Font Designer – Richard Bradley

Richard Bradley

Interview with Richard Bradley

How did you fall in love with type design?
After completing formal education at Purbrook Park County Grammar School at age 17, I was very fortunate to be accepted for a 5-year apprenticeship in art and design at the Metal Box Company Design Studio in Portsmouth in 1964. There I met Norman March and Dieter Smith who trained me in all aspects of hand lettering, as that was such an important skill to learn in the days when all design, artwork and presentation was still produced by hand. Norman had been trained in fine lettering by Horace Westmorland, who in turn was trained by T. W. Swindlehurst who was trained by Edward Johnston.
So I was immediately introduced to all the fine, subtle and beautiful shapes of historical hand formed letters. During that time I studied Typography, following Norman’s suggestion, at Portsmouth College of Art & Design, under Stan Kerry, a fine classical typographer with a deep appreciation of the beauty and spacing of printed letters on the page. He kindly allowed me access to the many fine books on typefaces that he possessed, which I loved to study. I then for my own interest learnt the craft of Calligraphy and was, and still am, fascinated with the whole field of fine lettering and type fonts, classical or modern for the written word.

How many typefaces have you developed until now?
To date there is Bible Script, Fine Hand, Calligraphic Ornaments, Bradley Hand, Bradley Type and now Bradley Texting, so six in all.

Is type design what you are mainly doing? What is your profession aside from type design?
I am now retired, but during my working life I worked as a designer (of Christian Literature and print mainly) and worked freelance as a calligrapher and illustrator and painter of landscape watercolours, supplemented with part-time teaching of calligraphy and drawing and painting in Adult Education. I still continue to produce letters by hand, do some Christian literature on my computer and enjoy drawing and painting the British landscape.

What inspired you to design Bradley Texting?
I first suggested to Allan Haley and the team at the possibility of a hand drawn smooth edged font as an addition to Bradley Hand and on their acceptance of the idea, it was suggested to also produce a simplified version for use on all hand held and desktop computing systems providing an alternative in a friendly simple hand written style to the normal range of standard fonts available. So Bradley Texting was born!

So the letters come from my writing‚ over the years‚ and the constant joy of writing letters by hand …

Were you influenced by other typefaces in the design of this typeface?
Not directly, as these fonts come from just the joy of writing freely by hand, but being influenced always by all the fine traditional letter forms in calligraphy and printing that I loved from my time of learning the art of lettering and writing by hand. So the letters come from my writing, over the years, and the constant joy of writing letters by hand.

What techniques did you use in creating Bradley Texting and what was the process for creating the design?
The Bradley Hand and Bradley Texting fonts were produced by writing with a BIC Permanent Marker Pen on lined standard A4 paper. I just wrote for several days on end at a time until I felt I had a good example of each individual letter required in the handwriting style I was using. I then marked all the acceptable letter shapes in the many pages of writing and after further improvements and alternatives, I felt I had the basis of the font written down. I then met with Richard Dawson of Panache Typography who scanned all these selected characters and then made them into the first trial font. Upon receiving this, I then carefully went through all the letters and symbols etc, making what I felt, were small important shape and line adjustments to simplify and harmonize the font. We then met together again and made these adjustments on the screen using FontLab and after some more final amendments, the font was ready for use.

It had to be a relaxed and friendly style without becoming too tight and laboured …

What was the greatest challenge you faced in making the font?
Relaxing enough to produce the natural writing effect of the font! It had to be a relaxed and friendly style without becoming too tight and laboured. Also the task of retaining the style of the font throughout all the different letters and additional symbols and characters required in a full font. The other challenge was knowing when to stop the process! as one can keep seeing what could be improvements but you have to stop somewhere as it would never be finished!

Please describe the look and feel of Bradley Texting.
It aims to be a friendly and relaxed upright hand written font for every day use on all type of computers and hand held tablets, iPhones etc. It has retained a slightly condensed and formal look to allow it to be used on mobile phones etc for texting and information, in a hand written alternative to the many excellent formal fonts available. It has a related semi-bold to aid legibility in small or display sizes.

Are there aspects of the design that you think should be highlighted, or you particularly want the graphic design community to know about your typeface?
Nothing particularly, just the honest desire that the font may provide a friendly, legible feel to written matter in all kinds of uses. It may prove useful for children’s books, for instance, as an alternative to standard fonts or in any personal communication where a more relaxed friendly feel may be required. It would just be nice it it proved useful in whatever field designers may wish to use it.

It was intended as a font for hand-held devices and computing …

For what applications would you recommend Bradley Texting (poster, text, newspapers, advertisements etc.)?
It was intended as a font for hand-held devices and computing but it can also be used, hopefully, in any field that a designer may require, from small text to large displays, to provide a friendly hand written style font that he or she may be looking for.

What are the unique details from which you think they distinguish your typeface?
Maybe its smooth edged, hand written and friendly appearance with economic spacing in text, but only time will tell of its real potential as it becomes available for the designers and general public to use.

What was the reason for you to give the typeface its name and what is the meaning?
The name “Bradley Texting” was chosen in an attempt to describe it as a font that may prove useful and suitable in all kinds of computing communication from iPhones etc to display purposes. Providing a friendly texting and text font, in all sizes in a hand written style.

Anything else you would like to share?
I think I have mentioned in the above, all I trust, will introduce the font as a relaxed, friendly and usable font for all kinds of type written matter, and for all kinds of users and projects, but especially in the ever increasing written communication provided in the many small hand held devices for writing and reading in a friendly and relaxed hand-written style. Only time and Providence will tell!
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