Saving The Cthulhu Font

Update 27 May: The Cristoforo font Kickstarter has been relaunched. The links below have been adjusted to direct you to the new page. If you previously pledged funds and haven’t added a pledge to the new fundraiser, you should click one of those links and do so!


Anyone who has ever played the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game (or most of its translated versions) will have encountered the beauty that is the title font, Columbus, which was used for the covers of books through its first couple of decades of life.

You may not know that the Columbus font is actually a Victorian-era Amercian display font … which has been digitized in a very limited way, but which has never really had a proper revival. The free versions (and even the “for money” versions pale in comparison to the samples you can see in old 1890s typographers specimen books — I know, I went searching for some :-)).

One of the worthy folks over on the Yog-Sothoth forums — a wonderful guy and resident professional font guru Thomas Phinney — is currently running a Kickstarter project to go through the painstaking process of digitally restoring Columbus (or Cristoforo as he’s calling it) to full digital glory, ready to be used in generations of new Cthulhu books (if the publishers wanted to do that, hint hint). As of right now, the kickstarter has a bit over two weeks to run.

The covers of the early Call of Cthulhu books have huge nostalgic value for me (as well as being extraordinarily fine pieces of cover art in themselves). I didn’t realise until I pulled them all out again and looked how much the Columbus font sort of “defines” the feel of the covers.

As my own little homage to those covers, and to Columbus, and Thomas’ worthy aims to drag it, tentacles flailing, into the 21st century, I’ve put together a poster (click for a larger version). If it brings back as many memories to you as it did to me while creating it … you should seriously consider backing the Cristoforo Kickstarter — if only to encourage all those pesky game designers that they really *should* be making book titles which look as beautiful as these ones …

The title for the poster BTW is “The Wrong South Pacific Cruise”

2 responses to “Saving The Cthulhu Font

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