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Neil Hyslop: The original English-language Tintin "font"

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#1 · Posted: 17 Jun 2004 14:56
Over in the "English publishers who aren't Methuen" thread, Big Ren was asking after the font based on Neil Hyslop's script.

I would think that Moulinsart would have a hard time justifying any right over the script, per se, as different type-foundaries often create similar looking faces (Apple produced Geneva as a knock off of Helvetica, and used their own Apple Garamond in place of Garamond, are just a couple of examples off the top of my head). Even if the font was created from scans from the books, they'd have to search for the exact letters that had been copied, and show that they were unchanged.

Perhaps what is need is for someone to produce their own rendering of the script, and for a font to be made up from that; as long as it wasn't called "Tintin" anything (I'd suggest "Hyslop Regular"), I think it should be free and clear. I'm prepared to have a go, but it'll take a little time.

For a design project about fifteen years ago I created a manual font (a collection of post-script outlines which I set manually by copying and pasting, rather than an installable font file; as it was a display font it wasn't a problem, and easier than Letraset!) on the lines of the title font of Soviets, using my own sketches as templates in Illustrator, and making new outlines for all the other missing letters. Though I say so myself, it would be hard to tell the two apart, but it is my property. Must go and dig those files out!
Big Ren
#2 · Posted: 17 Jun 2004 15:30
I already have the Hyslop font, but I was trying to help anyone looking for it online. So far I can't find it anywhere anymore.
#3 · Posted: 17 Jun 2004 16:15
Looks like I’d better get weaving then.

I am tempted to try tracking down Neil Hyslop; there is a gentleman of that name producing maps as book illustrations (the most recent example I found on the net was a book published last year). It would be possible he is the same one. I will report back if I find out more.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#4 · Posted: 17 Jun 2004 20:05
I think the Neil Hyslop who produces maps as book illustrations is indeed the same one - I know 'our' Hyslop had a background as a cartographer.
#5 · Posted: 18 Jun 2004 00:39
Hi Ed!
That’s what I’m thinking - however I can’t rule out it being either a coincidence, or a relative (a son perhaps?). I’ve found the site for a professional body for cartographers; between them, and trying some of the book publishers, I may be able to reach him.
#6 · Posted: 21 Jun 2004 01:39
Moulinsart own the Tintin font; according to their Rules Concerning the Use of the Work of Herge on the Internet[/url]*, AKA the Charter, the font is protected by copyright:

A. The Work and the rights of Hergé and his legal successors

1. Moulinsart S.A. (162 avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels, Belgium) is the exclusive worldwide owner of all exploitation rights related to the work of Hergé, particularly but not limited to The Adventures of Tintin. Copyright protects not only the comic albums and the drawings (cases, strips, plates, extra-textual drawings, covers), script ("scenario"), texts, dialogues and gags, but also the settings, the characters and their particularities, the names, titles and imaginary places, onomatopoeia, fonts and other elements of the work of Hergé.

So, I am awfully sorry to have to edit/remove some of the posts in this thread, particularly those containing directions to where to download the 'unauthorized' fonts), because we cannot afford to be accused of encouraging 'unauthorized exploitation of Tintin' by the paranoid M-you-know-who, not for the second time. We are on their blacklist: once upon a time, when we were young and free, we made available fan-created Tintin fun stuff on our old site, goodies such as screensavers, desktop themes, fonts, and etc. But M-you-know-who kicked up a huge stink about it, and got their legal team to send us a nasty-gramme. We do not want to go there again. Public discussions on where to download full version games, complete albums, screensavers, and etc, will not be permitted here; debates on what Moulinsart can claim the right over, however, are fine--and even encouraged!

** = the English-language version charter referred to above exists no longer; the French version can be found at http://www.tintin.com/home/legal/droits.html
(05 Jan 2015)
#7 · Posted: 21 Jun 2004 07:40
Sorry to have been remiss!

I’d just add that, given the above, I will continue to try and:
a) track down Mr Hyslop;
b) create a *completely* “clean” font - in the manner of Mr Hyslop’s personal script, but *not* sourced from text in any of the books, in any shape manner or form;
c) discover what, if any, style of script this is (e.g. is it a pre-existing cartographic script, from a manual), and thus what it should be called;
d) try and avoid bringing the weight of “Le Chateau” down on the site admin!

This may take a little time, so bear with me...
#8 · Posted: 21 Jun 2004 15:53
b) create a *completely* “clean” font - in the manner of Mr Hyslop’s personal script, but *not* sourced from text in any of the books, in any shape manner or form;
c) discover what, if any, style of script this is (e.g. is it a pre-existing cartographic script, from a manual), and thus what it should be called;
d) try and avoid bringing the weight of “Le Chateau” down on the site admin!

As long as we're discussing property rights in the other thread, I should probably caution you that this could still be taboo. The process used, whether copying it off an image or just eyeballing it, might be quite irrelevant if the end product still smacks of Hyslop's handwriting.

If he doesn't agree to it, he could probably claim that his handwriting is distinct and recognizable as his own, and that others do not have a right to profit off of it. I haven't come across any cases of copyright in handwriting, but I'm sure it exists the same way as copyright in a font can.

Although as long as you make the font freeware, you're not actually profiting off of it... Hmmm... maybe it'd only be if someone later used it to sell a product; gotta think about this one...
#9 · Posted: 22 Jun 2004 16:53
Alternatively wait another 50 years until the copyright expires and then use the font as much as you like....

Seriously though, I think you'd still be courting trouble if the font was freeware. It could be argued that you are allowing others to profit from the copyrighted font even if you are not doing so yourself. I don't think there's a hard and fast ruling on this, but I don't know how deep your pockets are to pay for the court fees.

Although if you lived in Somalia, say - or somewhere equally lawless - I think they might find it difficult to serve you with a writ!
#10 · Posted: 22 Jun 2004 18:54
Such issues are why I wish to contact Mr Hyslop. I would like to undertake this as an homage, with at least his knowledge, and hopefully his blessing.

In the event, I would bet that the script used in the books is not his “hand-writing”, or anything like. It will almost certainly not be the hand he uses to say, sign a cheque.

It will be an example of a script learnt from a book - like calligraphy - and I am confident that there would be enough similarity to writing on other maps for it to be thought in effect public domain. I did lettering as my specialism when I did art at school, and before the advent of the computer, so that was the way that everyone lettered.

I am taking as my model a company like ComiCraft, who do a lot of comic-book lettering which mimics the styles used by artists. They even produce very distinctive faces , such as a clone of the triangualted characters used to write Dalek dialogue in the old TV21comic, and have called it “Exterminate!”, but it is their version, and they don’t seem to have been shut down (and Terry Nation’s estate is if anything as tough as Moulinsart).

Come to that, my everyday handwriting was transcribed onto a black-board from a book, by the teacher, and learnt by me. Can’t remember what it is called (there is a name for it), and it looks like the cursive script used in the books in the caption boxes that say things like “Meanwhile…”

Almost everyone here, writing in the Roman alphabet, will have been taught a specific script at some point.

But I thank you for your advice gentlemen, and will take it into consideration; I don’t forsee a move to Somalia yet!

It’s all academic anyway until I actually do something...

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