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This is sorta cute.

I need a hella sweet name for my font set. I’m toying with Clear-cut/Clearcut/Clear Cut. It’s a little more subtle than EZ cut, Speedy cut, Quick cut, Quick slice, and all the lame variations thereof that I’ve been coming up with. Suggestions are welcome. Obviously the ideal name will both hint at their function and be witty.

PS: I’m using the term “branding” here loosely. The whole enchilada’s gonna be free and open source.

Here’s one approach I’m trying, using shape instead of line. How minimal a shape can I make before you can’t recognize the letter? One thing to consider is that if a problematic letter is in context, i.e. in a word, that will mitigate its illegibility. Other consideration: If the angles pointing inside are to long and sharp, you get floppy peninsulas. If that wasn’t an issue, these would be really easy. But it is, and so is the fact that all closed counters, eyes, etc. are filled in. Sort of a tribute to my friend David Z. from Santa Cruz who hand-cut his text on the fly and never bothered to make bridges for closed letters like R, B, D, A and the rest. Potential name: Lazy Vandal. There will be two versions, lazy and extra lazy. Extra lazy will look more like the glyphs in the photo. Lazy will be a little more complex, with multiple shapes making up the glyphs.

Second draft for Lazy Vandal

I did this draft during a morning lab shift.

I’m recruiting beta testers:

Hi guys and gals,

I’m looking for a few volunteers to help me with a design project I’m doing on stencil fonts. I’m trying to come up with some new fonts that are designed to be easy to cut. I need some people with stenciling experience to test drive the prototypes (no pun intended) and give me feedback.

Anybody wanna help out? It’s a volunteer project and I can’t pay anybody, but you get to participate in something that I hope will be a big contribution to the stencil community.

Sent to CDT type teachers, posted on Stencil Revolution. Hoping to get onto Wooster when they start posting again. Here’s what I sent them:

Exfish Design is hard at work prototyping a new set of stencil fonts designed to be easily cut by hand. Virtually all available stencil typefaces are made to be cut by machine or used as design elements in print or digital media. These will be the first fonts ever made specifically for street artists. The letterforms conform to comfortable hand motions, and refrain from using small curves and tricky corners. If you’re armed with nothing but a spray can, an X-acto and a pile of card stock, Exfish stencil fonts will allow you to cut text easily and fast. Oh yeah, and we’re gonna give them away for free. We’re looking for beta testers to evaluate our prototypes! If interested, send an email to exfishdesign@gmail.com

Also sent out a specimen sheet:

Specimen sheet

Specimen sheet

Seems lots of folks in CDT are taking interest in my little hobby. I’m totally psyched, naturally.

Note to self: come up with a cooler name than “The Stencil Typeface Project”. Sounds like some shitty 70s cock rock band.

Abstract: The goal of this project is to produce a set of stencil-ready typefaces that will be easy and fast to cut out by hand.

Background: Traditional typefaces used for stenciling (army, industry) were designed to imitate normal Roman typefaces, and were cut by machine. Many stencil fonts available online are designed to imitate printed typefaces. Others mimic the look of a sprayed stencil with a grunge/distressed feel. Some are genuinely original, but still fail to account for actual usage as a template for cutting. The main problems tend to be small lines and tricky curves.

I’m targeting an audience of street artists and activists, who don’t have access to a stencil-maker or a laser cutter—just their own two hands, an X-acto blade and some manilla card stock. My fonts will be designed to follow natural hand movements with a minimum of small lines, weak bridges and awkward curves.I’ll be trying several different approaches, and making right- and left-handed versions. All prototypes will be user tested repeatedly.

“Exfish” can be interpreted in many ways, one being an ex-fish , in the manner of the ex-parrot. In other words, dead. A cartoon fish skeleton is a highly recognizable visual. I’ve worked the word exfish into the vertebrae of such a skeleton, shown in close-up as if under an x-ray screen. This sticker wold be applied to skinny vertical objects like sign posts and street lights. Ideally it should look like the fish skeleton is an X-ray view of the pole’s innards.

There’s always some avant garde asshole gong on about “opening up the public space for political discussion”. I decided to take a very literal-minded approach, and hopefully a fun one. People may be okay with public discussion, but don’t always know what to say or where to start. Solution? Fridge magnets! Turn large open vertical spaces into a “sandbox for dialogue”. For solid surfaces, such as the big screen outside the Virgin Monsterstore, laminated boards surrounding constructon and scaffolding, etc., I would use cardboard cutouts with printed words on one side, and removable poster squares on the other This way they can be taken off and rearranged. Another implementation is for chain-link fences: instead of poster squares, small hooks fashioned out of wire go on the backs of the cardboard pieces so that you can hook then onto the fence. Fences create a more interesting backdrop for the words. Additionally, chain link fences are a “surface that have been traditionally off limits to street artists and writers.

As a source for words, political speeches, opinion pieces or news articles could be used.

Street Poetry for the Asking

You gotta pay for everything these days…I’d like to put some simulated coin slots on places you don’t expect them, especially places that ought not to have them (water coolers, light switches, whatever). Below are some possibilities for mailboxes.

Blue Box

Relay box