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Font series: II (inside the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft)

Delft has its Oude Kerk, which has an old tower with a tremendous lean. It’s probably not at Pisa-leaning levels, but it’s not that far away either. The old church is very spare, having suffered over time from a gunpowder explosion (no kidding!) and the attention of window-smashing iconoclastic protestants (the Reformation was serious business) and so the building really does have a lot of character. Delft also has its Nieuwe Kerk, pretty much the Westminster Abbey of the House van Oranje-Nassau (as it might still be?). This one is taller, has higher arches, bigger windows, and a mighty monument to Willem de Zwijger (or William the Silent, or William of Orange) and a massive tower which I might climb up one day. But this post isn’t about any of that cool stuff, becase one thing I like to do is look at the gravestones scattered through the churches.

So, welcome to Font Series II.

Although I took many pictures that day, I have selected the two which I liked the most, and which offer each other quite a stark contrast in typefacial (neologism?) style. The first is a fairly interesting gothic-style script, with heavy pointed serifs. It looks a little like the kind of fence that not only says “No Trespassing” but also “Trespassers may be seriously maimed if they try to cross this fence”. I’ve strayed from any kind of real font analysis, but the script was really arresting, and caught my eye from some distance away. Carving this one must have presented a real challenge.

The next compelling font is a much more readable Roman-style serifed script. It’s not unlike Trajan, and similar, except this one really is carved into the stone, and so each letter has that delightful, hand-cut feeling. One of the “Es” trails along the bottom longer than another, the letters are not completely even. And I like this kind of variation precisely because this kind of random is increasingly rare in a digitalised world.

When you start to look around, you can really see there are so many more options in the world than Times New Roman, Helvetica and (dare I say it) Comic Sans.


All photos from the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft. There is probably a style emerging from this kind of photo. If it’s tiresome, let me know!

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