Here I am, once again digging up 60-year sign lettering and trying to reconcile it with the typography of my own time. The truth is I’ve had this particular Alf Becker alphabet in my sights for a few years now. But in the typical way chaos shuffles the days, Buffet Script and Whomp won the battle for my attentions way back when, then Storefront beat the odds by a nose a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, revisiting Alf Becker’s work is always a breath of fresh air for me, not to mention the ego boost I get from confirming that I can still hack my way through the challenges, which is something I think people ask themselves about more often as they get older.
You can never tell what may influence your work, or in this case remind you to dig it out of dust drawers and finally mould it into one of your own experiences. On my recent visits to the States and Canada, I noticed that quite a few high-end steak houses try their best to recreate an urban American 1930s atmosphere. This is quite evident in their menus, wall art, lighting, music, and so on. The ambience says your money is well spent here, because your food was originally choice-cut by a butcher who wears a suit, cooked by a chef who may be your neighbour 20 minutes from downtown, and delivered by a waitress who can do the Charleston when the lights dim and who just wouldn’t mind laughing with you over drinks at the bar later.
So Steak is just that, a face for menus and wall art in those places that see themselves in the kind of jazzy, noirish world where one-liners rule and exclamation points are part of a foreign language.
As is usual with my lettering-inspired faces, there is very little left of the original Alf Becker alphabet. Of course, the challenges present in bringing typographic functionality to what is essentially pure hand lettering gives the spirit of the original art a hell of a rollercoaster ride. But I think that spirit survived the adventure, and may in fact be even somewhat magnified here. This font is over 850 glyphs. It’s loaded with ligatures, swashes, ending forms, alternates, ascender and descender variations, and extended Latin language support.
Steak comes in 3 versions. According to your taste you can choose Barbecue, Braised or Smoked. It’s up to you!