When Mickey Mouse sits down to tap out his memoirs, we bet the title page will be set in Waltograph (free), a witty font by designer Justin Callaghan. Waltograph is a direct descendant of the inky brush style that brought the world’s most famous mouse to life and signed the paycheques for generations of animators. In short, this font grew out of Uncle Walt’s signature.
Although Disney has no official logo font, fans have been trading Walt-style lettering samples for decades. Twenty-first century typographer Justin Callaghan is known for several freeware creations inspired by the animator, but Waltograph, a brush script, is his most evocative. It arrives in two useful weights: regular Waltograph 42 in OpenType format; and bold Waltograph UI in TrueType format.
Both Waltographs contain full sets of uppercase characters, numerals, and punctuation. Euro-Disney is present with diacritics, accented characters and international monetary symbols. Throughout the design, strokes ending in tiny tendrils capture the playfulness of early brush lettering. Callaghan is a diligent typographer, staying consistent in style across punctuation and symbol sets, but the best thing to recommend him is that his characters have character. The braces (aka curly brackets) in Waltograph 42 act as a sly homage to Minnie’s hubba-hubba factor even as the dollar sign in Waltograph UL is the perfect ball-cap monogram for Scrooge McDuck. If you’re Unicode savvy you’ll find the mouse himself waiting for you under the codes 0247, 0181 and 0096.
We see this font taking centre stage in home video productions. The design is under a Creative Commons license that stipulates personal use only, so there’s nothing stopping you from updating the family archive with Disney-like video titles, credits and silent-film style captions. Note that both weights lose their thrill below 24 points, which is why we recommend them for display type only.
We have a request for future Waltograph versions. The lowercase characters in Waltograph 42 fluctuate between small cap and standard forms. So, words like ANimATED By appear lopsided. Meanwhile, the lowercase characters in Waltograph UL set are simply a repeat of the caps. True, typing all caps in a Disney-like font is kind of fun, but the Mary Poppins in us will not rest until the lowercase letters stop fighting one another to be heard.
Nitpicking aside, Waltograph remains a keeper. No other font has afforded us the fantasy that we’re seated in the quonset hut on the Disney lot, inking cells for the man who brought us the little mouse that could. For that, Justin Callaghan, you deserve to wear the ears.