Fond of Photoshop, Martha’s Vineyard student develops typeface

Fond of Photoshop, Martha’s Vineyard student develops typeface

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Dana Jacobs, font designer, visited the MVTimes newsroom to display her work. — Photo by Michelle Williams

When typing a document, a writer can choose from thousands of fonts. Some prefer Arial, others Times New Roman, or even Helvetica. For Dana Jacobs, creating her own was more fun.

For an independent study class, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School rising senior created a typeface.

Near the end of the semester, Dana was at a loss, unsure of the font she wanted to create. Then, one day, while sipping coffee with friends at Mocha Mott’s, she became inspired and began to draw a font on a notepad.

Her drawings over coffee resulted in a font named the “Sixty Four Dollar Question.”

“I hadn’t heard the phrase before, but a little research told me it is kind of a common phrase everyone has heard of,” Dana said. “I thought it was just interesting because it kind of embodied everything.”

The decorative font has designs within the letters and a mix of cursive and print features. “I just kind of played around with it, adding loops and lines. I just had a lot of fun with it,” she said. “It’s not very similar to my own handwriting, but I tried to make each of the letters a little bit cohesive.”

After completing the font in mid-June, she uploaded it to dafont.com, a popular website for people interested in graphic design. Immediately, Dana’s design was a hit. As of Tuesday, the design had been downloaded over 11,000 times.

“I expected to get a few downloads, but the number rose really fast in the first week,” she said.

Dana has also received an offer from a U.K. company to use the font for advertisements.

Her interest in graphic design sparked at a young age. At 11 years old, she asked her father for an irregular gift — Photoshop, the photo editing computer software.

From editing photos, Dana became interested in fonts. “Type just became something that goes along with all of that,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to create a font.”

The success of her first font attracted the attention of Sam Berlow of Tisbury, the general manager of Font Bureau, a digital type studio located in Boston with an office on the Island. Mr. Berlow offered Dana an internship for the summer to help hone her graphic design skills and build a portfolio.

Her first project with the company will be creating another font. “I’m going to start building a typeface with him in the next few weeks,” Dana said. “I’m so excited.”

This typeface she imagines to be “more professional” and envisions it being used as a header on a magazine.

After completing high school at MVRHS, Dana hopes to study graphic design and hone her type font skills at college.

“The Sixty Four Dollar Question” can be downloaded at www.dafont.com/sixty-four-dollar-question.font.