Hello all. Do any of you know what the initials are called that come in a set of two for each letter? Each one is intended to be printed using a different colour and are usually very “scripty” I have seen them called Massey initials, but are there others? Do you know where I might get a set?

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The Massey Initials you are looking for were offered by Monotype. There are indeed two sets. Monotype serial number 126A was the basic design and 126B is the second color to “fill-in” the letters. These were in the F&S catalog a few years ago and are probably still available (?). Contact F&S Type Founders, Inc., P.O. Box 1011, Bensenville, IL 60106. Phone: 1-708-766-1230.

ATF also had Cloister Initials and offered a solid 2nd color background to go with them. They also offered Della Robbia Initials with a distinct 2nd color “fill-in” for each character.

Another 2-color combination is Cheltenham Bold together with Cheltenham Outline.

One last way to get a 2-color effect is to print the base image and then go back later and apply the second color with a small ‘artist’ brush or even a felt-tipped pen. Slow, but it gets the job done with sometimes spectacular results.

There were many different two color initials made. They are not easy to find, but maybe if you place a free wanted ad in the Letterpress Classifieds you will get lucky and can find someone who has the font or letters that you need or some other font you like.

Some samples of other two-color fonts are in our Cuts & Caps section under Initial caps. A variety of examples are Cloister, ATF Bookman, and Westminster that can be used alone or with elaborate ends as shown below. Some of these have enough detail to use them in small sizes on polymer plates, or if you need a large metal initial, you may wish to have a cut made by a photoengraving service. See the Printer's Yellow Pages under ‘Cuts/dies,’ for businesses that offer these services.

image: wh.jpg


BarryG -

I just happened to notice that the Skyline Type Foundry offers a set of the 2-color Massey initials for a reasonable cost of $40 (+shipping).

Go to to see the fonts available and their pricing.

I see Foolproof already got to it!

Skyline offers the initials, and they are well-made. They are cast on a fully rebuilt Thompson sorts caster, and Sky has very high standards for his product.

I will probably order those when I can find a reason to print with them…