Prince’s Custom Font

Typesetting like it's 1993.

As Brian Feldman earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard in 2010-13, he interned along the way at BuzzFeed and Bloomberg. He graduated with a major in Film Studies and minor in Computer Science, because the latter he says is ‘actually useful knowledge to have.’

Feldman, now a staff writer with New York magazine, tapped that knowledge for a fun post this year about a colorful juncture in the evolution of Prince as an artist and businessman. The distribution of floppy disks and CD-ROMs in 1993 to help journalists adapt to the Purple One’s new symbol moniker:

Steve Parke, who worked with Prince at the time, helped mail out the floppy disks. “He basically wanted people to start using that for his name in journalism,” Parke recalled, “and — I gotta be honest with you — I was like, ‘huh.’ I just remember when I started looking at those things I was like, ‘Really? I wonder how that’s gonna play out.’”

It worked out pretty well. “I just remember maybe six months later,” Parke noted, “looking through Rolling Stone one time and seeing that symbol and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive.’” After all, could any other artist convince a major music publication to integrate a custom font?

Perhaps the most hilarious part of Feldman’s article is when Chuck Hermes, another one-time member of the Paisley Park graphic-design team, recalls how Prince’s skepticism about a weird newfangled concept called a “chat room” disappeared once his employee mentioned it had helped facilitate a connection with a member of the opposite sex.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
When Prince Hung Out at Helena’s