A typeface to harmonize with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hello everyone,

I'm designing a two-pocket folder for a Hotel whose architecture is based on the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. I'm looking for a typeface that can appropriately harmonize or allude to his work and organic architecture in general.

For better or worse, this design is to highlight the wedding and reception services that the hotel (and adjacent mansion) facilitate. So a straight up typeface emblematic of Wright's work may or may not fit the bill. That said,

I'm curious of:
• if anything comes to mind immediately, and
• if you can think of a script typeface that still embodies Wright.

That last one is a tall order but maybe there's hope.

Thanks all!

Nick Shinn's picture

You could always Google "Frank Lloyd Wright font".

James Deux's picture

I have Nick, but I trust a community of type professionals over Google's visible-because-people-clicked-it methodology.

Nick Shinn's picture

James, the first Google link that comes up is to MyFonts, where you can see that P22 and Monotype both publish David Siegel's Eaglefeather, a script typeface based on Wright's lettering. Isn't that exactly what you were looking for, and surely not a "tall order"?

oldnick's picture

Wright's work was very rectilinear: as a result, scripts probably wouldn't work...

dberlow's picture

My suggestion is to track down a publication he worked on call "The House Beautiful", and see where that leads you.


flwfan's picture

How about looking at NEUTRA font. He worked with Wright in the 20s and it has the wright (haha) feel.

William Berkson's picture

P22 has four different Frank Lloyd Wright fonts, as you can see here under FLLW: http://www.p22.com/products/sitemap.html

I'm kind of doubtful that that lower case in Eaglefeather is Frank Lloyd Wright's. If you do all caps it looks more like architect writing...

paul d hunt's picture

I still can't wait to see FLLW Midway put to good use. I digitized it while at P22 referencing blueprints of FLW's Midway gardens. The full set includes two fonts that can be used interchangeably, plus there are all sorts of art motifs that can be used in combination as well:


William Berkson's picture

That one's really nice, Paul. Full of flavor, and you captured it in the digital. It speaks so strongly of Wright and early 20th century American design.

dberlow's picture

Good grief, but wonderful extras!

What if instead, one looked for the kind of font Wright might use... I meant.
So if you look at something he designed for print,

(lots of nice extras too)

And then drew from there.

Sorry for our phone users(?)


oldnick's picture

The sample very closely matches the typeface Salisbury from the R. H. Stevens & Co. Ltd. foundry of London, at least according to Printing Types of the World. The closest "modern-day" equivalent would be Bookman Oldstyle...


Bert Vanderveen's picture

The problem with architects is that they think they know all about type, but just don’t… Pages and pages in all caps — I rest my case.

dberlow's picture

ON>...closely matches the typeface Salisbury from the R. H. Stevens & Co. Ltd.

But it exactly matches something else from 1896 or so, made in the US.

BV> :) this was before all caps turned into shouting, or FLW was a big-name architect.


kentlew's picture

Bert — To be fair, we can’t be sure whether the type for The House Beautiful was spec’ed by FLW or by his partner in this venture, William Herman Winslow, who owned the private press. FLW designed the page schemes and ornamentation, obviously. But he may not have been directly involved in the composition of the text. And the all-caps was not out of keeping with the small, private, vanity press style of the day (ca. 1896–7).

Nick — I don’t know that we [I did some of the research on this for DB, including those photos] ever positively nailed the type. Without any lowercase, it’s a little tricky. But my conclusion was either Custer from Western Type Foundry (out of Chicago, near to where this was printed) or Cushing No. 2 from ATF (which also had a Chicago office).

MacGrew states that Custer was a copy of Cushing No. 2 (not to be confused with Cushing Oldstyle or Cushing Antique). Both were precursors to some of the later Bookman series.

oldnick's picture

my conclusion was either Custer from Western Type Foundry (out of Chicago, near to where this was printed) or Cushing No. 2 from ATF (which also had a Chicago office)

My 1912 ATF specimen catalog shows Cushing No. 2--at least in cuts smaller than 18 pt.--to be quite similar to Salisbury and the samples provided; however, the W in Cushing doesn't quite match the sample. I haven't unpacked my BB&S (successor to Western Type Foundry) specimen books yet, so I can't check Custer...

William Berkson's picture

I assume this is primarily a matter of display, in which case being more "typographic" is not necessarily the thing.

If you want it too look like Wright's lettering on architectural drawings, then I suppose all caps of Eagle Feather will work.

If you want hand writing, then the eccentric and period Midway may work in giving it a unique flavor.

The low contrast all caps may be authentic, but they don't say "Frank Lloyd Wright" to me.

Incidentally, I don't think Wright's decoration and writing were his strong suit in any case. In general it's his awesome interior spaces. For decoration, I much prefer his teacher, Louis Sullivan.

Nick Shinn's picture

Pauline is a swashed script with a somewhat structured and architectural quality (round nib), that might bridge the gap.

dberlow's picture

Bill> In general it's his awesome interior spaces. For decoration, I much prefer his teacher, Louis Sullivan.

I've slept in both, (it's a Wisconsin thing to do), and I can tell you that the teacher was, as you say, into awesome interior space, while the student was more concerned about how the awesome interior spaces related to the awesome exterior spaces. I think that marks their major difference though I'm hardly an architectural critic.


James Deux's picture

Hey all just wanted to give a big thank you for all these suggestions.


Was The House Beautiful written by Lloyd? I seemed to have found a copy at my library but in the database, Lloyd was not marked as the author.

kentlew's picture

No, it was written by William C. Gannet. And I think it was a previously published work; there are probably other editions. This Auvergne Press edition was just a small private press venture, an exercise in one vision for Arts & Crafts–style harmony between content and container.

James Deux's picture

Thank you kent! I'm picking the book up today.

kentlew's picture

If your library has a copy of the FLW-designed Auvergne edition, I’m going to bet it’s a facsimile, since there were only 90 copies printed and only a dozen whose whereabouts are known (and I don’t think Yale has one — that’s where you are, right?).

There’s a 1963 facsimile that’s supposed to be quite good. And a 1996 one that’s supposedly fair. Probably plenty good enough for your purposes.

Make sure that your library’s copy is not the original James H. West Co. edition (not designed by FLW). You’ll be disappointed.

James Deux's picture

Haha kent it tickles me pink that you think I have any affiliation with Yale. But alas, New Haven is just my hometown.

Ideally, though, having access to their library would be nice at this point. The copy at my current college's library is not Lloyd's House Beautiful—it's a book of the same name revolving around a famous English novelist (Wilder I think? I searched for it awhile ago.)

I'm going to see what the Interlibrary Loan can produce. The librarians usually jump on opportunities to grab something unique so we'll see how it goes. I will take your notes into consideration, thank you.

kentlew's picture

Hmm. Sorry, must’ve gotten confused. There’s someone around here who is (was?) at Yale. I saw the New Haven and just jumped to a conclusion.

Here’s a web page with information about various editions of FLW’s House Beautiful.

No. 39 on that list, in the Chapin Library collection, is the one from which DB’s image, above, was taken.

Good luck in your search.

hseacat@hotmail.com's picture

There are 4 FLLW fonts, Terracotta, Exhibition, Midway, and Eagle Feather. Christina Torre (P22) created P22 FLLW Exhibition and P22 FLLW Terracotta in 2000, based on alphabets by Frank Lloyd Wright published in 1931.

Syndicate content Syndicate content