A while back, a user named Purple Tinker released a font called Celestia Medium aiming to recreate the look of the font used for certain titling lines in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. When I first saw the font mentioned on Equestria Daily back around March, I pointed out the real font that she was attempting to recreate, and the comment was summarily ignored. I've been busy with other things, but I've finally managed to sit down and put some thoughts together on this subject.
Specifically, Celestia Medium is a subset of Harold Lohner's Generation B
. Generation B is a unique character set designed to evoke the style of hand-drawn titles from fifties and sixties television and movies. Harold cites specific examples such as The Parent Trap and Gilligan's Island. Harold goes into detail on the creative process he used to create the typeface on his website.
Generation B is the font used in the official marketing and promotional material for Friendship is Magic. Anyone who opens up one of the press release or promotional PDFs in Acrobat and does a Document Properties or checks the textlines using Pitstop will see this in about five seconds.
You might ask "Dan, Harold made a font that is "inspired" by something, what's wrong with Purple Tinker's?"
The difference is that Celestia Medium is a literal trace (or possibly worse, a copy and paste of outlined glyphs) of Generation B, except without all of Harold's expert kerning, metrics, and multiple character sets. It's the ultimate definition of knockoff. If you compare the titling of "The Parent Trap" to Generation B, for instance, you'll notice that the letterforms are similar stylistically, but very different in terms of actual execution. Secondly, the titling in The Parent Trap was not an actual font, but rather hand-drawn titling done by a graphic artist. The vast majority of the character set didn't exist, and Harold had to create a lot of the font's style from scratch. Its inspirations and lettersets span multiple drawn titles, taking bits and pieces from each. While you could recreate The Parent Trap's title card using Generation B, you won't be able to do it just by typing - you'll have to go and modify the letterforms and change many other things to match it. With the multiple character sets, you can also create titling evoking other classic shows and movies using Generation B - its very versatile.
In the world of fonts, it is very difficult to make "true" rips without infringing on someone's art and copyright. However, if you modify the letterforms and metrics enough, they become new entities. This is why many similar, yet different fonts exist. A classic example is Arial versus Helvetica. Microsoft, not wanting to pay for using Linotype's Helvetica, decided to make what amounts to Helvetica with just enough changes to make it not identical. This resulted in the poor bastard brother, Arial. Unfortunately for Purple Tinker, the goal of Celestia Medium is to basically mimic Generation B as much as possible. This is even proven in her changelog
where she explicitly calls out changes made to match Generation B.
While Purple Tinker hasn't illegally redistributed the GenerationB font binary, the knockoff version she has unleashed is inferior to the original in almost every way. It's missing the complete character set, the kerning and metrics are totally different, and the letterforms aren't perfect renditions in some cases. This isn't a case of homage, it's more like plagiarism. Now, Purple Tinker isn't selling or profiting off of this font, so I doubt she would face any serious legal repercussions - even though I think Harold would be well within his right to issue a takedown. However, from an artist's integrity point of view, she is doing a disservice to the community at large and depriving Harold of sales of the true font. My beef is not so much with Purple Tinker herself - after all, anyone with Illustrator and the proper font creation tool can make a knockoff. Had she not done it, somebody else probably would have.
If you're thinking about making artwork or designs relating to FiM and are thinking about using the Celestia Medium font, consider this. If you are trying to ape the look of FiM's graphic design, why not go all the way and use the real font? There's only two real reasons that I can think of where you would use Celestia Medium - one, ignorance, and two, cheapness. Ignorance is no excuse - I've searched long and hard for specific fonts when creating designs. As an artist, you should do your due diligence. For cheapness, Generation B is only $20 USD. If you want to use the real font, you should buy the real font. Don't use a knockoff.
With regards to the Redux version, please check out my latest entry on this subject