Papyrus (typeface)

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

Papyrus is a widely available typeface designed by Chris Costello, a graphic designer, illustrator, and web designer. Created in 1982, it was hand-drawn over a period of six months by means of calligraphy pen and textured paper. Papyrus has a number of distinctive characteristics, including rough edges, irregular curves, and high horizontal strokes in the capitals.

History and overview[edit]

Costello created the font in 1982, when he was 23 years old and just out of college. He had been studying the Bible and came onto the idea of what a written font would have looked like in biblical times in the Middle East.[1] He hand-drew the font 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.[2] Costello released the font the following year alongside Letraset. 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".[3] Costello sold the rights for the font for $750, and as of 2017, states he still receives "very low" royalty payments despite its inclusion since 2000 on all personal computers using a Mac or Microsoft operating system.[1] In October 2017, Costello agreed that Papyrus had become overused.[4]

Variants[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Availability[edit]

Papyrus has been included in many Microsoft programs for Windows.[5] macOS includes Papyrus font as part of its basic installation (starting with version 10.3 Panther, released in 2003).[6]

In popular culture[edit]

The typeface is used for the title and subtitles that appear in James Cameron's 2009 movie Avatar.[7] In 2017, the use of Papyrus in Avatar was highlighted in a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Ryan Gosling.[8][1]

Papyrus is the subject of a comic on xkcd[9].

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Carissimo, Justin (October 1, 2017). "Papyrus font creator reacts to viral "Avatar" skit from "Saturday Night Live"". CBS News. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ Costello, Chris (2003). "2003 Interview". Chris Costello official site. Retrieved 2015-12-05. I soon came up with what vernacular writing may have looked like if the English language existed 2000 years ago. 
  3. ^ "Type Gallery – Papyrus". Linotype. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  4. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/03/papyrus-creator-speaks-out-after-ryan-gosling-roasts-the-font-on-snl/
  5. ^ "Microsoft Typography: Papyrus – Version 1.11". Microsoft Corporation.
  6. ^ "Mac OS X 10.3: Fonts list". Apple Inc. Last updated 2008-07-24.
  7. ^ Simon Garfield (2010). Just My Type: A Book about Fonts. Profile Books. ISBN 1-84668-301-7. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Mark (October 1, 2017). "New Season of SNL Roars Back by Mocking Donald Trump Early". U.S. News & World Report. AP. 
  9. ^ http://www.xkcd.com/590/

External links[edit]