Application Deadline June 30, 2022 at Midnight
WIP Please direct questions to Dimitry at email@example.com
Fonts are a defining part of and catalysts for creating culture. For centuries, fonts have been containers of form, mediums of expression, and tools for collaboration. Their very ubiquity is the primary reason artists should not just use but create fonts. Another is their accessibility and technological fluidity—fonts can be easily shared and used in countless ways.
For our purposes as a digital foundry, a font is fundamentally a piece of software that contains a table of visual artifacts called glyphs. Each glyph is a single representation of a character, typically a letter, number, or punctuation mark in typefaces. But they can be any visual symbol we see on our screens when we tap the keys on a physical or digital keyboard.
Fonts can be printed, projected, animated, extruded into 3D shapes, stenciled, embedded into websites and apps, extruded into signage, dropped into the metaverse, and most importantly, licensed commercially, creating new markets for artists and their collectors.
ArtistFont was founded to facilitate and promulgate font creation by artists and other creatives without a font or type design background. Our mission is to empower artists by facilitating new modes of expression, collaboration, and revenue opportunities for their work through digital fonts and derivative works.
Using fonts is so easy that most people barely think about it. Creating fonts remains technically challenging and laborious. ArtistFont eliminates all the technical hurdles and difficulties. We process your original art to ensure each glyph is suitable for encoding in software distributed as a font file. ArtistFont also handles packaging, marketing, licensing keys, and hosting fonts for safely embedding them in websites and apps. You can focus on creating the best fonts you can imagine.
Founder, Dimitry Saïd Chamy, has a design and fine arts background, studied letterform and font design with some of the best designers in the field, and personally guides all font development. He also has decades of extensive technological product design and entrepreneurial consulting experience.
Dingbat fonts have existed for centuries in metal type and decades as digital fonts. A dingbat is a design that is not a letter, number, or punctuation mark in a font. Dingbats include symbols with specific uses like the asterisk * or hashtag # in typographic fonts. Dingbats can also be found in entirely non-typographic fonts for use as ornaments. Fleurons are one type of ornamental dingbat inspired by classic floral and botanical motifs. They were used as framing devices, dividers, and accents in traditional metal typesetting.
The most well-known dingbat font is probably Wingdings designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes for Microsoft and released in 1990.
Wingdings Glyph Set
Dingbats are a great entry point to font creation for artists because they are essentially drawings and symbols. They don’t demand the technical rigors and design skills that typographic fonts require such as kerning pairs. Unlike the alphabet, dingbats don’t have to carry specific historic and culturally agreed-upon meanings or work as a combinatorial visual system representing the phonetics in spoken language. Dingbats clear the way for original symbolic expression.
To make it as easy as possible for artists and users of our fonts, ArtistFont has set a minimum requirement of 62 glyphs for dingbat font releases. These glyphs map to the upper (26) and lowercase (26) alphabet keys, and the numeral keys (10) as follows:
If you have a specific mapping/sequence in mind, it is essential to make that clear when submitting your artwork or later in consultation with your font designer. Otherwise, the glyphs will be randomly assigned to the keys on the keyboard. You can also include additional elements as alternate glyphs for existing characters in your font or map them to entirely different characters in your font.
Though dingbats are not letters, when considering some of the formal qualities that favor good dingbats, it helps to think of them that way:
But unlike letters:
Yet, consider the power of mapping and usage patterns:
A collective typeface is ArtistFont’s concept for a font designed collaboratively with a group of artists with the foundry acting as facilitator, commissioner, and creative and technology partner.
The turnaround time for font creation takes about 5 business days. Release to the ArtistFont store depends on the type of release and whether it is part of a special collective collection release set. Standard releases are scheduled on a monthly basis for all fonts created the prior month.
Artists always retain the copyright to the original artwork they submit to ArtistFont to create a font. The fonts created with the artwork in collaboration with ArtistFont fall under collective copyright between the artist and the foundry. Collective fonts involving glyphs made with the artwork of multiple artists also fall under collective copyright. The foundry retains the exclusive right to build and distribute fonts with the submitted artworks.
As owners of the copyright of their original arts, artists can create derivative works with their own fonts as long as the derived works are not fonts themselves.
ArtistFont is committed to fostering collaboration and community with creatives of diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. The following actions will constitute grounds for blocking access to our service, removal of posted materials, and non-fulfillment of your font order (or any part of your order):
Yes, private font releases for limited editions or 1-of-1s are possible. Please contact us to discuss your font idea at firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Deadline July 31, 2022 at Midnight
Dimitry Saïd Chamy
“The experimental typography which proliferated in the early decades of the twentieth century as an integral and highly visible aspect of modern art and literary movements was as much a theoretical practice as were the manifestos, treatises, and critical texts it was often used to produce.”
“Typographical design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts.”
“That’s what I’m interested in: the space in between, the moment of imagining what is possible and yet not knowing what that is.”
“The empty spaces are the most important aspect of a typeface.”
“Display type is a visual voice. Without reading, it imparts its messages.”
“Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
“The art world has become an instrument of the rich and powerful. We are fighting to change that.”
“My world is black and white. I Like straight lines and curves, I am happy in that world.”
“Your choice of typeface is as important as what you do with it.”
“Graphic Design will save the world right after rock and roll does.”
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
“There are bad types and good types, and the whole science and art of typography begins after the first category has been set aside.”
“I’m very much a word person, so that’s why typography for me is the obvious extension. It just makes my words visible.”
“My biggest challenge as a designer is to give voice to a never-ending struggle, to serve the cause by creating images that may push mentalities a few inches forward. I would love to create empowering, collective symbols for women to share and use as a weapon. I am happy to see that more and more young women create their own signs and narrative.”
“Of all the achievements of the human mind, the birth of the alphabet is the most momentous.”
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.”
“Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.”
“Typography is what language looks like.”
“Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and imagination, and guided by rules and readability.”
“The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that’s also what the stereotype does.”
“Lettering is like clay. Type is like lego.”
“Art is the one place we all turn to for solace.”
“Type is what meaning looks like.”
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
“Good typography, first, makes words readable. At its best, it does something more: it helps express the animating spirit of the ideas behind the words.”
“Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. ... Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.”
“Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society.”
“The first time I drew type, I felt like I was at the bottom of Mount Everest.”
“Geometry can produce legible letters, but art alone makes them beautiful. Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character transcending mere measurement.”
“Words have meaning. Type has spirit. The combination is spectacular.”
“Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain coloring.”
“The epiphany for me was that I wasn’t a writer, and I had to do something with these texts. I put them in the streets as posters.”
“Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form.”
“That feeling when you don’t understand what you’re feeling.”
“I discovered that I never really used Helvetica but I like to look at it. I like the VW beetle, too, although I’ve never driven one.”
“We have been in a moment of massive change. Of course, it’s going to have a huge effect on design, although it’s not clear precisely what kind of effect it’s going to have. I think clean design is really past for now. Forget it. Right now, we’re looking how to make complexity and differences visible and desirable. I don’t mind chaos.”
“Helvetica is good for typographers who do not know what to say.”
“The familiar shapes of the alphabet, taken down to their elemental form and stripped of their meaning, have always been intriguing to me. Kind of like arranging the DNA of language and looking at it purely as shape and form.”
“Every page should explode, either because of its staggering absurdity, the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography.”
“The most popular typefaces are the easiest to read; their popularity has made them disappear from conscious cognition. It becomes impossible to tell if they are easy to read because they are commonly used, or if they are commonly used because they are easy to read.”
“Inspiration is cross-pollinating.”
“One does not master skills. Skills allow one to interpret the world. There is an energy that flows throughout life, and skills help you understand that energy. So, I have no desire to master anything. I wish to experience it with wonder.”
“I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren’t.”
“I am trying to make art that relates to the deepest and most mythic concerns of human kind and I believe that, at this moment of history, feminism is humanism.”
“Comic Sans—If you love it, you don’t know much about typography. If you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography either.”
“You learn for yourself not for others, not to show off, not to put the other one down. Learning is your secret, it is all you have, it is the only thing you can call your own. nobody can take it away…”
“Whatever I pull out is what we’re gonna make, and build with. And that acceptance of material, and how we find ways of connecting and building based on circumstance, and how we exist in the world. You know, we could be having a lovely day, but then in a second there could be a mass shooting.”
“Type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters.”
“The letters of the alphabet, the character of a typeface, are building blocks. Besides being symbols to construct a written language, they can be used to compose any visual impression imaginable.”
“Every time I have had a problem, I have confronted it with the ax of art.”
“The games I’m playing have much more to do with using the language of power and the vocabulary of power to construct new sentences. It's about pointing to empire and control and domination and misogyny and all those social ills in the work, but it's not necessarily taking a position. Oftentimes, it's actually embodying it.”
“I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.”
“Typography should be seen as a living entity; each element integrally related, in harmony with the whole, and essential to the execution of an idea.”
We are deeply grateful for the enthusiastic appreciation, work, and support of the artists, businesses, and organizations helping to launch ArtistFont successfully. If you would like to join them please email Dimitry at email@example.com
We are building a digital foundry for artists interested in creating font-based works. Sign-up to get updates on our debut release, ArtistFont Miami 01 featuring dingbat fonts from 26+ artists from South Florida.