"Script" Font on Southwest Airlines Special Paint Schemes

Hi All,

I am back with another mystery (for me anyway). Thank you again to those that have helped me previously.

Southwest Airlines uses this Script font on the nose of several aircraft that carry special paint schemes.

I have tried "El Greco", "Florens" and "Calligraphy" by Cassidy & Greene. I do not think it is "Flourish" by Judith Suttcliffe from the Cassidy & Green site, but I can no longer download that font to test it either way. Here is an example:


Any help would be greatly appreciated.



I would start by looking at Part 4 of Mike Y's Script Font ID Guide. I looked through it quickly, and a few fonts by Victor deCastro seemed to look similar. Don't know if that helps.

- Lex

Looks like a brushdrawn version of Bible Script to me.


I thought I remembered seeing a rough-edged version of Bible, but I can't seem to find it anywhere online. You could get the same effect with Illustrator brushes of course.

Close but no cigar -- Bible Script looks decidedly different.

This is driving me nuts!

Frankly, I don't want to rule out anything, but there's a high probability this is custom calligraphy.

I can accept that. I took a class in hand lettering/calligraphy, and I could see it being custom (especially because it says "California"- it reminds me of a good wine label, and Cali's well known for their wineries).

I am assuming those are vinyl graphics. I have to admit I'm in the habit of assuming digital type is used whenever vinyl graphics are concerned, only because that's what I do for a living, and it's just so rare to see something truely custom-tailored like that.

Next time though, I'm going to get that cigar. :-)

Particularly the "f": that's serious calligraphy.

I do think this is custom calligraphy (probably a custom font). The work of Arthur Baker, or Philip Bouwsma, comes to mind. Bouwsma's 'Mantegna' shows a lot of similarities to my eye, but there are also similarities to his recent Torquemada, done for Canada Type.

- Mike Yanega

Honestly, I doubt that it is vinal. Most planes use special paints (even the ID letters and numbers are painted onto the plane). I would say that they probably have a signage person (unless it is a camera trick the two letter Is have different weights)

Some similar - but definitely not the same - suggestions could be:
Caxton Light Italic (distorted) shares some similarities with the sample.
Or Cataneo Light beaten into shape.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Have a cigar anyway!

I agree vinyl would probably not work on a jetliner. I don't pretend to know all the techniques used, but it seems like some method might be used to transfer an outline that was font-based on to the fuselage, so that the painter can reproduce logotype lettering as exactly as possible. Airlines like Alaska, or Horizon Air, that use script logo types, must have a way to make sure the lettering is duplicated exactly.

Do we have anyone here with experience about commercial airline lettering?

- Mike Yanega

Signpainters use vinyl friskets for spraypainting these logo's — and these friskets probably 'd be cut from digital files. Looking for a digital origin is not a bad idea in this case (and the lettering does look familiar…).

Thanks Bert. A 'vinyl frisket' was a new term for me, but Google searches quickly helped understand that it's like an adhesive stencil -- just lift out the letters cut from the vinyl where you want the paint, and then peel away the rest of the vinyl after the paint dries. Apparently a plotter-like gadget can be used to make the frisket rolls, and even cut the letters (?)

Now, back to the question of what font was used -- I'm still of the opinion that this was a custom font, or custom lettering used to make the frisket masters.

- Mike Yanega

Wow - awesome info.

Thanks for the input - no success - but it was a great thread. plus I got to learn the word "frisket". A great choice of name if I am ever in the market for a kitten :-) .

Happy Holidays to all.



The signmaker I use a lot to produce by designs still works this way when outdoor lettering has to withstand the elements for a long time. They cut the stencils on the same machine used for vinyl lettering, just reversed, and then — after applying the vinyl on the substrate — paint in the exposed areas, mostly using rollers... Multiple colour jobs are just repeat exercises (wait until paint is dried, apply different stencil/frisket, paint, etc.).

A very long time ago I used to illustrate with airbrush — using friskets all the time (cut by hand, of course). The (self adhesive) material itself was called Frisket (still have some Letraset branded lying around). Its guess its one of those cases where a brand name became generic (like aspirin).

BTW The oldfashioned way to work was by using stencils cut out of paper, weighing it down on the illustration board with whatever was at hand (eg pieces of leading from a print shop ; )). Soft edges could be created by gently pulling up the edges. Those were the days…

@Brian: Dont despair, I think someone will come with an answer to your question!

I too have been searching unsuccessfully for this font for a long time. I've been all over the place, with no luck. I do illustrations of aircraft for publication, and I've been wanting to do the Soutwhest specials for ages. I've even posted on Boeing 737 maintenance forums (figuring somebody from WN would read them), but no joy.

If ANYONE can come up with anything, I'd be eternally grateful. Even if I could get good tight closeup photos of the lettering, I could draw it up in Adobe Illustrator, and would be happy to share it with anyone who needs it.