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Cherry keycap typeface identification

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 14:44
by nathanscribe
I couldn't find a reference to this in the wiki or the forum, but maybe I didn't look hard enough. Anyway, I've been looking at a lot of old typefaces lately, and came across "Formula 1". It's similar to Helvetica Rounded, but has the tail-less "G" and short-topped "5" that makes me think this is Cherry's keycap typeface. Sadly I cannot find a good online image of this typeface, and all searches for "Formula 1" bring up the predictable racing stuff.

These characters match those on my (black) Cherry DS as perfectly as I can tell, including the lower-case letters on non-Alpha legends (slightly stubby lower curl on the "e", 2-story tailless "a", etc), in all but one respect: the Cherry upper-case look slightly wider (even taking into account my oddly-skewed photo, taken from the 1991 edition of Rookledge's International Typefinder). It's possible there are different weights and widths of this font, but in the absence of any other evidence I'd say this is the closest I've seen. Perhaps Cherry used a modified version? I don't know.

Any thoughts?
IMAG0808.jpg (218.25 KiB) Viewed 1918 times
IMAG0809.jpg (155.28 KiB) Viewed 1918 times

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 14:58
by Muirium
I think you're bang on. Cherry's round G never has been my cup of tea, but it's no tacky Arial either. Forumla 1 looks like a solid match; now if only we could find a nice type specimen with all of its widths and weights.

Helvetica Rounded is, naturally, my favourite of your little sample overall. Although now I'm getting weird visions of Frankfurter Medium dyesubs…

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 15:04
by Daniel Beardsmore
Ugh, Cherry's kiddy font. I never saw the appeal of a professional keyboard designed like it was for toddlers.

Anyway, the pages you want are:

[wiki]Keyboard fonts[/wiki]
[wiki]Cherry legends[/wiki]

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 15:21
by nathanscribe
EDIT: interestingly, the legends on my white-on-black DS look wider than those on both my black-on-cream DS and the pics on the Wiki link. I suspect it's an optical illusion, unless both my eyes and my calipers are out. :)

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 15:43
by Daniel Beardsmore
Full typefaces often do come in a large variety of weights. Cherry's legends are a bit confused though — look at how thin "?" is, for example.

I tried to look up the Formula 1 typeface, but I can't find any evidence that it exists — I wanted to compare characters such as ~, ? and # to see if they also match.

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 16:01
by nathanscribe
Daniel Beardsmore wrote: I tried to look up the Formula 1 typeface, but I can't find any evidence that it exists — I wanted to compare characters such as ~, ? and # to see if they also match.

Evidence, but not a full set :(

Further, this page about the Doctor Who titles indicated Formula 1 was available as transfers but not digital. Hmm. Helvetica Rounded is not as similar as they suggest, though, I think.

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 16:38
by bazh
I want to see the ~ and # character too because I see there're 2 version of them on ANSI and ISO boards

Posted: 26 Jul 2014, 18:25
by nathanscribe
Here's a better overview, though it lacks many characters. Looking at the symbols, I'd say we're still looking at Formula One as the Cherry typeface, though the question mark appears lighter on the keyboard. Perhaps variations in the weights at different sizes account for that?