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Voyages of Capt Cook – 04/15/20

I have always wanted to try creating a font. I always thought it would be a fun and fabulous thing to do, to use on my maps or just to know what the process is like. So for my first attempt I took inspiration from — you guessed it — a map! In 2019 I toured the Special Collections Room in the American Geographical Society Library (located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). During my visit I marveled at the sketching and lettering style on some original maps by James Cook (you can view digitized versions of them here). I immediately thought his handwriting would make for a wonderful font. So I traced some of his letters using Adobe Illustrator and used Calligrahr to build a simple font family I named “Capt Cook” (there already exists a font called Captain Cook, it’s a tattoo font by Graphic River inspired by Cook’s encounters with the tattooed indigenous peoples of the South Pacific.

FACT: James Cook was a naval captain, navigator and explorer who, in 1770, charted New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia on his ship HMS Endeavour. He later disproved the existence of Terra Australis, a fabled southern continent. Cook’s voyages helped guide generations of explorers and provided the first accurate map of the Pacific. [Source: Biography.com]

“Captain Cook set new standards of thoroughness in discovery and seamanship, in navigation, cartography, and the care of men at sea, in relations with indigenous peoples both friendly and hostile, and in the application of science at sea. And he had peacefully changed the map of the world more than any other single man in history.” [Source: Brittanica.com]