Fake Empire font dirty, distorted, misprinted and grungy

Why strive for excellence when mediocrity will do. Those are the words of Paul Arden taken from the book It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be.

Yup, I've been reading those things again, what are they called, oh yea books. I've been reading books.

Mr. Arden was a much wiser man than me (let's face it that's not difficult). He had a point. A good point.

Perfection is overrated. The world would be a boring place if everything was perfect—right? Was punk seeking perfection? Nope. The Sex Pistols?

Far from it and they were one of the most influential bands in history. Oh, the filth and the fury. At this point I'm rambling, but it should make more sense once you see my font.

Thinking too much

I was listening to a song by The National called Fake Empire. I've listened to it a lot over the years. For some reason, the lyric "We're half-awake in a fake empire" struck a chord with me.

Perhaps it was Brexit and Trump and the fact that the world seems a weird place to be at the moment. Weird stuff on the news, that just washes over you.

Until you notice it.

Half awake in a fake empire

I've been glued to the telly, perhaps a smidge too much, mind you. Post-truths and those alternative facts, they're all the rage these days. I can't help but reckon we're strolling right into this Orwellian future, can we?

Either I'm half asleep or the politicians are just disregarding any kind of objective truth. Take Trump, for instance. The man's got this uncanny knack for blurting out the complete opposite today of what he'd spouted yesterday. It's like watching a surreal circus, I tell you.

Hilary is a criminal, I love you Hilary. WTF.

The scary thing is how increasing intolerance in public debates are evolving. If someone disagrees with an objective truth, then that argument is shut down or alternative truths are told.

When did we start entertaining the notion of "alternative truth," eh? It's utter bollocks, those so-called "alternative truths" are nothing more than plain old lies. It's like a page torn straight out of 1984, you know? 

Well, I must admit, that's all a tad weighty for a post about a new font, isn't it?

Fake Empire Font

With Fake Empire, I tried to strip it all back to basics. Paper, glue, and scissors. It's the old punk ethos of learning 3 chords and forming a band—but with fonts. Okay, it's not quite the same, but you know what I mean. I first created the font and then printed it out. I enlarged that print so I could see the dot pattern. Then taking the prints and ripping them up. Literally with my hands tearing the paper into thin strips. I then glued them back together with Pritt Stick and scanned them into the computer. Took those new versions, printed them again but this time I cut them up with scissors. I ended up with 3 versions of the uppercase A-Z letters.

Scanning and Cleaning

I then took the scans into Photoshop and converted them to grayscale images. I then used image adjustments/levels to remove the paper texture so it was just black and white. I then removed any obvious dust and scratches, now it's ready to be traced in Illustrator.

Converting to a Font

I did a bit of trial and error with my Illustrator auto-trace, and eventually found a setting I liked. It's a balancing act to try and keep the detail but with as few points as possible. You can see my Illustrator trace setting above. It had lots of points so don't say I didn't warn you. Normally, I set it to far fewer. I saved the setting and applied it to all the other scans. I converted the font using Fontself Maker. Super handy extension for Illustrator that really speeds up my workflow. After I exported the font I took it into Glyphs app for kerning and other minor adjustments.

Fake Empire, a Unicase Font

Fake Empire font is highly detailed and is best suited for headlines and display. Fake Empire is a unicase font, so it only has uppercase letters. However, the lowercase letters have alternative uppercase letters in them. To give a unique handcrafted look to your designs, each A-Z glyph has 3 versions. This means you can manually substitute any A-Z character. This helps it look less repetitive.

Perfection is Overrated

Nothing about Fake Empire is perfect. It's dirty, distorted, misprinted, and grungy. Like a damaged and dirty poster from the 80's. It's distressed like crazy but still legible. It would be best suited for large headlines, posters, and display type. If this font was a celebrity, it would be more Sid Vicious than Sid James.

Fake Empire

You can buy my Fake Empire font in my shop. The font format is .OTF

Fake Empire font includes:

  • One weight
  • 3 versions of each A-Z
  • Uppercase letters only (lowercase are uppercase alternatives)
  • Numbers
  • Punctuation & Symbols
  • Western European characters
  • Central European characters
  • South Eastern European characters

That is all.