Archive through January 06, 2002

anonymous's picture

This is my first post, but anyway, I was thinking that House Industries makes a darn good living doing what they do. What is it five, or six guys. My customer number is in the 28,000s and their boxed sets, love them or hate them, seem popular among people I know. I've bought four of them.

[Anonymous #1]

Jared Benson's picture

Now *there's* a tangent I can relate to.

It's not type design, but graphic design (deadline-based schedules) that puts the strain on a relationship. No matter how you try to spin it, staying late night after night to make a deadline makes it real hard to be an effective husband and father.

On the other hand, sometimes I am glad that I'm done with the whole dating scene, because I certainly would not have time to do it now.

When you run your own shop (type design or otherwise) you can call your own shots, scope projects with plenty of time to get them done, and stay as late (or not) as you'd like.

Working at HTF was a pleasure and such a contrast to my other design studio experiences. It was rare that we had to stay late. Why? No client-driven deadlines.

proud dad,


anonymous's picture

One more to add to the list...

Jonathan Barnbrook

Why no-one has mentioned this guy yet is unbelievable! Worth checking his stuff out!

anonymous's picture

I pretty much agree with Anon #2, BJ and Jared.

As to Tiffany's question, I think that there's certainly some benefit to having a partner who understands why you're doing what you're doing, even if they don't understand what it is. And/or is similarly involved in their own "thing".

Have we now established that there are more than 10 type designers in the world?

Joe Pemberton's picture

For what it's worth Zuzana and Rudy seem to do
well together...

My advice: just look for someone who could
appreciate your Emigre XYZ pajamas. Heh.


anonymous's picture

Yeah, well you should know.

anonymous's picture

Tiffany, I'm with you, people with strong feelings/commitments/interests don't need to bounce off each other, they can be complimentary - in the same or different fields.

Ditto for Joe.

anonymous's picture

It seems to me that, while certainly not everyone who tries will make a living for her-/himself designing fonts (as is true for any profession), those names listed who HAVE made it did so by a combination of finely honed skill, business sense and tenacity.

And I'm not even gonna touch Clive's "bounce off each other" remark.... >:]

anonymous's picture

David, you're about right.

I think I can probably put this to bed right now. Hrant, you're not objective, you just don't know, or even acknowledge, what you don't know. Maybe you meant "objectionable"?

People making their living full time from type, just in London:

Businesses (more than one person):

HouseStyle: Dave Farey, Richard Dawson

Foundry: Freda Sack, Struart (can't remember his surname) and another woman work there on type

Dalton Maag: Bruno Maag, Vince Connare (former MS), Dave Marshall and... Ron Carpenter.

Individuals running their own businesses:

Shelley Winter

Jason Smith

Jeremy Tankard

This list excludes people who would usually be in London: David Quay is currently living in Amsterdam, Chris Fynn is on a two year contract in Bhutan.

So, excluding those whose names I can't remember that's 11, just in London. Including the two outside the country that's 13, and the other whose name escapes me 14. If I wanted to scour the rest of the UK I'm sure I could easily get up to 20 or 25.

anonymous's picture

I think we're counting people who earn most of their income from type design, right? I don't see that negates anything I've written above, if you'd like to state what it is you think you know that I don't please do.

What you seem to want to count is anything that supports your initial assertion that there were 10 full time type designers in the world. I just counted 12 (added Satwinder Sammy, but didn't show up) and I didn't even get outside London.

So, please, tell me what it is that excludes those I've listed. How does London form part of the basis of your argument anyway!? I'm just indicating that in a small geographical area I can exceed what you keep stating.

anonymous's picture

Martin Archer:

>The number of type designers in the world that
>make enough money to call it their sole
>profession (that's not the
>best definition, but hopefully you understand
>what I mean) is probably less than twenty.


>Way less than 20.

I just named 12 in London, and two more who would usually be in London, so your figure is easily proven to be complete bollocks.

Now to exceed your 20:

Jonathan Hoefler
Tobias Frere-Jones
David Berlow
Matthew Carter
Rich Roat
Cyrus Highsmith

That's twenty

Erik van Blokland

QED: you are wrong.

anonymous's picture

Martin, I'm not getting shirty. I'm using your quote as the parameter and Hrant's continued assertion that it's less than you state. I doubt anyone can come up with a definitive answer, but I think I can take a pretty good guess at it and it's "way more" than twenty.

Hrant wants to dismiss the list I supplied, but makes no statement as to why, except that I have "drowsy judgement". My guess is he's never heard of half the people I named.

If he wants to say why they are excluded, we can see why I'm so wrong. But the quotes from you and he set the parameters, if he wants to move the goalposts to fit his criteria then that's another matter.

anonymous's picture


I stand by my previous assertions that there are "way more" people than 20 making a living (however you want to figure that out) from designing type and stand by my previous lists of London-based people who do so and my list of 21.

If you think I'm incorrect then please state which ones you believe are wrong.

anonymous's picture

I dont think anyone have mentioned the norwegian designer,Magnus Rakeng. Even if he do graphic design in a broader sence than just typography I would assume that his first 5 five fonts have contributed to his living.(His five fonts are: Pilot, Envy, Superduper, Radio and Telenor)
Telenor is designed exclusivly for Norways largest tele-company Telenor....its a sweet delight:)) His other fonts can be bougth at Thirst...

You could alwys visit his domain at:
Melkeveien being his new company:


anonymous's picture

Erik, sorry mate, I only know where you are (and those international flights must really cut into the budget), not what you'e doing! :-)

anonymous's picture

Martin, I don't know for sure either way, but I would imagine that the ratio of "top seller" to average is at least 20:1, and may be as high as 50:1. Much like any other sales chart.

paul's picture

Robert Slimbach has done some serious bestsellers for Adobe - Minion, Adobe Jensen, Utopia.

What about Frutiger? Univers has been a steady bestseller for decades, and I'd guess that the 'Frutiger' typefaces are earning substantial royalites.

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