Decorative Initials Using Igino Marini’s IM Fell


s yDecorative initial Aou can clearly see, I got a little out of hand with the A, allowing it to sprawl all over the page in a kind of organic explosion. Seems appropriate enough for its shape, which recalls a mountain erupting up through the earth of the baseline grid, at least to my eye. I’ve simply allowed time to drape it in greenery, adorning it with curves to match its natural sharpness and angularity.

Traditionally, such decorative initials aim for a squarer shape, allowing the accompanying text to run more closely against and around it. The shape for this A runs more toward the rectangular, allowing for more breathing room and creating an area of very light typographic color, calling a great deal of attention to itself.

Decorative initial for B

eware the more upright and acute B, for it features less even color. Its counters explode with a riot of florid curlicues and fleur-de-lis, creating a dense and dark internal mass. That thickness and complexity also creates a subtle illusion of swelling, turning the normally negative space of the counter into a positive shape echoing the rounded three-dimensionality of the circular forms behind and before the letter. Outside, however, the space opens up, with a row of knocked-out flowers preceding a large row of circles, which two smaller rows echo after the letter.

I plan to continue this project to produce a complete set of decorative initials, one for each letter of the alphabet. In the meantime, feel free to use these, if you’d like, on your own blog or website. Doing so is quite easy: Just right-click on the image and select Copy Image Location. Alternatively, if you think you might use these on a regular basis, go ahead and download the image to your hardrive for easy reuse later. Once you’ve got the location or the image, just drop it in at the beginning of a paragraph, make sure it’s aligned left with zero padding on all sides. Enjoy!

If you’d like to find out more about Igino’s fabulous project, head here: If you like the fonts, you’ll be pleased to know that Google has been kind enough to provide it (as well as many other fonts) for free use on your site. If you’d like to find out more about that, head here: