Song of the Sea

Silkie and Saoirse title fonts design

Arts & Culture + Design & Media

Arts & Culture + Design & Media

Feature length animation film Song of the Sea from Cartoon Saloon follows the story of a 10-year-old Irish boy named Ben who discovers that his mute sister Saoirse, is a magical selkie who has to free faerie creatures from the Celtic goddess Macha. Hand-drawn like all of Cartoon Saloon's films, it needed a title card graphic to capture the celtic soul of the film and its richly woven characters.

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CI Studio was commissioned with the task of custom-designing a set of fonts for its title sequence, credits and to help with the promotion of the film internationally. The hand-drawn lettering is styled in the hand of Saoirse, the lead child character and is complemented by SOTS Silkie Script, capturing Saoirse’s joined handwriting.

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Saoirse Hand is a custom OpenType typeface while SOTS Silkie Script is a customisation of the Opensource font Learning Curve.

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The typeface features an extensive character set to support, English, Irish, Danish, French, German and Danish versions of the film as well as the addition of some fun images and ligatures which can be unlocked by typing certain combinations of letters.

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SOTS Saoirse Hand was conceived and hand drawn in the studio before being carefully digitised. During the design process, we created multiple versions of each character to reflect the non uniform feel of real handwriting. Using Opentype script, these alternate characters are programmed to automatically generate random versions of each character as they are typed.

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The typeface is used in both the film’s title sequence and identity, and also in the supporting marketing collateral for the film which was nominated for an Oscar in 2015.