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Typeface Review

Dark Angel

Reviewed by Mark Simonson on March 11, 2014

A few years back, I received a t-shirt in the mail from Michael Doret. It was unexpected, but I realized it was meant as a “thank you” for some technical help I had given him with one of his fonts.

The print was a a classic Michael Doret design: a flaming heart, pierced by a sword-wielding dragon, flanked by banners at the top and bottom with the words “CREATIVE PASSION” lettered in a distinctive blackletter style. The shirt immediately became my favorite.

I was particularly struck by the lettering style he used. I’d never seen anything like it. I remember thinking it would make a great font, but couldn’t quite imagine what the rest would look like. When Michael released Dark Angel last year, I recog­nized it as soon as I saw it. It was the same blackletter style, but way beyond the tiny bit of lettering on my shirt.

It’s the most imaginative blackletter design I’ve seen in a long time. While there’s kind of a ’30s or ’40s feel to it, it’s not derivative: nobody else could have created this but Michael Doret. I especially like the way the letters are bolder at the top and thinner at the bottom, giving it the appearance of being lit from below, like a scary picture of Dracula or Frankenstein’s monster. It has lots of features, like small caps, an “underlight” effect, contextual alternates for a more custom look, swash caps, swash lowercase, and more.

Michael has given us another gem from his treasure chest of creative lettering.

Mark Simonson of Saint Paul, Minnesota is a former art director and graphic designer who now makes his living designing typefacesseveral of which are Typographica selections.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

Set in Bureau Grot by Font Bureau, Nocturno Display by Nikola Djurek, Fern (unreleased) by David Jonathan Ross, and JAF Bernini Sans by Tim Ahrens.

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