Renaissance & Fantasy Fonts

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Potentially the most important invention of the Renaissance period was the 1450s Guttenberg Printing Press. A moveable type press, once set, could print... well, a page every few minutes -- but that was remarkable in a day when you'd walk to the nearest scriptorium to have some surly monks copy your documents by hand.

Sites regarding the History of Type:
History of Typesetting
Movable type

These days, a printer is never far from reach and one worries more about one's spelling than the print quality. But in exchange for this convenience, many of us have lost the art of type. Sharp, even fonts that delighted the Renaissance world seem bland... and send us scrambling for a new typeface!

Fonts Free and Paid

I've selected a collection of fonts for their endearing renaissance, medieval, victorian, and fantasy nature. Some of these fonts are free, others require a postcard, others still cost money to use. Please refer to EACH font's documentation to determine the terms of use. Probally the most authentic of these is Illinois

If none of my collection strikes your fancy, Sansamour Fin of the Nonesuche Players swears by Adobe's Caslon Antique.

Adobe also has a series of font packages called Fonts Before Gutenberg I, II, and III that use classic character shapes, ligatures and the extended S. It appears they come in both postscript and true-type format. Cited Adobe names include: Wilhelm Klingpor Gotisch, a strong tight Germanic 'black' text; San Marco, a lighter bible caligraphy in the Italianate style; Linotext, a taller, more middle English caligraphic style; Goudy Text, slighly more standard book block text of the Linotext style, tighter with less serifing; Fette Fraktur, a very open, broad, round german caligraphy with dagger-like T's and S's; Duc de Berry, a french style open hand caligraphy with a correspondence feel to it; Clairvaux, a simple monastery or government hand caligraphy; Carolina, a more renaissance text with modern character forms, slightly italic.

Two or three of these fonts should serve any reinactor well for newsletter, sign or missive. Be careful how you use them. If you're striving for realism, the extended S is rarely if ever used at the end of words and f-ligatures are common, especially in block text. Costumes Acting Language RPFI History
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