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"Greetings from..." old postcard designs

Greetings everyone…

I hope this is the right forum to be posting this on. I dont have a particular font that needs identification, but thought I would pick some of your brains to lead me down the right patch.

If this is in the wrong forum, I apologise, and will repost to the appropriate forum.

I am doing research for a (student) project where I would like to riff off some old postcard design. I have attached a few examples of what I feel to be the typographic direction I would like to go in.

I am aware that the main typefaces used here were most likely hand drawn or photo-type, but was wondering if anyone could reccommend any fonts with similar proportions or forms.

I also wouldnt be surprised if there were a few websites offering galleries, or perhaps hi-res scans of some of these designs… does anyone know of anything in this vein?

In terms of acheiving the dimension of the text. I was wondering if any of you had suggestions or a particular method that you use. I have been using KPT Vector tools in Illustrator to achieve the dimension, and then using Pshop to get the curvature, but have not been very pleased with the results.

My final question which is more type id related, is also in relation to the postcards. In attempting to recreate this style, i am seeking some distressed typefaces that still maintain some semblance of typographic dignity… any foundries come to mind? Distressed i mean in the terms of looking like the ink has bled, or just general wear. Has a distressed version of Futura or similar fonts used during that era been released?

Perhaps some of you could share information on technique? I think it might have been here, there was a thread that linked to a silkscreen site that contained graphics to lay over text in illustrator to acheive this effect. Are there any other places on the net to find these types of graphics?

Thank you in advance for anyone who takes the time to read and respond to my post.

Handsome Dan

postcard one...
postcard two
postcard three
...cant forget this one...


Anyone around? Im just wondering why I havent received any feedback from my post. Thanks!

Just thought of another great source for student projects. I was reminded of it because you will be looking for backround imagery. Check out The Library of Congress website American Memories section. Amazing wildly high res (up to 10mb) scans of all kinds of things Americana: Historic Panoramas of any city in America, scans of presidential correspondence, scan of broadsheets and old advertising. Go under collection finder and loose yourself for a day or ten.


There goes my presidential handwriting font collection, also scheduled for release in 2010. Oh well, enjoy!


Awesome link, Randy. Thanks for sharing it :-)


You are my god… and just when i thought the web was dead.

Ill pay you thirty sheckles for your bookmarks.

Let me know.

…oh vicar.

No sheckles required. Just call me Benedict.

It’s a bummer that there isn’t more sharing of these kinds of hi-res resouces. It seems like people want to hang on to their secrets gems rather than get the word out. I’ve often dreamed of a destination for designers that had links to all kinds of incredible resources like those. Not just a fat list, but well done and organized by keywords etc. Does it exist already?

So, I wasted another 1/2 day looking a WPA Posters scanned at 28Megs over at American Memories. Only the government could “afford” that kind of bandwith. Amazing.

Glad it was useful.

i know house industries has a 3-d font, so if you wanted
to give it an updated vibe you could use that. as for
distressed futura, i don’t know, but i’ve seen plenty
of messed up bodonis. let me think a minute.


here’s a caslon

and this

and this

and magda, although it’s not very post-cardy

oh yeah

this guy did one called mildew, a messed up bodoni/typewriter
thing. it’s not on the site but you could ask him about it.

Mark van Bronkhurst’s Mildew is available through FontHaus.com: http://www.fonthaus.com/products/fonts/view.cfm?CFID=129982&CFTOKEN=&SKU=MB10129. But I don’t think it will help you with what you’re after.

The word “Denton” in your third example is set in Balloon. The script above it and the script in the first example may be set from type. But the rest is probably all hand-lettering.

If this is a learning project, then you might just consider turning off the computer and trying your hand at drawing letters like these. You’ll learn a lot that way. Try a library or used book store for some old books on hand-lettering — sign-painting or advertising.

— Kent.


Thanks for your note! I was actually considering a career in signwriting… here in Australia you can actually get a degree in it, and it takes awhile, and you have to apprentice and everything. The market is a bit flooded though, and the biggest problem is really my handwriting. I just cant draw a straight line!

Either way, could you possible reccommend a decent book to check out? I have some old speedball manuals, but i didnt find them clear.

As for font ID’s, my current infatuation is with www.vintagelabels.org. Can anyone ID the main sans-serif that they use on their page. Im particularly interested in the faces used on the oceanliner pages. The geometric sans’ towards the back are particularly appealing. They remind me a little of the new hoefler faces, but as a student now, its out of the financial picture. Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

the serif that says vintage travel is bodoni or something like it.
the sans to the left (image gallery home, new, hotels, airlines,
etc) is gill sans.

check this out from our friend mark simonson

>If this is a learning project, then you might just consider turning off
>the computer and trying your hand at drawing letters like these.


> [Delete this line and type your message here] >

I also wouldnt be surprised if there were a few websites offering galleries, or perhaps hi-res scans of some of these designs… does anyone know of anything in this vein?

Here is a gem of a site (actually better to use their java application) that has wildly high resolution old world maps and geography releted items all the way back to 1500’s. I’ve literally wasted days drooling over the type on these maps. For your purposes, there are old train schedules from the 1800 — 1900’s that have just that Peoria, Texas, and Washington type you’re looking for. Use these letters to draw your own. There isn’t really another way to do this well. Stretching and pulling letters using envelopes in photoshop, illustrator, or kpt will not get it done. You will spend more time looking for fonts and manipulating them, than you would drawing and learning. Plus there’s nothing more fun than drawing woodtype. (ok, I’m a type nerd)


Man, I can’t believe I just posted that beauty. It’s got all the fonts I’m planning to digitize for release in 2010 :-) Enjoy.