I’m pleased to announce a new font release: Bore, a bold, all-​caps display typeface. 

Bore was inspired by some unusual mid-​20th-​century fabri­cated signage, affixed above the entrances to the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, near my home. (The hole that such tunnels snake through is called a “bore.”)

entrance to the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel

The signage’s letterforms—odd and wonky but pleas­ingly industrial—have fasci­nated me for many years. To my eye, they look like a hybrid of American gothic sans and art-​deco-​style forms, but executed by some­one untu­tored in typog­ra­phy. Typographic outsider art!

A few years ago I set myself the chal­lenge of trans­lat­ing these letters into some­thing that would be useful as a digi­tal font. It was difficult—but fun—to find the right balance: cleaned up and regu­lar­ized enough to be usable and profes­sional, but not so much that the weird char­ac­ter of the orig­i­nal would be lost.

example of Bore typeface in use on two posters

(I kept the left- and bottom-​heavy struc­ture, the “back­wards” M, and the “squinty” P and R, for instance, but most of the incon­sis­ten­cies in shapes, widths, and stroke lengths were smoothed out.)

I think the finished prod­uct has a unique, quirky confi­dence that will lend some unusual retro vibes to all sorts of display uses. I’m look­ing forward to seeing how people decide to use it. 

I’ve decided to release Bore for free under a Creative Commons license. You can down­load it here.