FontCast

Our FontCast series features the most interesting figures in typography and design.

David Sudweeks interviews Michael Hochleitner, co-founder of the Austrian graphic and type design studio Typejockeys on the kind of work they do, the role of mentor Martin Tiefenthaler in the creation of an Austrian type scene, and what the name Typejockeys means.

Frank Grießhammer is a type designer and developer working in the Adobe Type team. He graduated from the Type and Media masters program at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) in 2010. Prior to that, he studied graphic design at HBKsaar in Saarbrücken, Germany; and at ISIA in Florence, Italy. His published typefaces include Stempel Elan, FF Quixo, and the ongoing open source project Source Serif Pro.

Travis Kochel is a partner at Scribble Tone, a design studio based in Portland, Oregon. Their work explores intersections of type design, interactive experiences and branding. They are creators of FF Chartwell, a set of fonts to create simple graphs within text boxes. First published by FontFont in 2012, the unconventional font family has received recognition from Fast Company, Communication Arts, Typographica, and ATypI. Travis currently teaches typography, typeface design, and interactive design at Portland State University.

John Berry describes himself as an editor & typographer — reflecting his care for both the meaning of words and how they are presented. He is both a former editor and publisher of U&lc, and served as president of ATypI from 2007–2013. He writes, speaks, and consults extensively on typography, and he has won numerous awards for his book designs. John started the Scripta Typographic Institute in 2013.

As a type designer, typographer, graphic designer, toy designer and novelist, Max Phillips has worked custom lettering into nearly every project he’s touched. Focusing his career now on type design and lettering, Max released FF Spinoza with FontFont in 2011 and continues to publish under his own foundry label, Signal.

Georg Seifert is a type designer and a software developer. His typeface families Graublau Sans and Graublau Slab have become international bestsellers. He also designed the signage system for the new Berlin Airport, complete with type and symbols. He is best known for the font editor Glyphs App. Georg lives and works in Berlin.

Rob Saunders has collected examples of calligraphy, type, and generally, letterforms, over the course of his lifetime while pursuing a career as a designer, teacher, children’s book publisher, and marketing consultant. He founded Letterform Archive in 2013 to share his collection with the design community. In this interview, Rob discusses his initial interest in type and letters, and his aims as creator and curator of this new institution. Mark Simonson is an independent typeface designer and font developer who works out of his home studio in St. Paul, Minnesota. He occasionally takes lettering assignments and font commissions and very occasionally writes. Most of his time is spent making new typefaces for the retail font market. Mark’s more well-known works include Proxima Nova, Coquette, and a digitized version of his own handwriting, Felt Tip Roman. John Hudson is a type designer and co-founder of Tiro Typeworks. Specializing in custom font solutions for multilingual publishing and computing, John has created or collaborated on types for Arabic, Burmese, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Greek, Gurmukhi, Hebrew, IPA, Javanese, Latin, Odia, Sinhalese, Telugu, Thai, and other writing systems. This 20-minute main feature titled New (type) face for Amman introduces both the type family designed by Yanone, and daily life for the Jordanian designers who work with it. The designers Ahmad Humeid, Ahmad Sabbagh, Roba Al-Assi, Zeina Darwatsah, Ibrahim Owais (and Yanone) share their thoughts on the graphic identity of their home town, and the role of its new “corporate typeface.” Font technicians Christoph Koeberlin, Inka Strotmann, and Jens Kutilek, and head of Type Department Andreas Frohloff explain the inner workings of FontFont’s Type Department. Donald Beekman from Amsterdam (FF Imperial, FF Flava, FF Soul) and Albert-Jan Pool from Hamburg (FF DIN, FF OCR F). Martin Wenzel from Berlin (FF Profile, FF Duper), Łukasz Dziedzic from Warsaw (FF Clan, FF Good, FF Pitu), and Siegfried Rückel from Berlin (FF Alega, FF Nuvo). Michael Abbink from New York City (FF Kievit, FF Milo) and Erik van Blokland from The Hague (FF Trixie, FF Erikrighthand, FF Beowolf). We visited proprietor Damon Styer at his [now previous] location on 11th in San Francisco’s SOMA area, and followed him to a job up the street. Later we sat down at Adobe Bookshop in the Mission where New Bohemia was hanging their first show. Damon describes the “muscle memory” that drives such quick and legible, yet beautifully imperfect work. In the second half of our interview with Jim Parkinson we take a deeper look at his work, including the Rolling Stone 20th Anniversary cover and logos for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Newsweek. Jim talks about the difference between designing a logotype and a typeface and we get a glimpse at his plans for the future. Legendary magazine and newspaper designer Roger Black, who has been working with Jim Parkinson longer than nearly anyone, did us the service of offering an introduction to FontCast #11. Roger tells the story of meeting Jim in 1976 at Rolling Stone where he created the typeface that would later become Parkinson, “a sort of Nicolas Jenson on acid.” Jim Parkinson is a Bay Area native, returning after a short stint at Hallmark in Kansas City to design the iconic logotype for Rolling Stone during its heyday in the early ’70s. That work led to hundreds of other magazine and newspaper nameplates (Newsweek, Esquire, Billboard, LA Times), band logos, and typeface designs over the next four decades. John Downer introduces the subject of FontCast #10 with a personal story involving lettering that closely resembles his own Roxy typeface. José Scaglione and Veronika Burian met in 2006 at the University of Reading in the UK and formed a small collaborative foundry that would become TypeTogether. Their name is fitting, given that the partners continue to work closely together despite a substantial geographical divide (Argentina and Prague). After years of working as a magazine art director in Brazil, Crystian Cruz took a hiatus to the UK’s University of Reading where he developed his ideas for typeface design. He returned to start an editorial design consultancy, armed with expertise in both sides of typography: type creation and type use. Dyana Weissman of The Font Bureau is one of the few type designers who claims to actually enjoy the tedious task of assigning thousands of kern pairs to each font. She explains the difference between kerning and spacing, why it should be done by hand, and the mystical concept of flow. Stephen Coles spoke with Erik Spiekermann about the early history of FontShop. Erik describes the business climate of the time, the genesis of his idea for a type reseller, and the first few months of the business. Erik Spiekermann during the Typ09 conference in Mexico City talks about the interesting parallels between using web fonts as a service and typesetting the old-fashioned way. Christian Schwartz had released hundreds of fonts by the time he was 30 through FontFont, Emigre, House Industries, and The Font Bureau. He how operates Commercial Type with Paul Barnes. Here Christian discusses the future and early challenges of webfonts as he sees them. David Berlow offers his insight into webfonts from a long perspective spanning the very early days of digital type technology. Roger Black and David Berlow started The Font Bureau in 1989. Si Daniels was there for the development of Microsoft’s Core fonts for the Web, the EOT format, and the ClearType technology and fonts. The burning question of this 2009 interview was “Will Internet Explorer support WOFF?” Bryan Mason begins the series talking about webfonts and his then–soon-to-launch webfont subscription service called Typekit. Typekit came online in 2010, and in 2011 was acquired by Adobe.

The FontCast series began in 2009 as a collaboration of FontShop creative director Stephen Coles and designer Chris Hamamoto. David Sudweeks picked up production of the series in 2014. FontCasts capture stories by practitioners of type design, typography and the greater letter arts.