- Written by Peter Burnett Peter Burnett
This is Downcome, a font designed by Eduardo Recife. In the spirit of the age and in line with other open source software, Eduardo Recife allows anybody to use his font, and all he asks is that he be acknowledged. As a bonus, if anyone can be bothered, Eduardo asks politely to be gifted any books, CDs etc that may make use of his font. That is the idea, but the practice is sadly lacking.
Over the last couple of years I've noticed Downcome turning up in all sorts of places. The designer of one of my publishing projects, Stealing Fire, written by published poet and thriller writer James W Wood under the pen name of Craig Sterling, used it too, and she did so to great effect.
In line with Eduardo Recife's wishes, and as the very least I could do to acknowledge his generosity, his name appeared on the copyright page of Stealing Fire, crediting him and mentioning his fine website. Eduardo also got a copy of the book, though I can't be sure if he received it.
To date however, I remain the only person I have found to have acknowledged Eduardo. To get a start on the use of Downcome, have a look at this website, GoSki. Once you notice Downcome somewhere, you begin to notice it all over the place.
One of the appeals of the Internet is the spread of open source software, and the new copyright licesnes that have evolved because of it. There are still huge gaps in copyright, such as the fact that Google are allowed to republish everyone's information, and noone one else is, but that's another story. And in the meantime, many people have created great things, like Downcome, and published their stuff for free.
Dafont website is one such place where such free material is available, and it's kind of a designers' secret. Sometimes, they don't want you to know they're using Dafont, which is an immense repository of talent.
In the case of Eduardo Recife's Downcome, the font is so good that it was tempting to emboss the cover, but we were trying to keep costs down, so didn't in the end. We also used the font inside the book.
Now on to the ingrates. First case in point is Relentless, by Simon Kernick, published by Corgi Books. What bugs me most about this book is that the cover uses nothing else other than Downcome, just some scratchy red imagery and an ink splat effect. Then it boasts on the back: Design: Stephen Mulcahey TW. However much this character was paid for this work, all he seems to have done is downloaded Downcome, ignored Eduardo's requests for acknoweldgement, taken the credit, and scarpered to the nearest wine bar. Very poor.
The second case today is Rough Justice by Stephen Leather, which makes good (but unacknowledged) use of Downcome on the cover and on the spine, but at least combines this with some other elements. You'll see how seductive Downcome can be, because they've put the book's whole strapline in it. Downcome just has that tasty, thriller edge to it.
Anyone can securely and safely download, install and use these fonts.