FXBG is a new font inspired by handpainted commercial advertising. FXBG reflects the often-idiosyncratic letterforms created by sign painters, each of whom brought a unique hand to their craft. Use it with your favorite software and show off your own creativity.
Two complementary styles are available for download: Rounded and Brickface. Brickface mimics the mortar joints of signage painted directly onto masonry walls, for an authentic ghost-sign look.
The OpenType font includes capitals, numerals, punctuation, and alternate characters. Plus, it contains glyphs like @ and # for 21st century communication. The font can be used in just about any app, on both Mac and PCs.
Click here or select "Get the Font" in the menu to download. General installation info: Windows | Mac
I am Pete, an artist and designer who operates as Print Jazz. My mother worked as a signpainter and calligrapher, and is still my inspiration for all things lettering. The FXBG font project was born from my interest in the historic advertising signage in my neighborhood in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Most of it is gone, but there are still remnants on a few of the buildings. Once advertised as "America's Most Historic City," Fredericksburg has a long lineage of commercial and industrial enterprises. I located archival photos of some of these through the University of Mary Washington Department of Historic Preservation, the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center, and the Library of Congress, as well as taking photos of extant ghost signs still visible today.
Each sign I studied was a one-off, so each work carries the hand of the individual artist. There are quirks to their work, and by the nature of the process, each letter is slightly different from the others. Sometimes variations are caused by something as mundane as a drainpipe that crosses the wall. This adds up to a sign that has a personality, and this font endeavors to capture that spirit.
After studying the images, I created my own hybridized letters that incorporated elements from many of the signs. The FXBG font began with hand-drawn sketches of individual letters and distinctive details I wanted to replicate. From there the sketches were refined and the alphabet built out one letter at a time. I redrew those sketches in Adobe Illustrator and refined them further, smoothing and massaging where necessary, but being careful not to suck all of the life out of it. (The images below show the creation of the letter G.)
Once the 26 letters were done, I created alternate characters for M, Q, and W. That was to equip the digital designer with some of the same flexibility that signpainters had: using wider characters to fill space or narrower characters to squeeze. Plus, sometimes ya need a little pizzazz. Next came numerals and punctuation, followed by characters which we find indispensable today, but were absent in those historic Fredericksburg photos: @ and #.
The Brickface style replicates the wear patterns of signs painted directly on masonry. Paint would adhere well to the brick face, but would wash out from the mortar joints over time. This font variation allows designers to mimic the aged look of ghost signs. Care has been taken to align the mortar joints across every character for a more authentic look.
WHAT'S WITH THE NAME?
FXBG is the shortened form of Fredericksburg, VA. Check out the hashtag #loveFXBG to see how much the locals enjoy their city.