An independent archive of typography.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Feb 28th, 2020. Artwork published in
March 2019
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 1
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

Via “The 78 Best Book Covers of 2019, As Chosen By Designers”, presented by Emily Temple on Literary Hub. Colleen Reinhart elaborates on her choice:

Queenie herself is that star of this cover, which is fitting since she is also the star of this book. The title tucked into her hair like a crown and the “A Novel” tucked in above her ear are just perfect.

The cover for the hardback edition of Queenie is the work of Donna Cheng, Senior Designer at Penguin Random House and previously at Simon and Schuster. She based her design on an image by Gerrel Saunders AKA Gaks Design, an illustrator from Trinidad and Tobago. It is taken from her Crown series which celebrates black women’s hair.

The letters come from a typeface called Sign Kit. This font is one of the numerous – literally more than a thousand – creations by Florida-based type drawer Jeff Levine. Just like its bolder cousin Sign Production, Sign Kit is based on die-cut letters and numbers found in the Webway Sign Cabinet, a product manufactured by the Holes-Webway Company of St. Cloud, Minnesota until its demise in the 1980s.

The digital font is caps-only and the numerals don’t match in style, it has arrow glyphs in the slots for greater-than and larger-than signs, and the design of several of the non-English characters like Thorn (Þ) won’t cut it for native users. In short, it’s not the best-honed font out there. However, none of its shortcomings matter for this kind of use.

Sign Kit here does a great job of adding an urban vernacular sense. The round-top A and the S follow the “gas-pipe” style, while the M reminds me of Garage Gothic, a typeface inspired by parking tickets. The wild mix of rounded and pointed details and the almost monospace-like rhythm of dense and open spots feels fresh and familiar at the same time. With its tall proportions and monotonous stroke widths, Sign Kit is well-suited for being tucked between Saunders’ braids. It’s an unexpected but spot-on choice.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 2
Source: Hollie Gordon. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • Sign Kit JNL




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