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An Experiment in Type Design

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Balldrop v.1
Balldrop v.1 by Jacci Howard Bear

Balldrop v.1 has 26 letters.Grab individual letters from the AI or EPS files or use the new TTF version to type out words. Best use is for drop caps, monograms, or logos.

© Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to About.com
This is not a digital font. (2014 Update: It is now. See below) You can't install it and type words with it like you do with TrueType or OpenType fonts. It is a typeface or lettering that I designed as an experiment and I'm releasing it into the wild for your own typographic use. Both the Adobe Illustrator (AI) and EPS files contain 26 capital letters that make up Balldrop v.1.
  • Open the file in the software of your choice.
  • Be sure to make a copy or save under a new name so the original file stays intact for future use.
  • Grab a letter or two or three.
  • Color them. Texture them. Break them apart.
  • Use as drop caps.
  • Create monograms.
  • Use as part of a logo or wordmark.

Digital Version of Balldrop

As of January 2014, Balldrop is now available as a TTF file. I created it using a free online service. There are various SVG files and other formats as well as the TTF file in the zip files. A-Z are mapped to a-z. No punctuation or numbers. Just the letters you see in the AI file. 

See How to Create a Font Using Fontastic.me for how I turned my Illustrator-created Balldrop letters into a digital font. I used all the basic, default settings. Nothing fancy but it does make using Balldrop more convenient.

Download: balldropv1.zip

Creating Balldrop

I've read that the first fonts that a lot of people attempt are either their own handwriting (I've done that) or some kind of geometric font. This one, with its circles and rectangles, qualifies as geometric.

I created these letters in Adobe Illustrator. It is not based on any other specific typeface. I simple drew some circles and rectangles then began repeating them and flipping them around to form the basic letterforms. Once I had the general look I began creating certain rules for the placement of the dots, and how straight and curved bits interfaced with each other. Although I re-used bits and pieces I also tried to avoid making certain letters too much alike (W is not a flipped over M, for instance; I didn't do so good with E/F though).

Version 1 of Balldrop contains 26 capital letters. Some I rather like, such as M, W, Q, and F. Others, well they could use some work. For version 2 I may end up totally reworking some of the more awkward characters in addition to fine-tuning the others. Since I intended this for use primarily for drop caps and monograms I haven't done any numbers, punctuation, or other characters. A thru Z is all you get for now. These decorative letters look best at large sizes (24 point and greater).

I hope you find a letter or two useful.

Terms of Use: You are free to use the individual letters for personal or commercial projects in print or on the Web or on electronic devices (and if you do, I'd love to see an example and when it's practical, a credit linking back to http://desktoppub.about.com). However, the full set of letters and the original AI and EPS files are not available for redistribution or sale. You are free to use the digital version of Balldrop in the ZIP archive for personal or commercial purposes; however, the ZIP file and its contents are not for redistribution or sale.

Download Balldrop v.1

Adobe Illustrator: Balldrop26.ai
Encapsulated PostScript: Balldrop26.eps
TTF & SVG Files: balldropv1.zip

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  6. Balldrop v. 1 is a Free Decorative Typeface in AI or EPS formats

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