Creating the alphabet
Steven Bramble is a local artist and member of the Quarry Pod. He came up with the idea for a Heavitree Stone alphabet early on in our discussions. It began as a design exercise that could be used in schools (it still could) and it also sparked the idea for the A-Z trail.
Over a few months, Steven played with many letter forms and combinations. It is fascinating to see his book of workings showing the process of an artist. Gradually the form of the irregular stone blocks in a horizontal coursing took shape.
Making a font
Steven’s letters are very beautiful in their own right. We also wanted to be able to use them, and the best way of doing this was to turn them into a font.
The first step was to digitise Steven’s artwork. Clare is an Hon Research Fellow in Humanities at the University of Exeter, so was able to access the brand new Digital Humanities Lab. The Lab is stuffed with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology, and during its first year, the staff were keen to experiment with ways of using it. Clare and Steven spent two fascinating afternoons first learning about the process and what was required, and then proceeding with the digitisation. Essentially, this involves taking very high resolution photographs of the pages of Steven’s portfolio. These show an incredible amount of detail, every brushstroke and mark on the paper, capturing the roughness of the Heavitree Stone itself. We are very grateful to the Lab, and to Gary Stringer and Emma Sherriff for their assistance.
Once we had electronic images of the letters, Clare could use the free online Calligraphr tool to transform them into a font. You can use this to make a font out of your own handwriting too! There are handy tutorials and FAQs on the website.
Where we have used the font
Credit also goes to Eva Design for the idea of ‘quarrying’ the letters out of photos of the Heavitree Stone quarries. You can see this in the website header and the leaflets.
High-resolution letter images are featured in the companion A-Z of Heavitree stone-built sites on this website.
How you can get the font
You are very welcome to download and use the font. You will need one of the following files. There is a guide to the format you need and how to install fonts on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux at dafont.com/faq.php.