How to Use Smokum: A Funky Western Display Font to Get Attention

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In This Issue…

How to Use Smokum: A Funky Western Display Font 


  • Font of the Week: Smokum
  • Design idea: Design Tool of the Past: Creating Wood Type
  • Color Inspiration: Calm Colors
sample of Smokum
Sample of Smokum

Font of the Week 

What is a Western-style font?

Specific fonts remind us distinctively of American Old West. These decorative, bold styles with heavy serifs are found in western movies, restaurant signage, and wanted posters. Many are also “Wood Type, ” letters curved on a woodblock, then used on a letterpress. Looking at them brought memories of wagons, cowboys, dusty trails, and horsebacks.

Smokum has the charm of this Old West style. It resembles something seen on a wanted poster from a western flick or at your local barbeque joint.

img: Old West Style fonts found on the streets of America
Old West Style fonts found on the streets of America; source

Font Detail

  • Reverse stress
  • Large stroke contrast
  • One weight only
font details

Specific Usage Tips 

How to use Smokum for logos?

Because Smokum has a significant stroke variation, the thinnest part of the letter breaks down when the logo is displayed at a smaller scale. Therefore, it is not suitable for logos at its original design.

How to use Smokum for marketing and branding?

Smokum is a display font excellent for attention-demanding graphics. Though it is Old West influenced, it can be used for other things, as long as it is appropriate for the content’s tone. For example, it is not appropriate for serious subjects, like news headlines. Also, avoid using it for paragraphs because it is not for text.

Internal magazine at Medium uses a large contrast slab serif Maelstrom, a font similar to Smokum; source
Display font makes attention-grabbing design when used at large sizes ; source

Design Idea of the Week

Design Tool of the Past: Creating Wood Type

A remnant art of past technology, wood type creation is becoming a disappearing craft. In this video, the last wood type cutters (workers who convert letter design into working wood type by carving letters into wood blocks ) of Hamilton Wood Type, once the largest wood type company in the world, share their stories.

Color Inspiration

Calm Colors

This week, please enjoy this calm color palette from a lovely lotus flower illustration.

Blush Pink #D9B2BA | Blush #FFC9DD | Laurel #C7D1BD | Sage #8EA18C
color inspirations

Typography Jargon Buster


The space between individual letters or characters.

typography jargon buster

Want more? check out the jargon buster glossary page.

Creative Prompt 

Create something with Smokum! 

Thank you

…for reading and hanging out here this week! Smokum is available here.

font infographic

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