Papyrus Must Die

April 04, 2017

For the love of everything holy, please do me a favor. If you use the font, Papyrus, go into your fonts folder right now, and send that bad boy to the recycle bin. Give it an honorable death. A quick death. And then promptly forget it ever existed. It is a font that never should have been but instead has become the go-to for anyone--from your grandmother to your brother--when they get the urge to "create" something with an "earthy" feel. It is for lack of a better word, an abomination. And for designers like myself it has become a joke, often referenced when clients send their idea of what an "earthy", "natural", or "wild" font looks like. It is lazy. If you are a bird or wildlife photographer that uses it for your watermark, you are perpetuating the idea that this font "matches" your photographs. Maybe it does in some cases. But if you think your work deserves better, read on.

For those maybe not aware of what I am talking about, here is a little background. Papyrus is a widely available typeface designed by artist Chris Costello in 1982. Chris spent 6 months designing the font, by hand using a calligraphy pen on textured paper. The distinct font is adorned with "rough edges, irregular curves, and high horizontal strokes in the capitals" (from Wikipedia). The concept for the font is that it should represent what English writing would look like 2,000 years ago on papyrus paper.

The popularity of the font is in part due to its inclusion in many versions of Windows and iOs in the standard font set. Readily available and with a unique look it has become so popular and overused, that even it's own designer has gone on record criticizing the overuse. The design community generally frown upon its use. We mock, point, curl our noses in disgust, and occasionally become visibly ill when confronted with it in the real world.

I follow a lot of photographers of all things wild on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr and am part of groups where photographers--professional and amateur post with regularity. On any given day I am accosted by no less than a handful of photos so willfully shellacked with this font so that its owners may "copyright" its usage, that I recoil and scroll on shaking my head and asking, "why why why?".

As a side note, your photos are already copyrighted. You don’t need to submit a form, and you don’t have to use that “©” symbol or a watermark — those are just customary ways of identifying the copyright owner. But alas, if you must, you don't have to be one of "those" photographers. You can be unique (somewhat). You can be original (more so than most). You can use another font! That's right there are a whole slew of fonts out there you can use for your fancy little "©" watermark you insist on plastering on every single image you share.

To help you get started here are 5 fonts with that "earthy", "natural", or "wild" feel you seem to love with Papyrus.

Cabin Sketch

IM Fell English

Octin Vintage



And here are 5 fonts that are clean, easy to read, and will give you that professional look you want and need.


Caviar Dreams




And as my gift to you, here are all 10 of these fonts available zipped and ready to use. Just tap the very ironic download button below! Please use them, please share this. Please help us do the right thing, and put Papyrus to death in the genera of bird and wildlife photography!

Thanks for listening to me rant, I hope you enjoyed!

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