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Richard Lipton’s Sloop Script Pro, with Meno Text as the supporting typeface.

Sloop Script sails the Seven Seas

Richard Lipton’s graceful script has learned many languages—and a few new tricks, too.

Sloop Script, released almost a quarter of a century ago, has lost none of its staying power. Richard Lipton’s dramatic design has its roots in the nameplates and titles in John Mecray’s series of paintings of classic racing yachts. They were masterfully lettered by Raphael (“Ray”) Boguslav, who had a particular talent for translating historical scripts into contemporary letterforms, and whose work Lipton admired. Using a narrow broad-edge pen to rough out his own interpretation of the script style, Lipton further refined the elegant alphabets during digitization and developed them into a set of three weights. The original versions of Sloop Script offered capitals with two levels of embellishment, and ascenders and descenders in three different lengths.

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At first blush, this is the same gorgeous Sloop Script. It has the familiar three weights, whose capitals have two levels of embellishment; ascenders and descenders still come in three different lengths. Beneath the surface, though, high-performance OpenType technology offers a plethora of new possibilities.

Sloop Script’s dazzling elegance and timeless quality still earn it a cherished spot in many type and calligraphy enthusiasts’ favorite-fonts lists—but the world has changed, and so has font technology. On one hand, there is a demand for increased language support to accommodate global communication needs. On the other, advanced font features allow all of a type design’s alternate characters to be integrated into a single font file. This led Lipton to rethink his contemporary classic and transform it into Sloop Script Pro, a high-performing OpenType family.

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Sloop Script has expanded its global reach. Lipton fleshed out the character set with additional accents: Greek (top line) and Cyrillic (middle line).

The most visible improvement is the expanded pan-European character set: all three weights now clock in at over 1,200 glyphs. The WGL (short for Windows Glyph List) character set supports all Western, Central-European, and Baltic languages, as well as Turkish, and includes the Cyrillic and Greek alphabets. This more than triples Sloop Script’s initial language coverage.

But there’s also a lot going on under the hood. More than simply incorporating the original alternates into the font files for each weight, Lipton expanded Sloop Script’s potential by adding quite a few new whistles and bells. All of them can be activated via human-readable stylistic sets whose names spell out what you can expect to happen: “Entry Swashes,” “Exit Swashes,” or “Smaller Caps.” Applying these features is hassle-free and, thanks to automatic ligatures and contextual alternates, the calligraphic script sets beautifully out of the box.

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Ligatures and contextual alternates ensure that Sloop Script sets well right out of the box. Stylistic alternates and a new set of smaller capitals allow users to fine-tune the script to their hearts’ content.

Instead of having to switch fonts to change things like the length of ascenders and descenders, every weight of Sloop Script includes the available styles. Clicking the Swash feature adds extra swirls to the capitals and extends the ascenders and descenders; even longer variants can be summoned with the Long swash extenders stylistic set. You can fine-tune individual letters further by choosing from a long-tailed p, a cap-style q, a roman-style r, an ascending y, and a descending z.

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Sloop Script differentiates between connecting forms and initial forms, and offers distinct alternates to get the setting just right.

Lipton designed additional variants for the capitals and numerals. The Smaller caps stylistic set renders the capitals less conspicuous in longer bodies of text; the Alternate figures set has swashes that extend above and below the body of the lining figures. Initial forms and Final forms for certain letters guarantee they look the best at the beginning or the end of a word, and entry and exit swashes can be attached wherever desired to initial and final letters, respectively.

Sloop Script Pro is the upgrade you never knew you missed until you had it. It’s the same typeface—yet its capabilities are now much more vast. Discover the new languages it speaks, marvel at the automated features that catalyze an effortlessly sophisticated look, and dive inside to explore the delectable little extras that transform digital typesetting into fine calligraphy. Lipton’s elegant, expanded script will take your invitations, packaging, branding, and editorial projects to a whole new level.

Like all fonts from Lipton Letter Design, Sloop Script Pro is available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things Lipton, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.

The Type Network staff swipes right.