According to The Chicago Manual of Style, a font is: “A complete assortment of a given size and style of type, usually including capitals, small capitals, and lowercase together with numerals, punctuation marks, ligatures, and the commonly used symbols and accents.” There are six fonts with names relating to the state of Arkansas.
Johannes Gutenberg has been credited with making the first font, which was set to print the Gutenberg Bible in the 1450s. Ink was applied directly to the type. The technological innovation was that the individual letters could be arranged to print words.
Gutenberg used serif fonts that have extensions at the ends of the strokes that make up the letters. Serif fonts are associated with traditional printing on paper. Sans serif fonts do not have extensions on the ends of strokes. Sans serif fonts are associated with modernity and digital media. “Helvetica” is a widely used sans serif font.
Digital technology and the internet transformed how fonts are used and made them available for use by the public. During the early years of the internet, fonts were available only for use with a specific browser, and online typography had lower resolution than it does today. Internet standards were adapted that made fonts available regardless of the browser used. This led to a vast number of fonts being available to the public.
Two fonts available online from two different designers have been given the name “Arkansas Font”; both are serif fonts. The first, available on the FontZone website, is a heavy script font. The second was designed by Hantodingrat and is available on the Creative Fabrica website, which describes it this way: “The Arkansas is a masculine serif font. It has a manly, stable and conservative, vintage, and a little bit sporty look.”
While there is no authorized Arkansas Razorback font, there is an “NCAA Arkansas Razorback Font” designed using heavy block letters associated with the lettering found on football jerseys. It was published online in 2015. There is also an “NCAA Arkansas Razorback 2014 Font” featuring asymmetrical block letters that are modern in style. No evidence has been found that the two NCAA Arkansas Razorback fonts are authorized or approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and it is not clear why there are two NCAA Razorback fonts.
There is an “Arkansas Comic Font,” which was designed by Kurnia Setyadi in 2019. Comic fonts have a handwritten style that is associated with comic strip writing.
The “ArkansasDB Normal Font” is an elegant script font found on the FontZone website. It is unusual because it not only has a strike through the seven in the continental style, but it also has one through the “x.” This font does not appear to have any intrinsic connection to Arkansas.
Each of these six Arkansas-related fonts may be downloaded and used at no cost for noncommercial use. It remains in question whether any were designed in Arkansas or have any true connection to the state.
For additional information:
Arkansas. https://fontzone.net/font-details/arkansas (accessed August 16, 2023).
Arkansas Font. https://www.cufonfonts.com/font/arkansas (accessed August 16, 2023).
Garfield, Simon. Just My Type: A Book about Fonts. New York: Penguin, 2011.
Loxley, Simon. Type: The Secret History of Letters. London: I. B. Tauris, 2004.
Little Rock, Arkansas
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