A modular typeface inspired by a dutch stamp design from 1978 by Gert Dumbar and René van Raalte. It is available for free and can be modified and extended by everyone.
It reads POSTCODE, dates back to 1978 and was designed by Gert Dumbar and René van Raalte, apparently “to encourage the Dutch to include postcodes in addresses”, as Follet states on the photo page. It seems there was also a book with instructions on Postcode usage available at that time.
I was like: I want this as a computer font! I started looking around for it a bit, but could not find anything (please send hints if you know better). So the only way was doing it on my own.
Since I’m no typographer and even don’t have the right tools installed on my machine to play around with, that asked too much of me in the first place. Until I remembered fontstruct, a (social) web application to create and share typefaces online. When I had a first look at their screencast, I was quite impressed how powerful this flash-based web application seemed to be (powerful compared to many other web apps I have seen, not from a professional typographer’s point of view).
POSTCODE license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike. This means you can remix, tweak, and build upon the current version of the font non-commercially, as long as you credit the originator and license your new creations under the identical terms. All new work based on POSTCODE will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
It took me a while to figure out how to create the characters, to make them fit in a grid and stuff like that. But since things like copy&paste work like a charm in fontstruct, it was quite easy and fun to experiment while working on the font. I actually felt pretty addicted after a while. But also, it was like Zen, very relaxing (due to the repetitive nature of working on a modular typeface?). The later the night, the emptier the bottle, the more elaborated the creation – that type of thing …
And it got wilder and wilder. After doing the capital letters, I went kinda crazy on filling the lowercase slots with different random symbols – rectangles, slants, etc. I figured that, besides working great as a display typeface, the grid it is based on is also very inviting for creating pattern-based ornaments. Well, if you download the font, you will figure that it is rather rough, not very pragmatic or functional (please note the little surpise in place of the @). You can easily use the uppercase alphabet and numbers, but when it comes to punctation and other typographical symbols, legibility starts suffering – depending on how you combine. But It think that’s fine, since it is nothing more than a display font made for fun.
If you feel that there are strange things going on or if you have additional ideas, please post a comment or feel free to go to fontsctruct, register yourself, clone POSTCODE and modify and extend it as much as you like. Any feedback is highly appreciated. Let us know what you’re doing with the font.
POSTCODE is a display font and works best in sizes 64, 128 and 256px. Please set the line height to 24 (64), 48 (128) or 96 (256). You can use it aliased or anti-aliased. In Photoshop, whatever anti-aliasing method you use, open and closed punches can get quite blurry. Maybe try using Illustrator instead. The font should also work well in Flash, I have not really tested it though. Maybe you have to play around with the optimized font sizes and line heights for better results.
Here are some examples, showing you POSTCODE in use (and misuse). Anti-aliasing is off in all samples: