04 June 2006

[font] The O RLY Font

We return to the O RLY owl just for a moment.

This cheeful, surprised fellow is captioned by the now-famously expressed question in a quite distinctive font. This font has been searched for (and this very blog has been search-pinged) in a search for what they refer to as "The O RLY Font".

In an attempt to add to the typographic literacy of everybody out there, I'll tell you what it's actually called: Kabel Bold (link to Monotype Imaging's page, where you can purchase it if you so desire), one of the Kabel range developed by typographic giant Rudolf Koch in 1924, and named for (and perhaps inspired by) the then-new transatlantic cables that were being laid ("cable" in German is das Kabel). Monotype Imaging has this to say about it:
Traditionally, German foundries have been more energetic in soliciting new designs from artists who are not specialist typographers. An example of this tradition was the career of Rudolf Koch, who designed Kabel in 1926, and which was named after the first trans-Atlantic cable. Kabel is a sans serif design of peculiar characteristics, suitable for short texts. It produces a striking effect on the page, providing modernistic feel. Although in many respects it resembles the simplicity of Futura, the unique shapes should help to identify Kabel from any other sans serif. The design was redrawn by ITC in 1975 under license from the Stempel foundry to create the ITC Kabel font family.
There're probably free versions available; you're on your own there. The late site orlyowls.com (which seems to have died the unexpected death) offered a link to a free version that caused my system to gag (maybe it was Windows TrueType?)

With respect to the late Mr. Koch, it is not known whether this has caused him to spin in his grave. For all I know, he may have been cremated.

There. Aren't you all glad you asked?

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Anonymous said...

retard. wrong font.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...


It only took someone four years to come up with this remark.

Who's the retard, again?