Blue Pencil no. 51—ITC as a Pioneer of Diversity in Type Design

Since the summer of 2020 I have been compiling a comprehensive list of digitized type specimens available online. My list includes some unexpected items such as U&lc, the magazine that ITC (International Typeface Corporation) published from 1974 to 1999. The magazine was a stealth type specimen with every article set in an ITC typeface (identified with a tiny credit at the end and also listed on the contents page). But the great majority of issues also introduced (or sometimes re-introduced) new releases by the company in the usual type specimen manner.

In surveying the digitized issues of U&lc to find those that announced new typefaces, I was struck by the number of types designed by women and others long considered to be at the margins of the profession. [1] A number of the names were familiar to me since I knew (or still know) the individuals personally, but I was surprised at how many I had never heard of before. [2] Here is the list I compiled from the issues of U&lc that cover the years 1984 to 1999. [3]

ITC Bodoni 72 by Holly Goldsmith and Janice Prescott Fishman (International Typeface Corporation 1994). The typeface was part of a broader ITC Bodoni family supervised by Sumner Stone.

Jill Bell (b. ) [United States], calligrapher, sign painter, graphic designer, and type designer. See 22:3, 23:2, and 24:2.
Roselyne Besnard (b. 1946) [France], artist and type designer with Michel Besnard. See 22:4 and 24:2.
Arlette Boutros (b. ??) [England; born Lebanon], graphic designer, typographer, and type designer. Co-founder of Boutros Fonts. See 15:3.
Genevieve Cerasoli (b. ??) [United States], calligrapher, graphic designer, and type designer. See 24:2.
Dee Densmore D’Amico (b. ??) [United States], artist and type designer.
Sigrid Engelmann (b. 1953) [Germany], type designer. See 16:4.
Holly Goldsmith (b. ??) [United States], graphic designer and type designer. See 21:2 and 23:3.
Pat Hickson (b. ??) [England], type designer. Partner in P+P Hickson. See 18:1 and 19:3.
Cynthia Hollandsworth [now Cynthia Hollandsworth Batty] (b. 1955) [United States], calligrapher and type designer. See 14:3. Her ITC Hiroshige (1986) was not located in the digitized issues, possibly because there was no U&lc 14:4 in 1986/1987.
Kris Holmes (b. 1950) [United States], calligrapher and type designer. Partner in the type design studio Bigelow & Holmes and Lucida Fonts. See 16:1.
Helga Jörgensen (b. 1955) [Germany], calligrapher, typographer, and type designer. See 16:4 and 22:1.
Teri Kahan (1954–2012) [United States], calligrapher and type designer. See 23:3, 24:2, and 25:1.
Carol Kemp (b. 1963) [England], calligrapher, graphic designer, artist, and type designer. See 25:1.
Patty King (b. 1946) [United States], lettering artist and type designer. See 22:1.
Tatiana Lyskova (b. ??) [United States; born Russia], artist and type designer. See 21:4.
Janice Prescott Fishman (b. 1952) [United States], graphic designer and type designer. See 21:2.
Ilene Strizver (b. 1953) [United States, typographer, educator, and type designer. See 23:3
Pepper Tharp (b. 1956) [United States], illustrator and type designer. See 22:3.
Brenda Walton (b. 1951) [United States], calligrapher, illustrator, and type designer.
LisaBeth Weber (b. ??) [United States], media strategist, writer, artist, musician, and type designer. See 26:2.
Deborah Zemke (b. 1953) [United States], illustrator, writer, and type designer. See 25:1. She is also credited with ITC Situations One and Two (1997), and ITC Zemke Hand (1997) which I did not see in the digitized issues of U&lc.

ITC Mona Lisa Recut by Pat Hickson (International Typeface Corporation 1991).

Possibly Bob Alonso (1946–2007) [United States], a lettering artist at Photo-Lettering Inc. See 22:4 and 23:3. Alonso’s ethnicity is unclear from the available sources.

Gregory Gray (b.??) [United States], art director, designer and artist. See 22:2.

ParaType / ParaInternational (Tatiana Lyskova, Tagir Safayev, Alexander Tarbeyev, Vladimir Yefimov; and others). See 20:4, 21:4, and 22:3.

Eastern Europe
Victor Gad [born Poland], designer and artist. See 23:3.
Slobodan Miladinov (b. 1968) [Canada; born Serbia], type designer. See 25:1 and 25:3.
Tagir Safayev [Russia], type designer. See 21:4. His ITC Stenberg (1997) might be mentioned in U&lc 24:1, but the link is not functional.
František Štorm (b. 1966) [Czech Republic], type designer and founder of Storm Type Foundry. See 22:4.
Jovica Veljović (b. 1954) [Germany; born Yugoslavia], calligrapher and type designer. See 11:1, 12:3 and 13:3.

South America
Claudio Rocha (b. 1957) [Brazil], typographer, designer. See 24:4.
Luis Siquot (b. ??) [Canada; Argentina], designer. See 23:3.

Mourad Boutros, Arlette Boutros, and John Boutros. See 15:3.

Middle East
Taouffik Semmad (b. 1957) [Canada; born Algeria], designer and artist. See 24:4.

Akira Kobayashi (b. 1960) [Germany; born Japan], type designer. See 24:4.
Satwinder Sehmi (b. ??) [England; born Kenya of Indian parents], calligrapher. See 24:4.

ITC Isadora by Kris Holmes (International Typeface Corporation 1989).

Relevant Issues of U&lc
U&lc 11:1 (May 1984), pp. 30–35—ITC Veljovic by Jovica Veljović.

U&lc 12:3 (November 1985), pp. 29–34—ITC Esprit by Jovica Veljović.

U&lc 13:2 (August 1986), pp. 12-13—”The Square Kufic” by M.M. [Marion Muller].

U&lc 13:3 (November 1986), pp. 36–39—ITC Gamma by Jovica Veljović.

U&lc 14:3 (November 1987), pp. 30–35—ITC Tiepolo by AlphaOmega [Arthur Baker and Cynthia Hollandsworth].

U&lc 15:2 (May 1988), pp. 26–29—profile of Beatrice Warde “Typographic Milestones” series by Allan “Beatrice Warde: First Lady of Typography” Haley. Warde was the only woman in the series.

U&lc 15:3 (August 1988), pp. 8–12—ITC Arabic: six typefaces (ITC Latif, ITC Boutros Calligraphy, ITC Boutros Setting, ITC Boutros Kufic, ITC Boutros Modern Kufic, and ITC Boutros Rokaa) by the team of Mourad Boutros, Arlette Boutros and John Boutros.

U&lc 15:3 (August 1988), pp. 40–45—”Understanding Kanji” by Katsuichi Ito.

U&lc 16:1 (Winter 1989), pp. 26–27—ITC Isadora by Kris Holmes.

U&lc 16:4 (Fall 1989), pp. 26–—ITC Golden Type by Sigrid Engelmann, Helge [sic] Jorgensen [sic], and Andrew Newton.

U&lc 18:1 (Spring 1991), pp. 12–13—ITC Mona Lisa Recut and ITC Studio Script by Pat Hickson.

U&lc 19:3 (Fall 1992), p. 29—ITC Mona Lisa Solid [no designer credit, but presumably Pat Hickson].

U&lc 20:4 (Spring 1994), pp. 23–29—ITC Cyrillic Series: ITC Kabel Cyrillic, ITC Garamond Cyrillic, ITC Fat Face Cyrillic, ITC Avant Garde Gothic Cyrillic, ITC Bookman Cyrillic, and ITC New Baskerville Cyrillic by ParaGraph International.

U&lc 21:2 (Fall 1994), pp. 8–19—ITC Bodoni by Sumner Stone, Holly Goldsmith, Janice Prescott Fishman, and Jim Parkinson. Goldsmith and Fishman collaborated on ITC Bodoni 72.

U&lc 21:4 (Spring 1995), pp. 36–37—ITC Cyrillic Series: The Sequel: ITC Anna Cyrillic, IC Bauhaus Cyrillic, ITC Beesknees Cyrillic, ITC Officina Sans Cyrillic, ITC Officina Serif Cyrillic, ITC Benguiat Gothic Cyrillic, ITC Machine Cyrillic, and ITC Garamond Narrow Cyrillic designed by ParaType (Tatiana Lyskova, Tagir Safayev, Alexander Tarbeyev and Vladimir Yefimov).

U&lc 22:1 (Summer 1995), pp. 29–31—ITC Blaze, ITC Kick,  ITC Skylark, and ITC Spirit by Patty King; and ITC Dinitials by Helga Jörgensen.

U&lc 22:2 (Fall 1995), p. 30—ITC Matisse by Gregory Gray.

U&lc 22:3 (Winter 1995), pp. 34–35, 37, 39; pp. 50–51—ITC Fontek (ITC Carumba, ITC Gigi, ITC Smack, and ITC Hollyweird by Jill Bell; ITC Eclectics by Pepper Tharp); ITC Cyrillics, Part III: ITC Franklin Gothic (Book, Medium, Demi, Heavy and Italics), ITC Korinna (Regular, Bold and Kursiv), and ITC Flora (Medium and Bold), ITC Garamond (Book and Ultra with Italics), and ITC Garamond Narrow (Book and Book Italic).

U&lc 22:4 (Spring 1996), pp. 28, 30—ITC Malstock by Frantisek Storm, ITC Odyssée by Michel Besnard and Roselyne Besnard, and ITC Serengetti by Bob Alonso.

U&lc 23:2 (Fall 1996), pp. 34–35—ITC Caribbean by Jill Bell.

U&lc 23:3 (Winter 1996), pp. 25, 26—ITC Vintage by Holly Goldsmith and Ilene Strizver, ITC Juanita by Luis Siquot, ITC Aftershock by Bob Alonzo [sic], ITC Connectivities by Teri Kahan, ITC Totspots by Victor Gad.

U&lc 24:2 (Fall 1997), pp. 106–109—ITC Cherie and ITC Surfboard by Teri Kahan, ITC Cancione by Brenda Walton, ITC Typados by Roselyne and Michel Besnard, ITC Clover and ITC Stranger by Jill Bell, ITC Arnova by Genevieve Cerasoli.

U&lc 24:4 (Winter 1997)—ITC Gema by Claudio Rocha,; ITC Scarborough, ITC Japanese Garden, and ITC Seven Treasures by Akira Kobayashi; ITC Simran by Satwinder Sehmi, ITC Shadowettes by Taouffik Semmad.

U&lc 25:1 (Summer 1998), pp. 26–27, 29—ITC Coconino and ITC Beorama by Slobodan Miladinov, ITC Holistics by Teri Kahan, ITC Jiggery Pokery by Carol Kemp, ITC Deelirious by Dee Densmore D’Amico, ITC Professional Connections by Deborah Zemke.

U&lc 25:3 (Winter 1998), pp. 29—ITC Freemouse by Slobodan Miladinov.

U&lc 26:2 (Fall 1999), pp. 30–31, 33–34—ITC Magnifico and ITC Vineyard by Akira Kobayashi, ITC Weber Hand by LisaBeth Weber.

ITC and Women

Why was ITC a pioneer in issuing typefaces by women? I think there are two factors. The first is that key figures in the company (notably Herb Lubalin in the 1970s and Mark Batty in the 1990s) were very supportive of women. The second, is that Lubalin—despite his oft-professed claim that he was a failure in calligraphy class at Cooper Union—had a deep interest in calligraphy.

As the creator of U&lc, Lubalin (1918–1981) was involved in both its design and its content. In the magazine’s third issue (U&lc vol. 1, no. 3 [1974]), he introduced a column titled “Ms.” which profiled women in graphic design and related fields, beginning with Annegret Beier of Lubalin, Delpire et Cie in Paris. [4] The column ran until 1981, apparently disappearing with the death of Lubalin.

The first issue of U&lc included two women in the masthead: Jo Vanow as Editorial Assistant and Ellen Shapiro as Art & Production Editor. After that issue no woman is listed (other than members of the production team—aka the staff at Lubalin, Smith & Carnase) until U&lc vol. 6, no. 2 (June 1979) when Lorna Shanks as Advertising Manager and Helena Wallschlag as Advertising Production Manager appear. [5] However, from that issue until the demise of the magazine, women became a major presence in U&lc on both the editorial and production sides. Marion Muller (Associate Editor), Rhoda Sparber Lubalin (Research Editor) were added with U&lc vol. 6, no. 4 (December 1979); Juliet Travison (Assistant to the Editor; later Assistant Editor) and Eloise A. Coleman (Subscriptions) joined in 1981; and Ilene Mehl (now Ilene Strizver) became Assistant Art Director with U&lc vol. 10, no 1 (March 1983). [6] Margaret Richardson became Editor in 1989 and Joyce Rutter Kaye joined her as Managing Editor in 1991. Pat Krugman became Art Production Coordinator in 1989 (later Director of Creative Services). Despite the heavy female representation, the only woman to design an issue of U&lc is Rhonda Rubenstein who was responsible for U&lc vol. 21, no. 4 (Spring 1995) and U&lc vol. 22, no. 1 (Summer 1995).

ITC Smack by Jill Bell (International Typeface Corporation 1995)

In the context of type design, the most important of these women, was Ilene Strizver. She was not only the Assistant Art Director of U&lc, but she played a major role in typeface development at ITC from 1979 until the company’s sale to Agfa Monotype in 2000. [7] When I asked her about the diversity of designers behind these ITC typefaces she said that it was not the result of a conscious decision on her part or that of the company. [8] However, she emphasized that when she became Director of Typeface Development she sought to vary the ITC library by expanding it beyond the standardized type families that made the company famous in the 1970s and 1980s. She also wanted to counter the technological focus that dominated the contemporary type world that had only begun to widely accept digital fonts a few years earlier.

Strizver accomplished these twin goals by looking for calligraphers who could produce fonts with a personal touch, often derived from quirky or unusual handwriting, and illustrators who could design image fonts. Although her goal was to add “marginalized” styles of type—scripts and the digital equivalent of electrotyped cuts—to the ITC library, her efforts in this direction inadvertently brought in women and other “marginalized” groups. [9] This was because women dominated the calligraphy world that had sprung up since the mid-1970s.

Prior to the rash of calligraphic typefaces instituted by Strizver in the 1990s, calligraphy had a long history at ITC, both at its exhibition space and in the pages of U&lc. Two women who were profiled in the Ms. column of U&lc were calligraphers Gun Larson Brunsbo (U&lc vol. 2, no. 3 [September 1975]) (b. 1940) and Jean Evans (U&lc vol. 8, no. 3 [September 1981]). [10] Several years before he designed his first typeface for ITC, Jovica Veljović was the subject of an article in U&lc vol. 8, no. 4 (December 1981) for his work as a calligrapher. Calligraphy was prominently displayed in several issues of U&lc vol. 3, no. 1 (1976), U&lc vol. 3, no. 4 (1976), U&lc vol. 4, no. 3 (1977), and U&lc vol. 7, no. 3 (September 1980); and the magazine also included articles about calligraphers Edward Johnston (1872–1944), Hermann Zapf (1918-2015), Donald Jackson (b. 1938), Raphael Boguslav (1929–2010), and Tim Girvin (b. 1953). [11]

ITC’s exhibitions of calligraphy took place at the ITC Center, a small space carved out of its headquarters at 866 Second Avenue in New York City. The first was International Calligraphy Today (see U&lc vol. 7, no. 4 [December 1980]). Others were devoted to the work of Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse (November 1985–January 1986), and the work of Donald Jackson (see U&lc vol. 15, no. 4 [1988]). Thus, ITC’s calligraphic phase of the 1990s is not as surprising as one would expect from focusing on the typefaces the company produced during the years that Lubalin was alive.

But an emphasis on calligraphy and imagery only partially explains the roster of women listed above who designed typefaces for ITC between 1987 and 1999. At the same time that Carol Twombly and Zuzana Licko were getting acclaim for their work, ITC issued typefaces by Cynthia Hollandsworth (ITC Tiepolo, 1987), Kris Holmes (ITC Isadora, 1989), Sigrid Engelmann and Helga Jorgensen (ITC Golden Type, 1989), and Holly Goldsmith and Janice Prescott Fishman (ITC Bodoni 72, 1994). [12] Hollandsworth, Holmes, Goldsmith, and Fishman had been working in type design for many years. It was only via ITC that they gained wider visibility.

ITC Tiepolo by AlphaOmega [Arthur Baker and Cynthia Hollandsworth] (International Typeface Corporation 1987)

This post is focused on issues of U&lc with information on typefaces by women and other marginalized groups. Other typefaces by these individuals that were released after 1999, the year that U&lc closed, are not included, even if they bear the ITC name (e.g. ITC Puamana and ITC Kahana designed by Teri Kahan and issued in 2004).

1. None of the women listed here are included in How many female type designers do you know? I know many and talked to some! by Yulia Popova (Eindhoven, Netherlands: Onomatopee Projects, 2021), 2nd ed. However, seven of them are noted in Women Typeface Designers by Laura Webber (Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1997).
2. Some of the names on this list (e.g. Jovica Veljovic, František Štorm, and Akira Kobayashi) are well-known today, but they got their start in type design via ITC.
3. U&lc ceased publication in 1999. ITC was acquired in 2000 byAgfa Monotype Corporation (now known as Monotype Imaging). Its name lives on as a brand.
4. The title of the column was clearly inspired by Ms. magazine which debuted in 1971. It should be noted that some of the Ms. columns contain sexist comments.
5. Among the women listed as part of the production team over the years is Louise Fili who worked on the U&lc issues from vol. 3, no. 2 (1976) to vol. 5, no. 1 (March 1978). Lorna Shanks became a Contributing Editor in later issues.
6. Eloise Coleman—who was black—was the first person listed as being responsible for subscriptions. She was also the ITC office manager. Ilene Mehl first appeared as part of the production team in U&lc vol. 9, no. 1 (March 1982). She appears under her married name of Ilene Strizver as Assistant Art Director in U&lc vol. 12, no. 4 (February 1986).
7. Strizver began her career in type design at Photo-Lettering Inc. in 1977. She joined ITC in 1979 and became Director of Typeface Development when Allan Haley left the company in 1995. Today she is best known as the author of Type Rules!: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2014, 4th edition).
8. This comment and those that follow come from a telephone conversation with Ilene Strizver on 6 June 2022.
9. Evidence that Strizver was not intentionally looking for women designers is the fact that the two most prolific designers she hired were Tim Donaldson (b. 1960) and Phill Grimshaw (1950–1998). Both may have come to her attention through their work for Letraset as part of the company’s Fontek series of digital fonts. (Esselte bought Letraset in 1981 and ITC in 1986.) Strizver’s search for illustrators who could make fonts led directly to ITC Matisse by Gregory Gray.
10. Jean Evans (b. 1946) went on to work as a type designer at Bitstream and Font Bureau in the 1980s and early 1990s.
11. This is not a complete list of calligraphically-related articles in U&lc.
12. Arthur Baker co-designed ITC Tiepolo; and Andrew Newton contributed to the design of ITC Golden Type.