Happy Halloween everyone! Have you ever wondered what typeface Satan would use? No? While this might seem like a trivial question to you, for a graphic designer who wants to dress up as Lucifer himself, this is of course a crucial issue. And now that I have solved this, I may as well let all you Printer’s Devils enjoy it too. So be my guest and download your very own contract (deed) for selling your soul to the devil for free.
I have formatted it so that you can print 2 copies on an A4 sheet and then cut off the white edges leaving just the deed with the parchment background. The quality should be enough for any basic home or office printer.
Download deed for selling soul full colour version here (pdf, 665 kB)
(Coincidentally, nice file size, eh!)
The text is original by me, and I hereby release it under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Feel free to use the deed to amuse you, your family, and your friends. If you want to share this online, go ahead, but I would appreciate a mention of the origin and if possible also a link back to here. The background image is from atextures.com, which also prevents this being used commercially.
I tried to word it so that it shouldn’t offend or scare anyone too much. It has clauses that are made to be humorous, but should also actually clarify possible legal questions. Also I tried pre-empting some of the debates that it might cause. Like it has an escape clause for the event that there are no souls. It makes clear while it deals in immaterial things (‘souls’) this does not affect other immaterial rights like copyright. And as the Prince of Darkness is a sly one, it only hints at people receiving wealth and sex in exchange for this deed. So you don’t end up with the pressure of actually delivering anything. Of course, it’s totally up to you and your resources if you actually wish to deliver some of these…
The full text of the deed reads as follows:
I, ………… hereby relinquish my soul (my incorporeal essense) to the holder of this deed, to be collected after my death.
- 1. I retain full possession of my soul as long as I am alive, no matter however so slightly.
- 2. This deed does not affect any copyright, immaterial, or other earthly rights, recognized by human courts, before or after my death.
- 3. I take no responsibility about whether my soul does or does not exist. I am not liable in the case there is nothing to collect.
- 4. Similarly, I acknowledge that in exchange for signing this deed I might or might not receive immeasurable earthly riches, debauchery, and whatever I desire. (But it could happen!)
In case you or your victims are worried about any legal issues, you can have people sign this with just their first names or even nicknames. You can tell them that, ‘it doesn’t really matter because we know who you are, mwhahaa!’ Another good idea is to burn the deeds after signing if you’re outdoors or have a fireplace or something. This will add a nice theatrical effect – call it something like sending it to hell or archiving it in fire. It at the same time ‘validates’ the contract for HELL and nullifies it for earthly law.
If you are wondering what is the difference between a contract / agreement and a deed, it’s quite simple. A contract would be signed by both parties. A deed is kind of one-way action, and thus it is signed only by one person. Like in this case, the signatory is just giving something away which doesn’t require the consent of the receiving party.
And the typeface issue? Well, I didn’t want to spend too much time on this one, so I kept it simple. At first I thought it should be Didot or Bodoni, because Satan is basically a dandy. And then it needs a drop of blackletter to signify the gravity – and perhaps also the Christian roots of the concept – of the soul. (I know, it’s a cliché, but it works.)
But the combination of a Didone and the background image is not the most readable. I thought that in a Halloween party or club the lights will be dim and perhaps coloured. So best to make it as readable as possible. So instead went for good old Caslon. As they say, when it doubt, set it in Caslon. Caslon is very readable but it also has nice blackness, gravity, and a slight air of an older world.