I worked for many years at Bitstream with a particularly creative bunch of developers, and we liked to work up funny songs for the annual holiday party. 2005 brought the company's 25th anniversary, so a week before the party we wondered what might be appropriately fitting and fun. Bitstream started life designing and selling fonts, and fonts are still an important part of the business and a big legacy of the company. So remembering Tom Lehrer's song "The Elements" (where he set the names of the chemical elements to Gilbert and Sullivan's "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General") I thought well, why not "The Fonts"?
A creative co-worker took it on and I knew he'd come up with something great. BUT, the day before the party he told me he hadn't been able to make it work. SO, I banged on it from 4 PM until 2:30 AM. The next day we squeezed in a 10 minute practice and managed to pull it off to the hilarity of all. Best of all, the font designers (who have been with the company forever) were right in front and we could see them dieing as we wended our musical way through the Bitstream fonts. Later they invited us to sing it in public at TypeCon2006 in Cambridge MA.
Some background to help you understand the jokes:
- Font designs aren't copyrightable, but font names are. So, you can
make a derivative font from someone else's design but you have to come
up with a different name. When Bitstream did that they'd often just add
"BT" to the known name. And they stuck "BT" on a bunch of original
- When Europe switched to the Euro it meant every font in existence
was now incomplete! For many months the Bitstream type designers
revisited every font in the library, understanding the styling
subtleties and creating yet another Euro character. Hundreds in the
- Bitstream has an online business called MyFonts.com, selling Bitstream fonts and everybody else's too. Font foundries are notoriously mistrustful and competitive, but many allow MyFonts to sell their fonts because of the generous royalty. It's been extremely successful—people buy a staggering number of fonts online. Among other cool features, MyFonts has "What The Font", which if you upload a picture of some text will figure out what font it used, or at least show you similar ones.
So enough blabbing and on to the song. Sing it to yourself if you know the melody...
by Rick Mohr, 1/12/2006
to the tune "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General"
with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, and Tom Lehrer
And Cooper, Franklin Gothic, Charter, Prima Sans and Zodiac
There's Candy Bits and Thunderbird, Tiresias and Aerospace
Old Dreadful Number Seven, Mister Earl and Goudy Heavyface.
And Cyberbit and Cheltenham and Orator and Orbit-B
And Snowcap and Commercial Pi, Davida and Dutch 809 ("Eight-oh-nine") (...deep breath...)
With ev'ry character you'll ever need, even the Euro sign!
With ev'ry character you'll ever need, even the Euro sign
With ev'ry character you'll ever need, even the Euro Euro sign
Keycaps Deluxe and Typo Upright, Wedding Text and Math with Greek
And Aachen, Arrus, Onyx, Impuls, Amazone, Amerigo
Flareserif, Formal, Freeform, Fraktur, Freehand, French and Folio.
And Modakshar BT and Ang Thong Thai BT, Indoo BT
And Orchestra BT, and Ambiance BT, Ambule BT
Ecliptica BT, and Hadassah BT, Frank Ruehl BT.
And there's Artane Elongated BT, Chervonec Uzkj BT
And Picayune Intelligence BT, and Steppin Out BT (...deep breath...)
It makes you wonder how they ever named a font without BT!
It makes you wonder how they ever named a font without BT
It makes you wonder how they ever named a font without without BT
Americana, Dutch, Parisian, and Italian Garamond
Oranda and Aurora and Amelia and Liberty
And Libra, Latin, Lydian, and Lapidary 333. ("Three-three-three")
Staccato, Stymie, Stuyvesant, Spinosa, Swiss 924 ("Nine-twenty-four")
And Monterey and Maximus, Millennium and Melanie
And Modern 735 ("Seven-thirty-five") and Humanist 970. ("Nine-seventy")
And Bernhard, Bremen, Broadway, Bulmer, Blippo, Brush, and Baskerville
There's Calligraphic 421 ("Four-two-one") and ev'ry other face you want (...deep breath...)
And if you're not content throw up your hands and just say What The Font!
And if you're not content throw up your hands and just say What The Font
And if you're not content throw up your hands and just say What The What The Font
Ad Lib, Prestige, Impress, Normande, De Vinne, Crillee, Balloon, Revue
And Century Expanded, Bell Centennial and Galaxy
And Hank and Kis and Life and lots and lots of fonts from ITC.
These fonts are all included in the Bitstream Typeface Library
But buy them all on MyFonts so we get to keep the royalty!