Andrew Ashton



I first made a font when I was working for Kogan Page business publishers. It was a simple symbols font, with bullets I could use inthe books I worked on.

When I left to join HarperCollins publishers I didn’t work on any fonts for several years. It was when I was working on historical and romantical novels that I realized that there was a gap in the font market. Many period or script fonts either don’t look handwritten or they have great looping ascenders and descenders on the letters which makes the fonts very hard to use for passages of text on small pages. You have to increase the line spacing by huge amounts to make the letters fit on the page and the actual portion of the letters you read for sense, the x-height was still hard to read. In some script fonts the lettering was too precise and formal and was clearly computer generated and therefore you didn’t get a feel of age. Other period fonts were irregular and were good for impact and short sentences but there was a tendency for the font designers to add extraneous ink splats and wobbly outlines. On a short sentence such as on a cover this doesn’t make any difference at all but when you repeat the letters over a passage those little dots and irregularities soon became obvious as a repeating pattern, ie fake. It was only when I began working on more and more maps and I was being asked to make the lettering more individual that I realized that I could make a suitable font which covered maps and period lettering in text for books. I came across a map by a cartographer called Emmanuel Bowen. I used that lettering for the basis of my font Bowen Script. Bowen is based on typefaces of the time and so has a period appearance but also has a naturalistic handwritten feel and there are no great looping swirls attached to the letters so it can be used in small spaces and be easily readable. The font can be bought from which is a very large commercial operator who publish/distribute fonts for a fee. The link is below.

I use CorelDraw and FontLab Studio for making the fonts. When I was making the font and my wife was ill with cancer I asked Ted Harrison, the president of Fontlab, for sponsorship and he agreed on condition I met certain conditions. Well I have no problem in endorsing the products of fontlab. They produce a variety of products for beginners to professionals. I also have a love for books and for the written word and fonts are big part of this. I would encourage people to have a go at making fonts. Don’t be daunted. The link for fontlab is also below.
I made some extra characters for Bowen Script for a map and you can download these extra characters for free here. If you would like to see any other characters added to this font let me know by email and I’ll consider adding them to this free download.

I am working on other fonts. You can see the font I made for my wife elsewhere on this site and this will be handed over to myfonts for publication and when this happens I shall leave a message here.

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