Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Help me save these forgotten fonts from the dustbin of history! These classic Victorian fonts need a proper digital revival.
We saved these forgotten fonts from the dustbin of history! These classic Victorian fonts got a proper digital revival. Not yet available retail, but use link below to license the fonts.
We saved these forgotten fonts from the dustbin of history! These classic Victorian fonts got a proper digital revival. Not yet available retail, but use link below to license the fonts.
235 backers pledged $10,785 to help bring this project to life.

About

Cristoforo: Victorian Cthulhu fonts revived (again) project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Cristoforo: Victorian Cthulhu fonts revived (again)

$10,785

235

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

Cristoforo is my name for a trio of new fonts: two are 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) and American Italic Initials, while the third font is related symbols and stand-alone swashes that may be useful. You can see specimens of the source typefaces on my blog.

UPDATE: Help me reach the stretch goal(s) of Greek support! Yes, the project was funded at $6400. The first stretch goal of $7,500 meant I’ll be adding support for Central European language support, Reaching $10,000 meant I will do Cyrillic as well. 

I was reluctant to add Greek, because Greek lowercase is challenging to do well. But I do like a challenge and it would be cool to have full pan-European language support. So here are the final stretch goals for Cristoforo and what I will add at each new pledge total!

$10,750: Greek caps

$12,000: Greek lowercase

$13,000 full-on polytonic Greek (useful for scholars and pre-1982 book reprints)

See the FAQ below for more details on the stretch goals.

If this project looks familiar, it’s because I tried it on Kickstarter a month ago and only reached 60% of the target, meaning no funding at all happened. But I’m nothing if not tenacious, so I am trying again with newly reconfigured rewards, including new personal-use font licenses at $12, or $24 for all three fonts! Full commercial-use license for all three fonts with all their alternate glyphs and goodies remains at $48. Remember that regular commercial-quality fonts of this level run $30-$35 per font style (e.g. Adobe’s Pro fonts such as my own Hypatia Sans Pro), so a trio could cost you around $100.

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 you click on for the video shows the swash alternate versions of C, V and R originally available in Columbus Initials. Cristoforo Regular is slated to have at least 300 glyphs! See more about the extras I am adding in my update to the original project. See the FAQ below for more on quality.

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. You want that in a type designer, trust me.

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...”

It’s funny to me that the logo is really a degraded form of the typeface, clearly designed or modified by somebody who didn't understand lettering very well. Letters like “e” and “c” should dip slightly below the flat bottoms of other letters to look the same height, but they don’t... and as a result they look like they are floating a little higher than their neighbors.

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 US$ 3 or more About $3

    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.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    11 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 14 or more About $14

    CRISTOFORO BASIC FONT, PERSONAL USE LICENSE. Just the upright font, with only the characters A-Z and a-z, and their accented variants, with a personal use license. Does not include swash alternates, numbers, nor the italic font, nor special symbols. PLUS the desktop wallpapers, backer listing and backer-only updates

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 24 or more About $24

    FULL FONTS, PERSONAL USE LICENSE. Full fonts, with 300+ glyphs each, at a fraction of full price! Get the final versions Cristoforo, Cristoforo Italic and Cristoforo Symbols with a personal use license. 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 October (I think!). PLUS the desktop wallpapers, backer listing and backer-only updates

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    91 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 48 or more About $48

    FULL FONTS, COMMERCIAL USE. Full fonts, at less than the retail price! Get the final versions of both Cristoforo, Cristoforo Italic and Cristoforo Symbols with a full commercial use license. 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 October (I think!). PLUS the desktop wallpapers, backer listing and backer-only updates

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    102 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 77 or more About $77

    + 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 full fonts with the full license, the desktop wallpapers, backer listing and backer-only updates!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 118 or more About $118

    + POSTER: a 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 with full license, the T-shirt, 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 T-shirt. Add $3 for each shirt that is XXL or larger.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 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, backer listing and backer-only updates. NOTE: Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 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, 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 July to January I currently expect to visit Barcelona, Paris, Munich, Hamburg, Milwaukee, probably Chicago, maybe San Francisco, Hong Kong, probably New York City.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 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 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.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 353 or more About $353

    (added 2 more by popular demand) + 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 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.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 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 Feburary. 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. Email me to discuss this one! :) PLUS the final fonts, the poster, the t-shirt, backer listing and backer-only updates. NOTE: Shipping outside USA and extra items costs as described above... unless you pick up. :)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (23 days)