An F for Fitchburg

I drew this F for Fitchburg, MA, as part of Anna Schuleit Haber’s public art project “The Alphabet”. Today it is on the front page of its local newspaper, the Sentinel & Enterprise. (I’m excited to be part of this project, thanks to a recommendation by one of my own type design heroes – Cyrus Highsmith, whose G is up next.)

Fitchburg is an old milling town. It has a rich history with a bustling industry, which at some point was lost; working towards a solid future, the city presently appears to be in a state of transition, redefining its identity, reshaping its downtown.

My drawing is inspired by historical styles in both architectural lettering and printing type – a stately letterform with spiky serifs that strongly and self-confidently refers back to earlier times. But time, perhaps, has made this F erode in ways that leave just fragments, not the core. What remains are the terminations of strokes: beginnings, ends. Pasts, futures. Those are almost overly clear. At the center, where the main strokes should be that we think of as the heart of the letter: a gap.

But that space is only seemingly empty; only in the most literal sense. It holds hints, triggers an individual imagining of the letter that obviously still lies in there.
This is still an F. It still reads.