Universalis ADF as a stand in for Futura font used in 1e AD&D Hardback Rulebooks
Tex Gyre Heros as a stand in for Helvetica font used in Unearthed Arcana
Tex Gyre Aventor as a stand in for Avant Garde font used in B1 In Search of the Unknown
Those 3 fonts cover a lot of ground for the early material produced by TSR in the 70s and early 80s. Unfortunately, there is one key font that does not have an equivalency.
Souvenir, one of the most reviled fonts by the font elite. Souvenir, that soft wide font that was used everywhere in the 70s. Souvenir, the MS Comic Sans of it's era. Souvenir, the font that was used in X1 Isle of Dread by David "Zeb" Cook and Tom Moldvay.
Back in the 90s and 00s, some turned to a knock off font named Soutane to mimic the Souvenir font look, but that font is probably? likely? a forgery.
But, what is ridiculous about Soutane being a forgery of Souvenir is that Ed Benguait made a digital copy of Souvenir in 1967 based off an old font called Souvenir made by Morris Fuller Benton in 1914.
And the story goes back even further still, because Mr. Benton is alleged to have gained inspiration for the Souvenir font by looking at a font called Schelter Antiqua and Leipziger Latein Kursiv by Schelter & Geisecke from 1905.
So, I finally tracked down enough type specimens of Schelter Antiqua to take a stab at making a font. Making a font set is grueling, mind numbing work. I think it is very deceptive how much work there actually is in making a font. Think of it as trying to make 250 little pieces of art, and then trying to work out how all 250 characters are going to interact with each other. I estimate, I have spent 50 or so hours working on this font, and it is still rough around the edges, poor at spacing between the letters, and is missing many, many extended characters.
But it does cover the 256 basic ascii characters, and that is all I need to put it to use. I named this version of the font Adenken and released it under the SIL license.
Working so long on the font has let me discern that (in my mind) there is no doubt Mr. Benton used the Schelter Antiqua font as the starting point for making Souvenir. However, the old font is still quite different from the modern Souvenir. Below, I have put a sample of the cover to X1 Isle of Dread and then below that, I have put a sample of the new font I put together.
Souvenir is rounder, smoother. Souvenir has more polish. The Adenken font I put together, looks, well... more "Old German" in character. Some of the characters are still very similar, such as the T, D, and X, but some are quite different, such as the lower case d.
So the quest continues! I think the Leipziger Latein Kursiv font by Schelter & Geisecke is even closer in appearance to Souvnir. If I ever find enough specimens of that particular font, and have another 50 hours of free time to cobble together, I might take another stab it.
But for now, if you want to try your hand at making your own font, there is nothing stopping you.
Here is the Truetype TTF file.
Here is the Fontforge Workfile.
If you want to start editing your own font, download Fontforge. There is a version of windows, mac, and linux.
Part 3 of a series on Souvenir (Part 1, Part 2)