Are you the next FontFont designer?

May 16th, 2012

The stories and faces behind some of our FontFont Designers

Have you got a tremendous typeface design up your sleeve? At FontFont, we are driven by our love for type and typography and are always on the lookout for new typographical talent. When we started back in 1990, our mission was to create ‘fonts for designers by designers’. Since then, designers from across the world have contributed to our library. Twice a year, the TypeBoard, a committee of internal and external experts come together to review submissions.

Our submission policy continues to be as open as ever; we look for original designs and judge all submissions based on their aesthetic, technical and practical merits. If accepted your design will join the ranks of typographical triumphs such as FF Meta, FF Scala, FF DIN, FF Ernestine, and FF Tisa.

From the well-known to the newly discovered, our designers come from all walks of life. Here are the stories and experiences of three different FontFont designers, who have recently released their typefaces through us.

A lengthy love affair | FF Spinoza

Max PhillipsMax Phillips, a New York–based art director, illustrator, toy designer, and novelist (of the award winning ‘Fade to Blonde’), released his first ever typeface as a FontFont. His first beautiful typeface FF Spinoza was developed over a period (on and off) of eleven years. An elegant workhorse, FF Spinoza is a classic text family with individual character to hold its own in display sizes.

We asked Max what it was like to become a FontFont Designer:

‘Basically, I was asked to join a club whose members include Kris Sowersby, Tobias Frere-Jones, Akira Kobayashi, Jean-François Porchez, LeTeRror, Hannes von Döhren, Martin Majoor, Nick Shinn, Jeremy Tankard… the list goes on. And, of course, Neville Brody and Erik Spiekermann. It was the greatest honor of my professional life.’

When describing what it was like to work with FontFont, he said,

FF Spinoza

‘FontFont took tremendous pains with the work. When Andreas Frohloff returned his first edits on Spinoza, I was a bit dazed.  He’d altered almost every glyph in every font.  In some cases he'd clearly improved things.  In some cases I felt that he was correcting real problems, but that I wanted to correct them in my own way. Andreas was there to help. And that's the way things went. FontFont put a lot of work into Spinoza, but they left the final design decisions to me, even though I was a first-timer and they're the world's foremost independent foundry.’

Joining forces | FF Basic Gothic

Hannes von DöhrenIn contrast to Max, Hannes von Döhren has been designing typefaces for a number of years and set up his own foundry HVD Fonts in 2008. He became well known for his highly successful releases such as Brandon Grotesque, Brevia, Livory, ITC Chino, and Reklame Script. 

In 2010, working with Livius Dietzel, he joined forces with FontFont to release FF Basic Gothic.

FF Basic Gothic

‘On the one hand type design is all about creativity, optical decisions – the visual, but on the other hand there is a lot of engineering behind a font. Therein, I believe, lies the strength of FontFont. There are many type designers who would prefer to concentrate on the visual. FontFont takes over the visual and technical quality testing of font production and with that guarantees an high level of quality for their fonts.’

Fulfilling a FontFont dream | FF Ernestine

Nina StössingerNina Stössinger was also one of our designers who released her first ever commercial typeface design, FF Ernestine, through us. Having studied Multimedia Design and later Type Design, Nina set up her studio in Basel in 2008. Ernestine was born from the search for a versatile monoline text typeface; it's warm with a serious overtone, feminine with an underlying rigid assurance, above all it is charmingly sturdy. She first drew the Roman as a study project at the postgraduate Type Design programme in Zurich, and the Italic in dialogue with Hrant Papazian’s Armenian design.

When asked about what it was like working with FontFont she said:

FF Ernestine

‘To be honest, I have for a long time dreamed of one day not only designing a typeface, but releasing it through FontFont! Ambitious dreams – and I’m still amazed that they have actually come true. I am both proud and humbled to be part of this great library which in my perception sits right at the crossroads of relevance and innovation, utmost professionalism and agile freshness, trustworthiness and openness to experiment.’

Now it’s your turn …  

With the next TypeBoard happening on May 21, you still have time to submit your designs.