A typeface based on designs lost (and found) in the Thames

Date
10 June 2015
Reading Time
2 minute read

A few months ago we heard a lot of chatter about Doves Type, a face that was thrown into the Thames in the early 19th Century and only recovered in 2014 thanks to a painstaking project that involved a lot of diving and even more patience. Eventually, in work led by Robert Green, the face was pieced back together, recreating the designs created by the two partners of Hammersmith’s Doves Press, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker. A feud between the pair led to Thomas James systematically throwing the punches, matrices and metal type into the river.

Now, a digital facsimile of the Doves Type is in existence and available to use, and it’s led other designers to use it as inspiration for their own versions. One such version is Thames Capsule, created by Swiss studio Faure & Verona. Co-founder Raphaël Verona says: “Green’s Doves Type restoration is apparently based on the Doves Letterpress appearance once printed: rounded terminations and rounded junctions, among other details."

The typeface has its own microsite, showing it in use against variety of colours, and its design is one of understated confidence and a certain majesty. “We wanted to give this typeface a contemporary flavour, not only a romantic one, because we were convinced that its humanistic-based shapes could be merged together with contemporary details,” says Raphaël.

“We wanted to enhance the Art & Craft qualities of the original letterpress, to develop each letter specificities instead of standardise its shapes. I hope that the platform we created for the typeface illustrates enough our intentions to create an atmosphere around the font: to link together its history and its contemporary design aspects. More than a simple typeface, we wanted to sell its history.”

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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Faure & Verona: Thames Capsule

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About the Author

Emily Gosling

Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.

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