcards, backer listing and backer-only updates.

    NOTE: Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above.

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    Pledge $232 or more About $232

    AN HOUR OF TYPE TRAINING. You get up to an hour of training by Skype (or in person, see below) critiquing your type design or giving you training on any aspect of typography and type design that interests you, and I have expertise in. NOTE: Add $40 per additional half hour. Can be split into two sessions, or more if you pay for more time.

    PLUS the final fonts, the poster, the T-shirt, the postcards, backer listing and backer-only updates.

    NOTE: Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above. Can be done in person if you can meet me in Portland, or at a conference I'm attending, time permitting. From June to October I currently expect to visit Dallas, Barcelona, possibly Paris, Milwaukee, Chicago, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.

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    Pledge $333 or more About $333

    + A CUSTOM HARDCOVER BOOK with the title digitally foil-printed on the cover USING CRISTOFORO! I will take a PDF with 8.5 x 11 pages, of your choice, and print it on sturdy acid-free 11x17 pages two up. This will allow me to create hand-sewn signatures. I will then hand-bind it as a hardcover—in bonded leather!

    PLUS you get the fonts, the postcards, the T-shirt and the poster, backer listing, and backer-only updates. NOTES: This is for a single book of up to 200 pages; add $1 per two pages beyond that. This reward is limited to books where we can get the permission of the copyright holder. Please either add the cost of licensing the book as a PDF, or provide proof that you have such a license already along with the PDF. Feel free to contact me for more details. Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,892 or more About $1,892

    + CUSTOM TWO-DAY (or longer!) WORKSHOP just for you! ADD $800 for each additional day up to five. I'll teach you anything you want to learn about type design and typography that I know. You'll enjoy my wife's wonderful cooking, and absorb fonty goodness until your brain explodes! Learn anything from outline construction to spacing and kerning, or how to use multiple master technology to design an extended family of fonts all at once! Or anything else I can teach. Includes two meals a day, for up to two people. Date subject to mutual agreement, some time between project funding and the end of January. Does not include your travel costs to get to Portland, Oregon. You may also opt to have me come to you if you can cover my travel costs and expenses. Possibility of staying at our home if hotel cost is an issue. Email me to discuss this one! :)

    PLUS the final fonts, the poster, the t-shirt, the postcards, backer listing and backer-only updates.

    NOTE: Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above... unless you pick up. :)

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Funding period

- (26 days)