Skip to main content

Introducing Steagal, an American Vernacular Sans.










I love geometric sans serifs, their crispness and rationality. Le Havre taps into this style, but for a while, I've wanted to create a font recalling the printed Futura of the 1940s, which seems to have an elusive quality all its own. After seeing an old manual on a World War II ship, I developed a plan for "Le Havre Metal" but chose to shelve the project due to Le Havre's small x-height. That's where Steagal comes in.


When Robbie de Villiers and I began the Chatype project in early 2012 (a project which led one publication to label me the Edward Johnston of Chattanooga!), we started closely studying the vernacular lettering of Chattanooga. During that time, I also visited Switzerland, where I saw how designers were using a new, handmade aesthetic with a geometric base. I was motivated to make a new face combining some of these same influences. The primary inspiration for the new design came from the hand-lettering of sign painters in the United States, circa 1930s through 1950s. My Chatype research turned up a poster from the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which exhibited a number of quirks from the unique hand and style of one of these sign artists.

Completing the first draft of Steagal, however, I found that the face appeared somewhat European in character. I turned then to the work of Morris Fuller Benton for a distinctly American take and discovered a number of features that would help define Steagal as a "1930s American" vernacular typeface--features I later learned also inspired Morris Fuller Benton's Eagle. The overall development of Steagal was surprisingly difficult, knowing when to deliberately distort optical artifacts and when to keep them in place. Part of type design is correcting optical illusions, and I found myself absentmindedly adjusting the optical effects. In the end, though, I was able to draw inspiration from period signs, inscriptions, period posters, and architecture while retaining just enough of the naive sensibility.

The final sans face of Steagal has softened edges, which simulate brush strokes and retain the feeling of the human hand. The standard version has unique quirks that are not too intrusive. Overshoots have almost been eliminated, and joins have minimal corrections. The rounded forms are mathematically perfect, geometric figures without optical corrections. As a variation to the standard, the “Rough” version stands as the "bad signpainter" version with plenty of character.

Steagal Regular comes in five weights and is packed with OpenType features. Steagal includes three Art Deco Alternate sets, optically compensated rounded forms, a monospaced variant, and numerous other features. In all, there are over 200 alternate characters. To see these features in action, please see the informative .pdf brochure. OpenType capable applications such as Quark or the Adobe Creative suite can take full advantage of the automatically replacing ligatures and alternates. Steagal also includes support for all Western European languages.

Steagal is a great way to subtly draw attention to your work. Its unique quirks grab the eye with a authority that few typefaces possess. Embrace its vernacular, hand-brushed look, and see what this geometric sans serif can do for you.

Introductory offer: 90% off. Full family just $12!





2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Tips for using Chromatic Typefaces or Layered Fonts

Using Layered or Chromatic Type Have you seen those fancy new layered type styles that all the cool kids are using? Ever wonder how to use them most efficiently? Layered type is great when you want to set headlines in a application that screams for attention. It's fantastic when you want a retro or vintage feel or just want to add some depth and dimension to your work.

A Bit of History If you will forgive the pun, layered type is a multifaceted contemporary trend in type design. Layered type finds it's origins in woodtype, which came to the fore in the mid 1800s. Another implementation came in the time of Letraset. In the present day, we stack layers of type in a digital program and output the results, but in the past there was great deal of trial and error and less versatility. Some of the challenges of designing layered type, such as registration, are now mostly the domain of the designer of the layered type family.

Tips On How To Use Layered Type We will only go into the …

Grenale, a haute couture sans-serif.

The elegant Grenale brings a new look to the classic didone. This shimmering sans-serif family with its mild deco shades alters the typical serifs and terminals of the classic style to form a gracefully eye-catching, high-contrast font.

While high-contrast, sans serif forms tend to disappear in the copy, Grenale’s meticulously designed features exhibit proper balance in the spacing and in the thorough improvements of its contours. The rigorous consideration given these details leaves a delicate typeface that doesn’t get washed out in certain applications. Its pure, polished, geometric structure has a glamorous sensitivity, drawing heavily from the inspiration of the haute couture influence.

Grenale’s thin weights are simple but vibrant--elegant forms that naturally lend themselves to high fashion journals, high-end branding, and other five star applications. With added energy and power, the thicker weights with their ink traps and optical compensation intensify the gravitas for a state…

Wreath: Handdrawn for the Holidays

Haul out the holly. Insigne’s font Wreath has hit the shelves just in time for the holidays.


Wreath is a script face drawn with a pointed brush. Designed by the elves of the insigne workshop, its unique forms were created to dress up your gift labels and a wide variety of other holiday collateral.
With five different weights and five different variants that allow for a distressed appearance, Wreath is no Scrooge. Its numerous alternates help to make your designs happy all the way.  They allow for varying the ending characters of the lowercase to give your designs an automatic handwritten appearance. In addition, there are ligatures that extend the handwritten appearance and alternate options, including randomized alternates to create a unique appearance every time the font is used. There’s over six-hundred fifty glyphs in every font.
And what would the holidays be without a few ornaments! Wreath contains over 60 complementary ornaments for creating that perfectly decorated look every ti…