Keystone State Relative  |  1999, Anuthin Wongsunkakon, commercial.

Keystone State Relative font specimen (full alphabet)

Font set contains: Two styles, Native, with roller-coating artifacts, and Relative (shown above), a clean-cut regularized version.

About this typeface: Anuthin Wongsunkakon of Thailand is one of a new breed of young typeface designers from Asia who are equally at home creating Roman alphabets as Oriental characters. Interestingly enough, he happened to choose the state of Pennsylvania’s license plate font as his model here, only to realize after completing it that Christian Schwartz (of Pittsburgh) had been at work on the font Pennsylvania based on the same source at nearly the same time. (Pennsylvania was released within a year after Keystone State.)

Keystone State and Pennsylvania compared. In a note about Keystone State, Wongsunkakon professes embarrassment that his font is sloppier than Schwartz’s version, the latter of which was intended to be capable of extended text use in addition to display. However, the rougher look of Keystone State Native is more faithful to the appearance of the license plate font (which Schwartz himself confirms), so which one is “better” depends on the intended usage. Also, the Relative style here does not itself appear to be “sloppy,” so it may be it was added later after the original Native font as a clean-cut alternative.

One additional difference between Keystone State and Pennsylvania is that the former closely replicates the narrower width of the license plate lettering. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, is less condensed, likely in the interest of a more normally proportioned typeface since the font family was intended for use in text as well as display headlines.

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