At a Glance
When your kingdom is engaged in a game of thrones, image is everything. A ruler busy at the barricades might carelessly command the art department to get setting with the first available blackletter or even a neutral sans serif, but a cleverer solution can be found in Yataghan (free), Daniel Midgley's Gothic display font.
By day, Daniel Midgley is a lecturer at the University of Western Australia. He's a linguist, so it comes as no surprise that Yataghan gets an edge from its name. In the world of weaponry, a yataghan is a type of Turkish saber used from the mid-16th to late 19th centuries. The French infantry adapted the yataghan form for their bayonets in the 1840s with good reason. Picture a sword whose hilt ends in a nob like a python's head. Size that nob to fit nicely in the palm of your hand. Attach a single-edged blade and have that blade flow out and up like a shiny, steel tongue. That should more than do the job, but then take that lethal form and apply it to a snake-like character and there, type design fans, is where Yataghan the font begins.
Midgley began his creation with a sketch of a lowercase s', followed by an n' that dipped below the baseline. Many reiterations later, the designer found himself with an impressive cast of characters including an owlish o' and a dagger of a t'. To complete the look, he topped the font's ascenders with a bone shape. Touché!
This font's elegant styling and open use license is a fit for personal and commercial projects. Fantasy publishers already love it. Yataghan has branded book covers for Brian Buckley's Fall of Thanes, the UK editions of Jacqueline Carey's Treason's Heir series, and the Omnibus edition of Chris Bunch's Dragonmaster (which offers readers "a banquet of blood and thunder"). Bulcsu Varhegyi of Hussar Games used the font in his interface For Liberty!. Which is all to say that any ruler with visual savvy can depend on Yataghan to unite the peoples with a style that been thoroughly tested in the marketplace.
Yataghan arrives with complete sets of upper and lowercase characters, numerals and punctuation. The ampersand is worth the download if only to experience the smart transition of centuries old weapon design into a believable text construction. Like any great titling font, Yataghan functions well in all-caps. Heavy-footed gothic structure establishes a solid period feel in all caps, but don't shy away from mixing upper and lowercase. Characters like g and m have a distinct calligraphic feel to their strokes. TrueType format allows for clean scaling, but start at 36 point to give these details their full due.
Kingdoms today face growing competition to get their message across, but Midgley's creation stands ready to join the melee on both page and screen. Be brave, I say. Thrust that point size upward! With Yataghan at hand, you're sure to conquer both hearts and minds.
Note: To use this font, unzip the folder and install the .ttf file in the folder C:\Windows\Fonts. Note that the font won't appear in your applications until you close and re-open it.