Deliscript: A Font Inspired by Canter's Deli

In 2008, Michael Doret drove past Canter's Deli, but instead of lox and bagel chips, the ambitious designer found the long-awaited inspiration for his latest font: Deliscript. "Perhaps it was that mid century marquee vibe that called out to me," he explains, "but at any rate I saw something in the straight up and down script that I liked, and that somehow I thought I'd be able to extrapolate into a font."

Michael Doret chronicles the evolution of Deliscript in a post for AIGA LA, describing how he worked on the lettering while incorporating special features into the font, including variable-length tails and customizable t-crossbars. In January 2010, a little over a year after he began working on his Canter's-inspired font, the designer learned that it won the Type Director's Club font design competition TDC² 2010.

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Soon after, Doret also received a phone call from Bonnie Bloomgarden, great-granddaughter of Canter's founder Ben Canter, asking him if he would custom-design the Canter's Truck. It seemed the designer was on a roll, until he got caught up in an unexpectedly sticky situation. "The graphics on trucks these days are not painted on," says Doret, "but rather they're printed on a flexible vinyl film which is applied to trucks and conforms to their contours." After some struggle with the measurements and design, however, the new font was finally visible on the Canter's Truck. Doret says: "In a strange and serendipitous way, my Deliscript font design project had come full circle, turning back on itself and inspiring the folks at Canter's -- whose sign had been the original source of my own inspiration."

Michael Doret now has full character sets for two new fonts: Deliscript Upright and Deliscript Slant. But while he first found inspiration in Canter's sign, he emphasizes that unlike other retro-themed fonts, Deliscript "is a completely new and unique design created from the ground up. It may have historical antecedents, but despite the "déjà vu" feeling it may provoke.... it's as new and fresh as anything else out there."


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