Budapest, oh Budapest. Such a beautiful and cold (very, VERY cold) city. As a brazilian used to a winter with temperatures no lower than 10°C, Budapest really made me wear almost all my winter clothes at once just to go to the supermarket at the corner. Not complaining, because now I get out of home with 15°C wearing just one shirt, an opened coat and calling it summer. Do I miss the 35°C brazilian summer? Not at all.
So let’s talk about architecture. The Hungarian architecture is majestic. When you see the parliament for the first time (and second, third, tenth), you almost listen to a choir of angels on the background and it’s impossible not to say “wow”. It’s a gothic architecture, and it has the same details as almost every other Hungarian building (except for the patterns, we’ll talk about that later). Building in a light color, roof in a dark color (usually dark red, dark green or almost black).
Mr. Majestic during the day
The parliament from a sunny Buda side – yes, it’s huge.
Almost on fire, but with lights. And the Danube river.
This parliament was my first impression of the city (and the building I most loved by far) because we stayed really close to it, and this is why my main color inspiration was this building. But after that, I discovered another typical detail of architecture – geometric details on the roof. You can see them over the beautiful Matthias Church and on the Great Market Hall, below.
The Great Market Hall
As you can see by the second picture, there’s a diamond-shaped pattern on the roof and on the first floor, and this shape repeats on other buildings around the city, but in a more smooth way. I thought it would be interesting to use it in the background of the lettering. I really love curves and ornaments, but these geometric styles conquered me.
Still talking about the ornaments, I found out that generally they have a lot of small ornaments on almost everything, specially on plates painted by hand (like those below that I found at a small hungarian fair). For the frames on the top and bottom of the postcard, I used those tiny details in black inside the plates.
The whole city is covered by those ornaments so I confess that it was very difficult to land on one option.
About the word itself, what caught my eyes the most was the second most ancient subway line of Europe (losing only for London), that is really small and it has those stylized titles on the drop cap of every station name.
The ornaments around the drop cap are so small, but so beautiful and to me that made all the difference.
With that in mind, I started to search about the main style, that would probably be a thinner serif. Here are some references:
With that in mind, below are a couple of sketches I tried:
In the end the font style chosen was one inspired on the streets’ signs and the one used on the ancient subway. I even added some details line the inner line and the drop shade, because even though Budapest is a city with a lot of gothic architecture, there’s A LOT of younger people taking over the city in a really positive way, and opening those amazing ruin bars (like these ones below). So I think the drop shade and the inner lines could break the classic-gothic appearance of the lettering.
To conclude, I think you could notice that I used the parliament and roofs’ colors that I mentioned before, with a dark background with the goal of being almost as majestic as that parliament. Not that I could get any closer, but we try. Anyways, here’s the final lettering: