Blue Pencil no. 13 Addendum—Standard Deviations

One of the nagging aspects of the Museum of Modern Art’s acquisition of digital fonts for its Architecture and Design collection is the cloaked identity of those that advised Paola Antonelli and the museum. I don’t presume to have an answer to who the advisors were, but I do have a list of those I believe they should have consulted.

Peter Karow, inventor of the Ikarus type design and production software that converted existing typefaces and artwork into digital format; co-founder of URW (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber); author of Digital Typefaces (1994). Because of Ikarus URW was the leader in digital font technology in the 1970s.

Mike Parker, typographic director at Mergenthaler Linotype from 1963 to 1981; co-founder of Bitstream, one of the first digital type foundries; currently advisor to Font Bureau.

Richard Southall, author of Printer’s Type in the Twentieth Century (2005) and contributor to Computers and Typography (1993); phototype and digital type designer and researcher since the early 1960s, working at Crosfield Electronics, Ltd., Xerox PARC, Stanford University and others.

Frank Romano, printing industry consultant who began his career at Mergenthaler Linotype in the 1960s. He founded eight publications, among them Type World (later Electronic Publishing) which chronicled in great detail the rapidly changing world of type manufacture and design from the late 1970s through the 1980s.

Charles Bigelow, type historian and co-owner of digital type foundry Bigelow & Holmes; co-designer with Kris Holmes of the Lucida family of fonts; author of the first article about digital typefaces intended for a lay audience.

Matthew Carter, type designer with half a century of experience at Mergenthaler Linotype, Bitstream and Carter & Cone Typography; co-founder of Bitstream; designer of Snell Roundhand, Bell Centennial, ITC Galliard, ITC Charter, Walker and Verdana.

Gerard Unger, type designer for over thirty years; worked in the 1970s and 1980s with Dr.-Ing. Rudolf Hell, the firm that pioneered digital type; designer of Hollander, Swift and Gulliver.

Sumner Stone, type designer at Autologic, Adobe and Stone Type Foundry; director of typography at Adobe in the 1980s; designer of ITC Stone family and Cycles family.

Erik Spiekermann, type designer and information designer; founder of MetaDesign and co-founder of FontShop; author of Rhyme and Reason (1987) and co-author of Stop Stealing Sheep (1993); designer (or co-designer) of Meta, ITC Officina, FF Unit and FF Transit.

Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko, co-founders of Emigre magazine and Emigre Fonts. VanderLans, as editor and magazine designer, and Licko, as type designer, together embodied, recorded and promoted new digital type designs during the tumultuous first decade of DTP (desktop printing); Licko designed Oakland, Matrix, Mrs. Eaves, Base 9 and Base 12.

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, type designers and partners in Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Hoefler established Hoefler Type Foundry in the late 1980s; designer of Hoefler Text, HTF Didot, and the Proteus Project. Frere-Jones worked at Font Bureau from 1992 until the formation of Hoefler & Frere-Jones in 1999; designer of Interstate, Poynter Old Style, Benton Modern and Benton Sans. Together they are responsible for Mercury, Gotham and Requiem.

Fred Smeijers, type designer; co-founder of OurType; author of Counterpunch (1996); designer of FF Quadraat, Renard, Arnhem and Fresco.

Together, these fourteen individuals (nine from the United States and five from Europe) played instrumental roles in the development and promotion of digital type from the late 1960s to the present. Their experiences range from old metal type foundries trying to make the transition first to phototype and then to digital type; new digital foundries riding the transition from mainframe to microcomputer to personal computer; and boutique type foundries established in the wake of the DTP revolution. Their perspectives are not just those of the font designer, but also of the manufacturer, the programmer and the historian.