The Mystery of the Dune Font

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Putting a name to the typeface that defined the visual identity of the science fiction series and its author, Frank Herbert. Via Fontsinuse.com

In the six decades since the publication of the original Dune novel in 1965, the science fiction franchise has gone through many different typographic identities. Notable examples include the use of Giorgio for the British paperbacks by NEL (c. 1968) and Albertus for David Lynch’s movie adaptation (1984). But another typeface has even stronger ties to Dune and its author. It appeared on the covers of dozens of books, including the classic Dune trilogy and its sequels, and also on other titles by – or about – Frank Herbert, from various imprints. Strangely enough, the name of this typeface is barely known even among die-hard fans.

Davison Art Nouveau was drawn by lettering artist Meyer M. “Dave” Davison for Photo-Lettering (PLINC), a typesetting company in New York City. It was first shown in PLINC’s 1967 Alphabet Yearbook. Basically a bold all-caps roman with long bracketed serifs, Davison Art Nouveau comes in three variants of increasing ornamentation: Art Nouveau with Flourishes, Modified, and Ornate.


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