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Tag Archives: typeface

I’m still here folks. It’s been a while since I’ve had time for the Clean Cut project, what with my MFA thesis to work on. Truth is, I still don’t have time but I’ve gone back to working on ’em anyway. In the interim I’ve taken a proper typeface design class and I’m interning at a type design studio. With much newfound knowledge about type and letterforms (not to mention proper spacing) I’m making improvements to my little family of stencil fonts. Lugnut is being extensively overhauled, and Sliced is receiving some much-needed tweakage. Once Sliced is in a place where I’m happy with it, I can generate Diced fairly easily. Then, it’s on to Lazy Vandal in its variations. I never really completed artwork for the letterforms, just sketches. I have a feeling some of the letters in Lazy vandal will be problematic when cut in paper, due to some sharp angles I’d rather avoid. Testing should be interesting.

Again, all this renewed interest has mainly served to distract me from thesis, so don’t expect huge amounts of progress soon. I have not, however, abandoned the project.


Get ’em while they’re hot! Exfish Studio is proud to present the first beta releases of Clean Cut Sliced and Clean Cut Lugnut. They’re still rough around the edges but you’re encouraged to play around with them and give us your feedback.


Clean Cut Sliced (beta)

Clean Cut Lugnut (beta)

Creative Commons License
The Clean Cut typeface family by Exfish Studio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

In order to further pin down the right orientation for curves, I’ve devised this test sheet:

Test patterns

Next chance I get to work on this, I’ll print out two copies: one for upstroke cutting and one for downstroke.

Why do street artists need new stencil typefaces? Glad you asked.

Historically, stencils were cut using machines. Typefaces needed to provide bridges to hold in “islands” and to add stability to the stencil, but little else. Pre-cut stencils are sold letter by letter in arts, crafts and hardware stores—again, made by machine.

Modern stencil faces are generally designed for use in print media, for effect. They aren’t intended for making actual stencils. As such, hand-cutting isn’t a consideration. Indeed, many modern designs are “stencilized” versions of existing print typefaces.

Traditional and modern stencil Typefaces

The top four typefaces are in the traditional industrial style. The rest are modern designs. Note Pochoir and Graphic Stylin, both of which are clearly based on print typefaces given the stencil treatment.

Distressed typefaces

The above refugees from the grunge craze are designed to look like stenciled text that’s been sprayed on a surface. The irregular edges make them even harder to use for hand-cutting.

While I doubt that it was their intent, there are typefaces out there that are better than average for hand-cutting.

Getting better

None of these typefaces have any curves, which makes them much easier to cut. Octin Stencil Bold and Militia Sans are my favorites from this batch, due to their simple form and lack of serifs. Even so, short lines like those at the ends of strokes are a nuisance to cut, and slow down the process considerably.

Like I said, this is a quick and dirty survey. I still have lots of research to do about the history of text stencils. Oh, and please excuse the sloppy layout of the type examples…I’m new at this.