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Cat Says Meow and other animalopoeia

Contributed by Michael Arndt on Jul 13th, 2017. Artwork published in .
    Cat Says Meow 01 book.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cat Says Meow is an award-winning children’s book, published by Chronicle Books in 2014. It was designed to foster visual literacy and interest in letters (and therefore reading) in kids at an early age. The only font family used for text is Neutraface for a clean and sober contrast to the typographic flamboyance of the illustrations. The illustrations were created using a wide variety of fonts too numerous to mention and in a couple instances hand drawn letters were required. The letterforms used to create the illustrations of the animals are those from the sound that each animal makes.

    Cat Says Meow book 1 cover.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.
    Cat Says Meow 03 cow and pig.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.
    Cat Says Meow 06 duck and fish.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.
    Cat Says Meow 07 mosquito and frog.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.
    Cat Says Meow_Page_12.jpg
    License: All Rights Reserved.


    • Neutraface




    Artwork location

    2 Comments on “Cat Says Meow and other animalopoeia

    1. Jul 13th, 2017  11:08 am

      Funny, that’s our second entry for animal sounds after the Bzzzzpeek T-shirts. Also, see this gnu’s head made from punctuation.

      I agree that the fonts used in the illustrations are too numerous to mention. I’ll leave it at pointing out a few of the more distinctive ones, for those who are looking for IDs: The ‘C’ from Coronet appears twice. The ‘ss’ in snake as well as the ‘p’ used for the sparrow’s wing stem from Bickham Script. And the pig’s ear seems to be the ‘K’ from Trajan – a letter one won’t find in the original inscription.

    2. Jul 13th, 2017  8:48 pm

      Thank you, Florian. I am loving this site and am so glad to have finally discovered it! The gnu’s head made from punctuation is fantastic!

      Unfortunately, I never saved the original live type files before converting the letterforms to outline in Illustrator. However, I believe I have re-identifed the fonts fairly closely. Wherever possible, I used real typefaces to teach kids typographic proportions and inherent variety, modifing only as needed to make the shape work graphically with the animal’s shape. In a few cases, I had to create the letterform from scratch. I also tried to never repeat the same typeface for the same letter, but certain fonts like Futura just lent themselve more easily to the project for its clean geometry. The Ribbon “C” was used for the duck’s wing and repeated for the frog’s tongue. This is a sample. The book contains 25 different animals (with more typefaces, of course!).


      M: Futura Medium

      e: Futura Book

      o: Gill Sans Extra Bold

      w: hand lettered to get round bottoms instead of points


      s: Helvetica Neue Thin? (modified to blend with body form)

      Q: Trajan? (with modified tail)

      u: Shelley Allegro Script

      e: Bodoni Antiqua T Bold

      a: Futura 65 Bold

      K: Geometric 231 BT Light



      s: (unsure)

      n: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Extended Italic

      a: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Extended Italic

      p: Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Extended Italic


      S: original hand lettering (inspired by “s” of Giddyup)

      s: Bickham Script

      s: Bickham Script

      s: Bickham Script



      m: Didot Bold

      o: Bodoni D Black

      o: Bodoni BE Regular


      o: Verdana Regular

      i: Stempel Garamond Italic Oldstyle figures (modified dot size and placement)

      N: Futura Medium

      K: Trajan Regular



      q: Stempel Garamond Bold Italic

      u: Garamond 3 Italic

      a. Futura Book Oblique

      C: Ribbon 131

      K: Interdimensional Regular


      g: Neutra Text Light

      L: Interdimensional Regular (modified to shorten vertical stroke)

      u: Futura Bold

      b: Futura Bold



      Z: Interdimensional Regular

      Z: Interdimensional Regular

      Z: Interdimensional Regular


      C: Ribbon 131 BT

      r: Cooper Black Italic

      o: Bodoni BE Medium

      a: Handdrawn to be asymmetrical, based on Didot Regular

      K: a typewriter font, not sure which.



      c: (unsure)

      h: Berthold Script Regular

      i: Stempel Garamond Oldstyle Figures (tightened up placement of dot)

      r: Stempel Garamond Oldstyle Figures

      p: Bickham Script


      c: Futura Bold Oblique

      h: PMN Caecilia Pro 85 Heavy ?

      o: Giddyup Std Regular (modified to make rounder and curlier)

      m: New Century Schoolbook Bold Italic (modified to extend serifs)

      P: original hand lettering (inspired by Capital “P” of Giddyup)

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