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 typefaces — several of which are Typographica selections.

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