Sterling Script


Sterling Script


terling Script is a retooling and massive expansion of a copperplate script called Youthline, originally issued in metal (48 pt) by the Stephenson Blake foundry in 1952. We first released a digital version in 2005 as an old tech seven-font set, then revisited it 16 years later for a redrawing and tech update, and combined all files into a single feature-rich OpenType font assembling more than 1350 glyphs.

The metal Youthline Script was somewhat of a technological workaround of a problematic genre in printing. For more than a century before its publication, copperplate scripts had been designed, engraved, cast and finished to provide continuous links between adjacent characters, which necessitated special moulds and a lot of kerning. Youthline’s design avoided kerning altogether by giving the impression of continuity without actual contacts. So in effect it was a connected script designed to be used without connectivity, which kind of defeated its genre’s purpose. That of course is easily remedied in digital environments, and it was one of the reasons we approached it for retooling in the first place.

This design’s shapes seem somewhat more prominent than traditional formal scripts, an impression resulting from stem strokes ending with a slight flaring, which itself is a manifestation of the aesthetic that was prevalent in mid-century decorative lettering art trends. One of our self-imposed mandates when we tackled it was trying to tame that “gothic” presence without changing the design in drastic ways. Which meant more hairlines. Which lead us down a rabbit hole of possibilities, and now you have a font with three sets of beginning forms, three sets of ending forms, lots of swashes, alternates etcetera.

For a quick exploration of the alternation possibilities in Sterling Script, please see this compact guide (PDF).

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From $50 USD