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] The logo of the metal band Lamb of God is also written in Papyrus. Several of Viper's albums also use Papyrus as the font on their covers. The video game Undertale features a character named Papyrus, whose speech is written in the font, alongside his brother, Sans (also named after a font, Comic Sans).

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]