Tilson and type

Two of Jake's favourite books as a teenager were Speedball Lettering and Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Food - obsessions that have shaped his work ever since. Age 14 he hand drew type for use in magazines and commercial graphic jobs. At college in the 1970s and 80s he discovered Letraset and phototypesetting, copy cameras and xerox machines - for use in his magazines, small edition books and artworks.

The typefaces here were all designed for specific projects: books, exhibitions, artwork, architecture, websites. Some come from found sources, others might be inspired by eels, fishing trawler lettering or Australian Victorian metalwork.

The best bits have been recreated: outside, the theatre's red neon sign has been updated for the 21st century in a new font, christened "Merseyside Neon" by artist/designer Jake Tilson.
Helen Pidd, The Guardian, reviewing The Everyman Theatre


Venice Nizioleto 2003 - ongoing
Full project info>

A stencil typeface that reproduces the font used
on street and canal signs in Venice.
BUY THIS FONT HERE

Venetian Marine 2008-11
Full project info>

This typeface is based on the stencilled lettering seen on Venetian boats, such as on the commercial mototopo boats. These numerals and characters give the license number and sometimes a business name.

Tamburini 2003
Full project info>

Inspired by thirty-three characters found on a cash register receipt in the shop/bistro Tamburini in Bologna, Italy.

Pomodori 2003
Full project info>

A decorative typeface designed from only six existing characters found on a tin of tomatoes in Cortona, Italy.

Aberdeen Street 2006
Full project info>

Based on the ceramic tile alphabet used to make
street names in Aberdeen.


New York Neon 2008-11
Full project info>

Inspired by the culinary neon signs of New York using photographs taken over several years.
BUY THIS FONT HERE

Sydney Lace 2008-11
Full project info>

This typeface takes its form from the intricate and beautiful decorative cast ironwork that adorns many Federation era houses in Australia.

Merseyside Neon 2011-13
Full project info>

Jake Tilson was commissioned by the London architects Haworth Tompkins and the Everyman theatre to create a new sign inspired by the old neon sign that has adorned the building for many years. Tilson also created two typefaces for the project.
The project won the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture in 2014.


Battersea Stencil 2013-14
Full project info>

A stencil typeface designed for the Battersea Arts Centre for use on signage, print and website.

Trodat Stamp 2014
Full project info>

Designed from the smudgy prints made using a Trodat alphabet rubber stamp bought in Barcelona in 1986. Made for use on this website as a webfont.

Havana Neon 2013
Full project info>

Based on a beautiful 70s cafeteria sign Tilson found in Havana on 23 y 12. To recreate this channel-neon sign Jake made a layered type family; base, edges and neon-tubes. He only had the word "cafeteria" from which to create the typeface.

Havana Carnet 2013
Full project info>

Walking in the backstreets of Vedado in Havana Jake came across a hand painted sign hidden in shrubbery. From this little sign he made a typeface that uses the cut-out look of the sign. The typeface was made with black paper and scissors.

Havana Parqueo 2013
Full project info>

Based on a poorly painted pump repair sign on an
apartment block in La Habana Vieja.


Eel spear 2009
Full project info>

A decorative display typeface inspired by iron eel spears from Europe and North America. Designed originally for use in the project A Net of Eels.

Atlantic Eel 2009
Full project info>

A decorative display typeface inspired by the Atlantic eel – Anguilla anguilla. Designed originally for use in the project A Net of Eels.

Scottish Trawler 2008-11
Full project info>

Inspired by registration numbers hand-painted on Scottish fishing boats. Each boat has a number of 1, 2 or 3 letters preceding a number – such as BF104 for Banff.

A type filled youth 1970s
Full project info>