Papyrus (typeface)

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Papyrus Font.svg
Category Fantasy
Designer(s) Chris Costello
Foundry Letraset
Date created 1982
Date released 1983
Re-issuing foundries Linotype
Shown here Papyrus EF Alternatives

Papyrus is a widely available typeface designed by Chris Costello, a graphic designer, illustrator, and web designer.

History and overview[edit]

The font was created in 1982 and released the next year with Letraset. It was hand-drawn over a period of six months by means of calligraphy pen and textured paper. Costello described his goal as a font that would represent what English language texts would have looked like if written on papyrus 2000 years ago.[1] Papyrus has a number of distinctive characteristics, including rough edges, irregular curves, and high horizontal strokes in the capitals. ITC, the current owner of the typeface, describes it as an "unusual roman typeface [that] effectively merges the elegance of a traditional roman letterform with the hand-crafted look of highly skilled calligraphy."[2]


An alternative font published by Elsner+Flake is Papyrus EF Alternatives (or Papyrus EF Regular), providing a slight variation to Costello's font. Its differences include a shorter, sharper capital P, a capital E with a top bar longer than the middle bar, and a swash A.


Papyrus is often used where an antique look is desired, such as a coffee shop[3] or church flyer.[4] One notable mainstream use of the typeface is the subtitles that appear in James Cameron's 2009 movie Avatar.[5]

As has been the case with Comic Sans, Papyrus is often criticized by graphic designers, including Chris Costello himself, for being overused.[4]


Papyrus has been included in many Microsoft programs for Windows.[6] Mac OS X includes Papyrus font as part of its basic installation (starting with version 10.3 Panther, released in 2003).[7]


  1. ^ Chris Costello Website
  2. ^ Type Gallery - Papyrus
  3. ^ Sightings from Australia!". Papyrus Watch. 2009-12-17.
  4. ^ a b Estvold, Travis (2008-06-25). "F is for Font". Boise Weekly. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  5. ^ Simon Garfield (2010). Just My Type: A Book about Fonts. Profile Books. ISBN 1-84668-301-7. 
  6. ^ "Microsoft Typography: Papyrus – Version 1.11". Microsoft Corporation.
  7. ^ "Mac OS X 10.3: Fonts list". Apple Inc. Last updated 2008-07-24.

External links[edit]