Page Revised: 16 Aug 2019
One of the most "1980s" things about these cars is the unabashed retro look and feel of that decade. In a lot of ways, the Cougar was the epitome of its time: formal, elegant, futuristic, but in a rounded-square sort of manner. And there's nothing wrong with that. Our eye tends to look for recognizable shapes, and our cars sure had them in droves.
In doing some research for this site and for my parts collecting, it occurred to me that I never recalled seeing an actual font that was used in the nomenclature on the Cougar. Other Ford and Mercury vehicles used the same typeface as well, and they harken back to at least 1978-79. Yet there was no trace of this font anywhere. So I decided to make one, based upon the nomenclature.
How does one start this task? Quite literally, scanning the emblems then tracing over them with a vector image program. Then output all characters and import into a font building program. This sounds easy but it's a lot harder than it sounds. There is a steep learning curve to all of this, and the programs can be a little counter-intuitive at the start. But in the end I accomplished what I wanted.
In doing this little project I learned a few things. It's not a properly aligned font; in other words, the spacing and width of letter parts are all over the map. While this is good enough for an automotive emblem, it's not so great when you're typing on a screen. So there was a bit of give-and-take with the proportions and spacing. Also, some letters and numbers did not exist in emblem form so I had to improvise. And all of the punctuation marks and special symbols were created from scratch by pure guesswork. I know there are some characters missing, and that's more the fault of the font program than anything. For the life of me, I could not envision a lowercase version of these letters, so it's just a display (headline) font in that respect. Overall, though, I'm happy with the final version and hope you will be as well.
When it came time to name the font...well, one thing came to mind immediately—rather, one person. The font is named Telnak, after the renowned US Ford designer of the 1970s-1990s, Jack Telnack. I figured I owed him for designing my favorite car in the world, so this is my tribute to him, his brilliant staff, and the forward-thinking attitude at Ford when it was truly needed.
I am making this Telnak font available for anyone to use as they wish, free of charge. You can choose OpenType (.otf) or TrueType (.ttf), whichever your particular device can handle. I hope you enjoy using the font in your projects as much as I did making it.