TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sat Jun 22 21:36:30 EDT 2024






Solotype [Dan X. Solo]

Dover Press sold Oakland's Dan X. Solo's digitizations. Dan Solo (b. 1928, d. 2012) has collected over 13,000 sets of metal fonts, starting when he was 9 years old and growing up in Oakland, CA. Finally, in 2002, he stopped doing that and began converting all of his fonts to computer type. Solotype, his company, was established in Alameda, CA. He printed 30 books on fonts (with Dover), including The Solotype catalog of 4,147 display typefaces, and created hundreds of fonts. In 2007, Dan Solo retired from the font business. He died in 2012.

Robert Trogman writes: I know Dan X. Solo personally. He ran a typographic studio in Berkeley for over 30 years. He had a large collection of film fonts, including some of my own. He created thousands of fonts and is now retired and is an avocational prestigitator. Copyrights have run out on most of his fonts. He also protected himself by creating pseudonyms on the questionable font names. Stuart Sandler confirms that many of the fonts in Solo's Dover books are in fact from the Filmotype collection, which Stuart is digitizing right now.

Gene Gable writes: Dan Solo of Solotype in Berkeley was experimenting with photo type as early as 1945 and started doing optical special effects in the early '60s. And a number of the larger display-type shops developed their own techniques. But in terms of opening up new markets for display type (and giving designers more control over type setting), Visual Graphics and Letraset lead the way. These companies were proud of, and promoted, the fact that that their products could be used by non-typesetters with little training.

Bio. He wrote about himself: Dan X. Solo The Solotype Archive was begun in 1942 when I was 14. I was a kid printer for several years before that. At 16, after a quick three months of training, I dropped out of school and went to work full time as a radio actor and announcer in San Francisco. (Easy to get jobs in those days, due to the war-induced manpower shortage.) In 1949 and 1950, I created a magic show which played West Coast theatres with some success. After that, back to broadcasting. By 1962, I was completely burned out on radio, so I decided to see if I could make a living with my collection of antique types, which numbered about a thousand fonts at that time. In 1962, I sent out 4,000 catalogs showing the type to ad agencies all over the U.S. The timing was perfect (no thanks to me) because there was developing at that time a renewed interest in the old types. Business took off immediately. The Solotype collection was one of four commercial collections at the time, but I seemed to have been more aggressive in marketing than the other chaps. (Well, Morgan Press certainly knew how to market.) Two years into the business, I began to collect alphabets on paper for conversion to photo lettering, which was just becoming mainstream in the type business. We closed the shop for a month every year and went on a type hunt, mostly in Europe where there didn't seem to be much competition among collectors. Other typographers couldn't understand how we could do this, but I believe it made people appreciate the resource we offered even more. Over the years, the collection became quite large. When I closed Solotype a couple of years ago, I got rid of about half the archive (because the fonts were dull, or already digitized, or for a variety of other reasons) leaving me with about 6,000 fonts on paper or film. In 1974, I began to supply Dover Publications with mechanicals for books of 100 alphabets on a particular theme. I did 30 of these books over the years, and 30 more of printers' ornaments, borders, and so forth. Sometime in the 1990s, Dover asked me to digitize books of 24 fonts each, to be sold with a disk in the back. I did 12 of these. The Dover relationship came to an end when Hayward Cirker, the owner and my special friend, died and the company was sold to another publisher. Dover felt that they had covered the type field thoroughly. Now in my old age, my wife and I have a mindreading act that is great fun and good for the ego. Even so, when not traveling, I digitize type for relaxation and enjoyment, but have made no effort to sell it. Until now.

Solo's wood type/Western/ headline/ Victorian collection includes Acantha, Bindweed, Dime Museum (2004, a French Clarendon revived by ATF in 1933 under the name P.T. Barnum), Egyptian Oldstyle, Excelsis, Extravaganza, Rigney, Assay, Baraboo Banner, Beijing, Brevet (after a Victorian typeface from 1887 by Ernst Lauschke), Brussels, Cathedral, Cleopatra, Cognac, Crossroads, Dainty Lady, Dangerfield, Diablo, Dutch Treat, Grecian, Lord Mayor, Malibu, Minnesota, Moulin Rouge, Penny Arcade (1992, a Victorian face after an 1890 original called Mural by Boston Type Foundry), Trixie, Valerie, Valjean, and Zorro. Alaska is based on an 1890 design of Marder, Luse and co. Arcade imitates an 1888 design of Barnhart Brothers&Spindler. Bamboo (oriental simulation face) is based on a 1889 creation of Barnhart Brothers&Spindler. Behrens Antiqua and Behrens schrift are revival of early 20th century typefaces by Peter Behrens. Eccentric is a digitization of a 1898 arts and crafts typeface by Kingsley/ATF. Hansard is a revival of a display type published in 1887 by MacKellar, Smiths,&Jordan. Pekin is a digitization of a face, first designed by Ernst Lauschke in 1888 and issued by Barnhart Bros.&Spindler foundry in Chicago under the name Dormer, and revived by them in 1923 under the name Pekin. Charles Henry Beeler made a condensed sans serif issued by Mackellar, Smiths&Jordan foundry in 1887: it was digitally revived as Roundhead. Monument is a revival of a 1893 typeface by the Boston Type Foundry, but was also cast at the Central Type Foundry. Vienna Light is a delicate early 1900s type originally created by the German foundry of Schelter&Gieseke. Other designs: Bareback, Campaign (ca. 1970), Cigar Label (1997), Estienne, Farringdon (a western face), Goodfellow (digitization of wood type from 1895 found at Hamilton and probably due to W.H. Page), Harlem Text (blackletter), Houdini (ca. 1992), Memorial, Quadrille 2 (a simplified Tuscan face), Sparticus, Vanities (a Victorian type), Whirligig.

In 2005, MyFonts added Seminary (after a Victorian font from 1885 by Bruce Type Foundry), Margie (formal script based on Marggraff Bold Script by the Dresden foundry vormalig Brüder Butter, 1920s), Fancy Dan, Bamberg (2005, after a condensed wood type from ca. 1850), Fat Face No. 20, French Ionic (quite ugly--based on an 1870 Clarendon derivative by the Cincinnati Type Foundry), Hearst Italic (based on a 1904 typeface by Carl Schraubstadter of the Inland Type Foundry), Hearst Roman (based on a typeface from the Inland Type Foundry allegedly stolen from a hand lettering job done by Goudy, acccording to Goudy himself), Tally Text (early photolettering type of the comic book style), Welcome 1 (based on Van Loey-Nouri's art nouveau typeface from 1900). A list of some digitized fonts:

  • Art Deco: Advertisers Gothic Light, Alex, Beverly Hills, Boul Mich, Capone Light, Chic (after Morris Fuller Benton's Chic, 1927), Clyde, Eagle Bold, Eagle Narrow, Eden Bold, Eden Light, French Flash, Gallia, Graybar Book, Grock, Matra, Modernique (art deco), Parasol, Parisian, Phoenix American, Plaza Suite, Publicity Gothic, Salut, Stymie Obelisk, Zeppelin.
  • Victorian: Anglo, Arboret, Campanile, Chorus Girl, Fancy Celtic, Ferdinand, Floral Latin, Glorietta, Grant Antique, Gutenberg, Hogarth, Jagged, Katherine Bold, Lafayette, Meisteringer, Olympian, Phidian, Ringlet (1998, a Victorian typeface after an 1882 original by Hermann Ihlenburg), Romanesque, Rubens, Stereopticon, Templar, Wedlock, Zinco.
  • Script/Cursive: Amapola, Artists Script, Carpenters Script, Certificate Script, Commercial Script, Conway (an architectural script), Elegance, Engrossing Script, Figaro, Flare, Gloria Script, Hanover, Helvetica Cursive, Holly, Kunsteler Bold, Liberty, Manuscript, Orion Script, Pantagraph Script (+No2, +No3), Park Avenue, Romany Script, Trafton Script, Typo Upright, University Script, Virginia Antique.
  • Art Nouveau: Ambrosia, Argus, Artistik, Auriol, Baldur, Bocklin, Cabaret (2003, as in Murder She Wrote), Carmen, Childs, Edda Black, Excelsior, Francomia, Giraldon, Harrington, Isadora, Metropolitan, Murillo, Oceana, Odessa, Orbit Antique, Palmetto (2005; an art nouveau typeface based on a 1887 typeface called Palm from the A.D. Farmer Foundry), Siegfried, Skjald, Spartana, Titania.
  • Gothic/Medieval: Academy Text, American Uncial, Antique Black, Becker Bold, Bradley, Castlemar, Celebration Text Fancy, Church Text, Engravers Old English, Frederick Text, Freehand, Hingham Text, Initials-Bradley and Caxton, Kanzlei Light, Lautenbach, Lautenbach Fancy Caps, Libra, Morris Black, Nicholini Broadpen, Rhapsodie Swash Caps, Scottford Uncial, Solemnis, Washington Text, Wedding Text.
  • Celtic: Anglo Text, Camden Text, Chappel Text, Cimbrian, Colchester Black, Durer Gothic, Durwent, Fenwick, Genzsch Initials, Gloucester Initials, Gutenberg Gothic, Hansa Gothic, Harrowgate, Kaiser Gothic, Kings Cross, Konisburg, Malvern, Medici Text, Middlesex, Progressive Text, Tudor Text, Warwick, Westminster Gothic, Yonkers.
  • Special-Effects Display Fonts: Azteca Condensed, Buddha (oriental simulation face, after a Schelter&Giesecke type), Burst, Campaign (1970), Chinatown (oriental simulation), Cigar Label (1997-2002), Colonial Dame, Contract Banner (2004, a take on Mezzotint from 1880), Direction, Fillet, Filmstar (1999), Firebug, Headhunter, Hollywood Lights, Igloo Solid, Import, Lariat, Needlepoint, Old Glory, Protest, Rustic, Scimitar (Arabic simulation face), Scoreboard, Skyline, Starburst, Sundown Shadow, Tableau, Tonight, Xerxes.
  • Other: Acantha, Assay, Baraboo Banner, Beijing, Bindweed, Brevet (after a Victorian original by Ernst Laushke, 1887), Brussels (positioned inbetween Stephenson Blake's Flemish Expanded and Flemish Condensed), Cathedral, Cleopatra, Cognac, Crossroads, Dainty Lady, Dangerfield, Diablo, Dime Museum, Dutch Treat, Egyptian Oldstyle, Excelsis, Extravaganza, Grecian, Lord Mayor, Malibu, Minnesota, Moulin Rouge, Penny Arcade, Rigney, Trixie, Valerie, Zorro.

Images of selected typefaces: Agency Gothic, Alpha Midnight, Alpha Twilight, Anita Lightface (1977), Art Deco Display Alphabets, Ashley Crawford, Ashley Inline, Astur, Bamberg, Banco, Beans, Blackline, Bobo Bold, Braggadocio, Broadway Engraved, Busorama Bold, Busorama Light, Bust, Charger, Checkmate, Colonel Hoople, Corral, Dudley P Narrow, Dynamo, Earth (a futuristic / prismatic typeface revived by nick Curtis in 2015 as Terranova NF), Eclipse, Empire, Ewie, Fat Cat, Fatso, Festival, Futura Black, Futura Inline, Gillies Gothic Bold, Greeting Monotone, Grooviest Gothic, Hess Neobold, Hotline, Huxley Vertical, Inkwell Black, Joanna Solotype, Joyce Black, Koloss, Lampoon, Mania, Mania Contour A, Mania Contour B, Margit, Mindy Highlight, Modernistic, Monograms Stencil, Mossman, Neon, Neuland (+Inline), Phosphor, Piccadilly, Pickfair, Polly, Prismania P, Quote, Rhythm Bold, Shady Deal, Sheet Steel, Sinaloa.

The Solotype Catalog is a file with information on Dan Solo's typefaces, annotated with remarks about name equivalences and digitizations. The original file was due to Thibaudeau, but typophiles on alt.binaries.fonts have added to it in 2010. PDF version. Excel version. Text version. See also here.

View Dan Solo's typefaces. Another page on Solotype. Dan Solo's typefaces listed in decreasing order of popularity. View Dan Solo's typefaces. View Dan Solo's typefaces.

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Commercial fonts (small outfits) ⦿ Calligraphic typefaces ⦿ Horror fonts ⦿ Celtic/Gaelic fonts ⦿ Blackletter fonts ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Books on type design ⦿ Ornamental caps typefaces ⦿ Oriental simulation fonts ⦿ Arabic simulation typefaces ⦿ Wood Type ⦿ Western fonts ⦿ Ransom note fonts ⦿ Architectural lettering/typefaces ⦿ Photo and film type era ⦿ Art Nouveau typefaces ⦿ Art deco typefaces ⦿ Victorian typefaces ⦿ Dan X. Solo ⦿ Neon tube or faux neon typefaces ⦿ Uncial typefaces ⦿ Prismatic typefaces ⦿ Ronde (Rondo, Rundschrift): Upright scripts ⦿ Caxton ⦿ Comic/cartoon fonts ⦿ MyFonts Pages ⦿ Clarendon ⦿ Arts and Crafts Movement ⦿ Nick Curtis ⦿ Aztec typefaces ⦿ Circus fonts ⦿

file name: Solotype Logo

file name: Dan Solo Herald Square

file name: Dan Solo Advertisers Gothic Light

file name: Dan Solo Agency Gothic

file name: Dan Solo Alex

file name: Dan Solo Alpha Midnight

file name: Dan Solo Alpha Twilight

file name: Dan X Solo Anita Lightface 1977b

file name: Dan Solo Art Deco Display Alphabets

file name: Dan Solo Ashley Crawford

file name: Dan Solo Ashley Inline

file name: Dan Solo Astur

file name: Dan X Solo Bamberg

file name: Dan X Solo Bamberg 2005

file name: Dan X Solo Bamberg 2005b

file name: Dan Solo Banco

file name: Bitstream P T Barnum

file name: Bitstream P T Barnum

file name: Dan Solo Beans

file name: Dan X Solo Behrens Schrift after Peter Behrens 1902

file name: Dan X Solo Behrens Antiqua after Peter Behrens 1902

file name: Dan Solo Beverly Hills

file name: Dan Solo Blackline

file name: Dan Solo Bobo Bold

file name: Dan Solo Boul Mich

file name: Dan Solo Bradley Ultra Modern Initials

file name: Dan Solo Braggadocio

file name: Dan Solo Broadway Engraved

file name: Dan Solo Brussels after Stephenson Blake Flemish

file name: Dan X Solo Buddha

file name: Dan Solo Busorama Bold

file name: Dan Solo Busorama Light

file name: Dan Solo Bust

file name: Dan Solo Capone Light

file name: Dan Solo Charger

file name: Dan Solo Checkmate

file name: Dan Solo Chic

file name: Dan X Solo Cigar Label 2002

file name: Dan Solo Clyde

file name: Dan Solo Colonel Hoople

file name: Dan Solo Corral

file name: Dan X Solo Dime Museum 2004

file name: Dan Solo Dudley P Narrow

file name: Dan Solo Dynamo

file name: Dan Solo Eagle Narrow

file name: Dan Solo Earth

file name: Nick Curtis Terranova N F 2015 based on Dan X Solo Earth

file name: Nick Curtis Terranova N F 2015 based on Dan X Solo Earth

file name: Dan X Solo Eccentric 2004 based on A T F 1898

file name: Dan X Solo Eccentric 2004 based on Hamilton 1895

file name: Dan Solo Eclipse

file name: Dan Solo Empire

file name: Dan Solo Ewie

file name: Dan Solo Fat Cat

file name: Dan Solo Fatso

file name: Dan Solo Festival

file name: Dan Solo French Flash

file name: Dan Solo Futura Black

file name: Dan Solo Futura Inline

file name: Dan Solo Gallia

file name: Dan Solo Gillies Gothic Bold

file name: Dan Solo Greeting Monotone

file name: Dan Solo Grooviest Gothic

file name: Helvetica Cursive

file name: Helvetica Cursive

file name: Dan Solo Hess Neobold

file name: Dan Solo Hotline

file name: Dan Solo Huxley Vertical

file name: Dan Solo Inkwell Black

file name: Dan Solo Joanna Solotype

file name: Dan Solo Joyce Black

file name: Dan Solo Koloss

file name: Dan Solo Lampoon

file name: Dan Solo Mania

file name: Dan Solo Mania Contour A

file name: Dan Solo Mania Contour B

file name: Dan Solo Margit

file name: Dan X Solo Memorial 2004 after Fredrick Ullmer

file name: Dan Solo Mindy Highlight

file name: Dan Solo Modernique

file name: Dan Solo Modernistic

file name: Dan Solo Monogram Stencil

file name: Dan Solo Mossman

file name: Dan Solo Neon

file name: Dan Solo Neuland Neuland Inline

file name: Dan Solo Orbit

file name: Dan X Solo Palmetto 2005 after A D Farmer Palm 1887

file name: Pantagraph Script

file name: Pantagraph Script No2

file name: Pantagraph Script No3

file name: Dan Solo Parasol

file name: Dan Solo Parisian

file name: Dan X Solo Pekin after Ernst Lauschke 1888

file name: Dan X Solo Penny Arcade 1992 after Boston Type Foundry Mural 1890

file name: Dan Solo Phenix American

file name: Dan Solo Phosphor

file name: Dan Solo Piccadilly

file name: Dan Solo Pickfair

file name: Dan Solo Plaza Suite

file name: Dan Solo Polly

file name: Dan Solo Prismania P

file name: Dan Solo Publicity Gothic

file name: Dan Solo Quote

file name: Dan Solo Rhythm Bold

file name: Dan X Solo Ringlet 1998 after Hermann Ihlenburg 1882

file name: Dan X Solo Ringlet 1998 after Hermann Ihlenburg 1882b

file name: Dan Solo Salut

file name: Dan X Solo Seminary 2005 after Bruce Type Foundry 1885

file name: Dan Solo Shady Deal

file name: Dan Solo Sheet Steel

file name: Dan Solo Sinaloa

file name: Dan Solo Stymie Obelisk Medium Condensed

file name: Dan X Solo Valjean after Tubbs Co 1900s

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html