Teddy was inspired by a quirky genre of bold script alphabets found in several mid-century lettering books from Germany, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. Teddy’s main source (but not the only one) was a connecting script drawn by German designer Ernst Bentele for his book Schrift, geschrieben, gezeignet und angewandt (Letterforms, written, drawn, and in use) from 1953.

Testword on Bentele’s page showing a “freely drawn italic”.

In 2016, Jan invited Minjoo Ham, a Korean type designer who had freshly graduated from the Type & Media course at the KABK in The Hague, to come to in Berlin. Looking at various lettering books for young signpainters and lettering artists, we decided on this script for a possible revival. One of the Fust affiliates curious to see the work was Florian Hardwig, who praised the first digital draft but said: “Why would you tackle this Bentele script? Alejandro Paul has already done it.” Paul’s foundry Sudtipos had published Bowling Script a few years earlier — a rather faithful copy of the alphabet’s capricious shapes, resulting in two versions: one with and one without ball terminals. Bowling had somehow remained under our radar. We immediately decided that it was no use reviving this model. It had been done! But it had been a useful exercise.

Moving away from the model

Still in her high-production mode of the hectic last phase of Type + Media, Minjoo was a bit sad for the lost time. At F&F, we saw the new situation as a great opportunity. Together we sketched some lettershapes that indicated how this typical mid-century, whimsical alphabet might evolve into some more forward-looking, consistent, and contemporary. We also decided that by adding layers of background and highlight fonts, the new typeface might be more versatile, and usable.

Five or six months later, the design work was done. Then personal circumstances delayed production. But in the fall of 2017, with the help of Benedikt Bramböck, a classmate of Minjoo at Type & Media, working at Berlin font production studio Alphabet Type, the family was ready.