About this font family
A rare natural history book from the early 18th century served as inspiration for the MVB Sirenne typefaces.
The artisan who engraved the book—likely a map engraver—had a distinctive style of lettering that was used on the descriptive captions for the many tropical fishes depicted in the book. The plates used to print the illustrations would have been copper, the letterforms hand-engraved. More…
The designers at MVB Fonts found the distinctive quirks of the roman letterforms and the eccentric stress of the italic interesting enough to embark on developing digital fonts based on the engraved samples. As the captions were hand-lettered, there was a great degree of variation, making a direct “revival” impossible, so Alan Dague-Greene interpreted the characteristics of the letterforms into a workable typeface design.
The challenge was to retain a rustic quirkiness to the forms, yet have a typeface that was useful for more than display. The solution was to make optical sizes. The “Six” faces are full of character, but strong and open for clarity at small sizes. The design of the “Text” faces is more subtle, so that they can be used for passages of text, but retain the feel of their model. MVB Sirenne “Eighteen” and “Seventy Two” are intended for display use.