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Sweeney captures the verve and energy of broad pen calligraphy in a digital font. An italic uncial with strong Celtic overtones, Sweeney's bold strokes and traditional shapes create a distinctive ribbon-like quality in display sizes, while remaining inviting and quite readable in small blocks of text copy.
In keeping with conventions of medieval Celtic manuscript writing, Sweeney makes no distinction between caps and lowercase letters. Using a larger point size works to emphasize the start of a line or paragraph," says Kathryn Darnell, Sweeney's creator, but she also wanted to provide designers with another option. To that end, she drew a series of illuminated initial letters called "Sweeney Lino Cut," a companion font to Sweeney. Several swash and alternative characters and a suite of Roman numerals are included in the standard character set. Darnell adds, "In keeping with the Irish theme of the uncial forms, I also included several border segments based upon Celtic knot-work."
Sweeney is the name of a seventh-century Irish king who went mad (some say from the din of battle; others say he was cursed by a Christian monk), roamed Ireland naked and composed poetry. "The story of Mad Sweeney has intrigued me almost as long as letterforms have," says Darnell. "All things considered, it just seemed fitting that I name my first type design after this crazy poet king."
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