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36 Days of Fonts: Day 09

Irish Geo

When I visited Ireland for the first time in January, I fell in love with the Irish lettering style, which appears not only on pubs and shops across the country, but in a strange hybrid sans-serif design on their highway signs! I was obsessed, and picked up a copy of Dermot McGuinne's *Irish Type Design* from the National Print Museum in Dublin.

My goal with this design was to come up with a set of geometric capital letters that have a strong Irish-like appearance, taking inspiration from a wide variety of historic Irish typefaces. It wanted to be just on the line of being legible to modern readers, so I had to make some tough judgement calls.

  • First, the Irish script does not contain j, k, q, v, w, x, y, and z. But, due to loanwords and mixing of Irish and English, history shows many examples of Irish typefaces that include different interpretations of some of these letters.
  • The /V has a curved bottom, while the /U is the same but with a stem, so readers will need context of the surrounding letters to recognise a /V.
  • The /G is, to me, the quintessential Irish letterform. It's so unusual, but readers unfamiliar with it can almost always read it, in my experience. It bears some resemblance to a double-storey /g, but with the upper storey flattened into a horizontal line; then the whole glyph is stretched from the cap line down to the baseline, or in many cases the descender line.
  • The /S was a formidable problem to solve. The historic Irish /S is the only design that is completely unrecogniseable to most readers today. It resembles a long s (ſ), which is an archaic form of the the Latin lowercase /s, but in Irish it was stretched into a capital letter, with a split stem at the top. After many attempts, I designed a completely new form that is recogniseably modern, but retains one clear reference to the historic Irish form.

See you tomorrow!

Follow the 36 Days of Fonts project for a new font every day! Post your feedback on Instagram or send me an email justin@justinpenner.ca. If you use this font, show me your work or tag it #36fontsinuse, and if you want to see it expanded to a full character set, let me know!


Instagram @_justinpenner

This project runs from December 1, 2020 to January 6, 2021, and the fonts will be available for a limited time after.


This free font is licensed for personal and commercial use. For full details, read the Free Font License Agreement.

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36 Days of Fonts: Day 09

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