SPEEDBALL TEXT BOOK 14TH EDITION Part 5

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Images © Ross F. George/Hunt Manufacturing Co.

Previous parts of this series can be found in the “Lettering/Fonts” category on the right sidebar of this blog.

As I’ve said previously, author/artist Ross F. George is wildly inconsistent with his style names, and this one is a doozy. It imitates the carved-in-stone letters on Trajan’s Column in Rome from about 100 AD, and is as classically Roman as you can get, but George calls it “Gothic with a touch of Roman.” Name aside, it’s a fine example of the style and how to shade it for pen and ink, although by putting the blacks toward the bottom (as he has on the bottom half) it seems to make the letters seem raised rather than cut in. Perhaps that’s the idea. I also love the playful glow centered on his artist symbol.

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By Gothic, George means sans-serif. These are open block letters with drop shadows that have the same kind of shading and edge lines often seen in comics at least since Joe Shuster’s original SUPERMAN logos on the first few issues of that title, and of course Ira Schnapp’s version, which is very similar to the word VIRGIN above. It was a common style at the time, I believe, but it would be interesting to know if Schnapp and George looked at each other’s work.

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There’s a lot going on in this style: art deco, stylized white bricks, white circles, white spatter shading. It’s still pretty easy to read despite all those distractions, even the smallest letters. One of George’s best creations, but not something he could have used often, I think.

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An example of slab serif block letters, the kind often used on team shirts. Not very gracefully done in some areas to my eyes.

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Now this one is pure fun and full of life and movement, a delight. It reminds me of of comic strips and cartoons where things are likely to explode at any moment. I like the way the exploding bits are both black and white, extending them into the letters.

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Another one I love, it’s all about texture and horizontal movement akin to speed lines, but part of the letters. A great example of how texture can add interest to the simplest forms. Love the extra thick letters, too.

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I don’t care much for this style, though I do like the style of the titles at top and bottom. The latter IS an example of speed lines. The main alphabet lacks grace, and the shadows don’t help any.

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Here’s the rest of the alphabet and some variations. Still don’t like it. They can’t all be winners, I guess.

To be continued.

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