A present for Suzi
January 3, 2003

Les Escargots de Suzi

To Suzi

This font is a present to Suzi, a wonderful Californian fontaholic. Originally, Suzi wanted a font with tableware, but I decided instead to make something that goes with the tableware. I believe no one has ever made this into a font yet. I know that many (maybe most) Americans are disgusted by the French habit of eating snails, escargots. Suzi: promise me that you will at least try to eat them once (cooked by a French chef, preferably)! Anyway, the font is called Les Escargots de Suzi. Please enjoy it, make logos, borders and dinner invitations with it, give it to friends, and take it to parties. It's yours for the rest of your life.

Luc.

Background

Many of the spiral shells in nature follow a precise mathematical format, known under various names as the logarithmic spiral, the equiangular spiral, the Bernoulli spiral, and the Nautilus curve. It was discovered by Descartes and its properties were first analyzed by Jacques Bernoulli (1654-1705), who called it "spiralis mirabilis". Darren Tully has perhaps the best page on the mathematical background [see also here and especially here and in David Eppstein's Geometry Junkyard.]. He mentions this curious connection with running lizards: "Four lizards are on the corners of a square. Each one starts to chase its neighbor to the right. They all start at the same time and pursue at the same speed. The pattern that that is traced out by the lizards' paths is called an equiangular spiral."

The history of the logarithmic spiral is narrated by Ayhan Kursat Erbas". These spirals also occur in sunflowers, a connection we won't pursue here. However, I am planning on making other fonts from these spirals such as fonts that can be used for tilings.

A gorgeous anatomic history of snail shells by John N. Harris helped in the design of my font. The results of that paper confirm that in fact all snail shells or Nautilus shells follow the logarithmic curve, also called Spira Solaris. Among the spirals in nature, it is undoubtedly the most beautiful and striking.

The font

The font "Les Escargots de Suzi" was made on January 3, 2003 in the same manner in which all the fonts were made in the Sugaku series. These free fonts were created using PostScript programs only. No font editor was involved in the process. In the case of the snail shell spiral, I only had to design a bacic cell of the shell, and then reproduce it many times, always properly rotated and scaled down. For every turn, the same scale factor was applied. Some appropriate randomness in some parameters then permitted me to create slightly different shells.

 PFA file PFB file AFM file PFM file TFM file TTF file ZIP file