Category: Nick Garrett Traditional Sign writer (page 8 of 56)

Trajan dominates the world of type

How Trajan Rose From The Grave To Become The New Helvetica


When it comes to fonts, Adobe’s Trajan is one of the most seen, but not necessarily the most known. The imperial, Roman-inspired typeface is used for everything from movie posters, book jackets, signage, corporate branding, labeling, even to sell condoms and lingerie. In fact, a few years ago, type historian James Mosley called Trajan the new Helvetica. But Trajan’s success story is a strange one spanning almost 2,000 years and involving Roman landmarks, Catholic priests, and, of course, Adobe employees.

Lettering detail R Original Features Hornsey London NGS signwriters

Taken from the first-century letterforms originally etched on Rome’s famous Trajan Column, the letters didn’t actually become a typeface until 1989, when they were digitally scanned and recreated by typographer Carol Twomby. But the whole story goes back decades, which is recounted on the blog of typography blog, former Adobe Director of Type Sumner Stone—the man responsible for authorizing the type.

An accomplished typographer himself—he created the ITC Stone typeface for Adobe—Stone’s history with Trajan Column-inspired typefaces actually extended back to his time as an undergraduate at Reed College.

catfish NGS

Stone talks about how he was able to watch Edward Catich, a Catholic priest from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, chisel Trajan letters into the scaffolding of the oldest building on campus. Before Adobe made a font out of it, it was Catich who had done more than anybody to pluck Trajan from 1st Century obscurity: in addition to making their study his life work, Catich had created a full-sized cast of the letters directly from the Trajan monument itself.

Sumner Stone and Carol Twombycourtesy Adobe

Soon, Stone became fascinated with Trajan. “Experiencing the Trajan letters engendered a kind of epiphany in many young calligraphers,” Stone recalls. “For us, it was a pinnacle of complexity and subtlety. Nobody knew who had invented them. Evidently it was some anonymous craftsman in the first century. And nobody in the contemporary calligraphy world beyond Catich, a few of his students, and a scattering of others could write them with a level of quality that approached the originals.”

Killer brand ID and media for start-ups

Killer brand ID and media for start-ups

You have a new business that you know has originality and stands out from the pack.  How do you show that in your brand ID design?

It’s one of the biggest and most important challenges you face getting the feel right for your customer base.  Get it right and you’ll never look back… wrong it and you’ll never be where you wanted.  There’s no such thing as a no brainer when it’s your business on the line.

I design using a fixed strategy – no airy fairy bullshit… even if it’s selling smelly, fluffy, pamper stuff. It works for my clients because it gives them real stand out! It’s why you might just come straight to me.

Ice Cream cab new

The 5 key principles that make my designs and brand launch better than my direct competitors are:


1  CLARITY – No point in bathing it in frills that distract from your story. Typography and image must be super hardcore clear and on point.

2  PRODUCT READ – What you do is more important than who you are so people have to get exactly what you are offering… and want it.  Your product must be like a song you can’t get outa yer head. Colour psychology and a whole lot of visual magic assists your readability among the throng.

3  HONESTY –  Take the wall down and speak directly to your customers without any fluff. It’s important to let your customers know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Remember that customers are smart and they want to engage honestly.”

4.  CALL TO ACTION – Bobby Grajewski of Edison Nation Medical reveals his go-to strategy, “We always look for a call to action to spark thought, contemplation and eventual action. To that end, we have posed rhetorical questions and problems, run searches and asked the community for their ideas to improve healthcare.”


Cloud 9 cafe London by Nick Garrett Signwriter Betty NGS Slide show view Applying great design NGS

5. HEADLINE AND CONTENT MAGIC – If your headline is weak, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the copy is because no one is going to click through. People often add headlines and titles as afterthoughts, but a headline should get as much thought as the rest of the piece. And the rest of the piece?  Create objective social media posts, blogs, infographics and white papers that raise the level of informed discourse in your industry — even if it means levying warranted praise upon a competitor from time to time. The value of your content will increase exponentially.

Happy work club guys.


Nick Garrett


Older posts Newer posts

© 2018 NGS

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑