Pirate Fonts
In Search of Pirate Fonts?

Many a treasure hunter in search of the "Pirates of the Caribbean font" have been lead to this site. Unfortunately, it would appear that the logos for the films and theme park attractions use custom designed lettering rather than off-the-shelf fonts.

Typical. The next hope might be that some font designer has taken on the task of extrapolating the POTC logo into a cleverly-titled freeware font. And alas, if backward-engineered pirate-logo typography suits your taste, you'll find Steve Ferrera's Pieces of Eight font a worthy candidate to sate your appetite.

Pieces of Eight sample

But if you're a-hungerin' for more, this guide promises to showcase a selection of pirate-esque type sure to fulfill any swashbucklin' artist's design requirements. And aye, some of 'em are even free!

Our first stop is the Pirates & Fonts page at typOasis. Here we find collected an impressive bounty of freeware pirate fonts and dingbats. Once you've filled your coffers with gratis goodies, don't overlook their list of recommended commercial pirate fonts (which should not be confused with pirated commercial fonts!).

Pirates &
				Fonts page at Typoasis (opens in a new window)

The folks over at Typophile have also shared some suggestions for pirate fonts in an informative thread. A search for the word "pirate" at MyFonts.com will yield an up-to-date list of worthy faces.

When it comes to well-crafted antique fonts, David Nalle's Scriptorium foundry produces scads of them, with their Colonial Fonts package featuring a representative sampling of pirate motifs. Some of the fonts in this collection have been widely used in Disney's marketing for the rides, films and events. David has also published an informative look into the design process of his Captain Kidd font, which could be of help to anyone adventurous enough to try producing their own pirate fonts.

Looking at some of Disney's signage and promotional POTC materials, Caslon Antique seems to be a very common choice for text, and there is available a freeware Type 1 version digitized by Dieter Steffmann. (You'll also find plenty of historic blackletter designs in his vast collection.)

Caslon Antique sample "CASTILLO DEL MORRO"

Disney's promotional material for the films has made use of classic designs such as the distressed Blackadder script and the medieval Blackmoor (you'll find that Blackwood Castle, another freebie from Dieter Steffman, mimmicks Blackmoor's lombardic design dead-on). Greek-inspired titling fonts Trajan and Charlemagne make obligatory appearances, and Galliard reprises its role in the marquee's subtitle (though Charlemagne is sometimes seen in its place).

Blackwood Castle sample -
				"Plundering 101"

Some of the incidental fonts at Walt Disney World's Pirates ride are listed in my Disney Fonts List, such as Art Gothic which was previously used for the text "SAIL WITH THE TIDE" on the signs in the courtyard. Due to Art Gothic's use as the title font for the TV series Murder, She Wrote, it can be found as the aptly renamed freeware variants Lansbury and Fletcher Gothic.

Art Gothic sample "SAIL WITH THE TIDE"

The panels containing the ride's description text "A THRILLING ADVENTURE CRUISE..." as well as the old hanging sign for the "HOUSE of TREASURE" shop are based on a victorian-era typeface called Columbus. Scriptorium sells a digital version under the name Beaumarchais; Xara offers a budget clone called Deneane.

There are some new additions since the ride's reopening in 2006, like the "Dead Men Tell No Tales" banner on the tower. Calligrapher Arthur Baker is famous for this style of lettering, which is evident in his font designs such as Visigoth. Manfred Klein offers a script called Callimundial which has a similar feel, and is free for private and charity use. (Manfred's fonts are also free for commercial use, but if there's any profit he requests a donation be made to organizations like Doctors Without Borders.)

Callimundial sample "Dead Men Tell No Tales"

Bookman appears in several places in the Caribbean Plaza area, usually hand-painted with swashes. This Swash version of Bookman was once extremely hard to find as a digital font, but its popularity has prompted a couple of noteworthy revivals in recent years. In 2006, Jason Walcott produced a single-weight collection called Bookman Complete. Mark Simonson's 2011 mega-revival Bookmania went even further, featuring five-weights and a massive set of characters.

Bookman Swash sample "A Pirate's Life for Me"

For a final bit of trivia, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction CD sold at the parks features the worn typewriter font Attic Antique on its artwork.

And in case anyone was wondering, the fonts appearing in the headings atop this page are Windlass and Treasure Map Deadhand.

DISCLAIMER: This website is in no way affiliated with the Walt Disney Company.