Craig Welsh’s Chimney Sweep

Faculty Guest Blogger: Steven Brower

The archival engineering drawing for one of two Alphons Custodis industrial chimneys built in the 1920s for the Hershey Chocolate company – both chimneys remain standing as of 2018

Steven Brower: “Get Your Masters with the Masters” MFA faculty Craig Welsh of GoWelsh Design in Lancaster, PA , loves type. His first foray into the world of type was a collaboration with the late designer Elaine Lustig Cohen on “Elements,” which brought to completion a font that was begun by her first husband renown designer Alvin Lustig decades earlier. You can read more about it here.

Now Welsh has returned closer to home for his second font. He grew up in post-industrial Pennsylvania, close to the Hershey factory. “I think the two ‘HERSHEY’ chimneys that still stand at the site of the original Hershey Chocolate Company site had some influence. They are visual icons of Hershey’s legacy.”

Welsh visited the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Wisconsin (HWT) just prior to the demolition of the original HWT factory complex. He found his way to the roof and stood next to the chimney, with its 5-foot-high white brick ‘HAMILTON MFG CO’. This was his original inspiration for a digital font based on masonry lettering. “I was able to scramble throughout the 12-acre campus before it was razed and crawled out a window onto the roof right next to the chimney. Seeing the masonry letters made an impression that I kept in mind until the ‘Stack’ fonts could be realized.”

Go Welsh designer Jenna Flickinger stands in front of a reproduction Hamilton ‘H’ at full scale.

The resulting “Stack Fonts”, a family of five fonts based on the letterforms of those early 20th century industrial smokestacks. Years of research led Welsh to archival source materials from the leading chimney construction company of the period — Alphons Custodis. The company remains active, operating as ‘Hamon Custodis’ in Somerville, NJ.

Working from several hundred reference photographs of industrial chimney lettering, he designed the fonts with the intention to being true to the spirit of the original masonry lettering while at the same time being authentically original

“Stack Fonts”, was just released in cooperation with JDT fonts. For all under-grad design students whose instructors tell you never to stack type, here is your chance to prove them wrong.

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