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The populist view of the Middle Ages is of a time of magic and mystery. Many bizarre symbol alphabets were developed during this period, from the simplicity of runes to the very strange celestial, alchemical and Slavic alphabets. Life was hard and for many a fearful experience too. Faith and the pursuit of diverse religious practices offered people ways of trying to deal with their hardships and fears. Certain beliefs and activities however, were deemed heretical, even punishable by death. And so many of the alphabets from these times were created as a means to codify a text – to keep it secret and safe, away from the uninitiated. These strange scripts suggest secrecy and other-worldliness, even authority. It is this impression that has influenced the Alchemy type, more than an attempt at a direct representation.
The Manuscripts of the Middle Ages contain a rich diversity and ingenious use of capital lettering. During this period the monastic scribes twisted and stretched their illuminated letters into graphic forms of almost infinite variety. The decorated pages of the celebrated Lindisfarne Gospels (c.689 AD) contain Anglo-Saxon capitals that take on many alternate forms used freely together to enhance a word's shape. The highly decorated opening page to Saint Matthew's Gospel provided particular inspiration for several of Alchemy's letters.
The 'art' of alchemy seeks the transformation of base metals into gold or silver. This theme structured the font range for the original version of the Alchemy type; the Gold fonts contained the main letterforms while the Silver fonts contained superiors and inferiors. The new OpenType version is named Alchemy Midas. It draws together the previously individual fonts into one new font, making use of OpenType features (such as Discretionary Ligatures) or the glyph palette to access the full range of characters available.
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Information about this typeface
Alchemy contains all the characters from the from the previous Alchemy Gold and Silver fonts. The PDF file shows the complete character set together with a variety of large settings. Alchemy is not style-linked.
Alchemy™ is a trademark of JT Types Ltd.