Rustbelt: a new Tuscan display font.

BGSUGD student designers Jeff Hartzell and Ty Weber conceptualized Rustbelt in the summer of 2018, during an internship at Les Cheneaux Design Studio under the supervision of design instructor Lori Young. I continued work on the project into the fall and winter, producing a woodblock version of the font by utilizing the equipment and expertise of the Integrated Workshop and the School of Art technicians. That woodblock type was then used to print a small run of letterpress type specimens. These letterpress pieces were then digitally combined and reinterpreted, with the intention of showing off the breadth and depth of the possible applications: of exploration and optimism, of then, and of now.

The concept of the font is a blend of traditional Tuscan-style type convention with modern aesthetics. We characterized the traditional aesthetic qualities as reminiscent of the Tuscan’s heyday, the Industrial Revolution: strength, resilience, and durability. The modern aesthetic was pulled from a number of sources, mainly fashion, and postmodern industrial construction. We translated these into qualities like contrast, movement, and repetition. Both eras of aesthetics are built around exploration and mobility. In the early 19th century exploring and cultivating new lands, particularly those in the American West. In modern times, individuals are exploring new ways of living, coexisting, and discovering, as we begin to understand the very real boundaries and limitations of our world.

The end result of our investigations and research was Rustbelt, a contemporary Tuscan typeface blending aesthetics of athletic footwear, weaving, and industry. It is a highly flexible display font, with the capacity for use in packaging, print advertising, and other applications.