10. Typographers for Designers: Kontour / Sibylle Hagmann

It’s always exciting to come across a prominent female designer. I don’t consider myself a feminist by any means but after several art history courses, you begin to be overwhelmed by just how male dominant art has been for hundreds and hundreds of years. Of course there are always exceptions but it doesn’t seem like it was really until the end of the Modern era and more of Contemporary times have women really made great strides/splashes or at least have received some of the recognition they truly deserve.

Kontour is a type foundry and creative studio based out of Texas founded by Sibyelle Hagmann. Hangman is most notable for her Cholla (which was coincidentally released by Emigre- see previous post) and Odile type families.

There is a great interview with her here, by the FontShop in their series the FontShop Celebrates: Women in Design.








09. Typographers for Designers: Emigre / Zuzana Licko

Zuzana Licko is the co-founder of Emigre, which originally was a graphic design magazine published between the years of 1984 and 2005. Emigre is now a hugely successful distributor of design software and materials as well as a type foundry that holds rights to over 300 (!!!) original typefaces. Zuzana herself is responsible for the revivals of Baskerville in Mrs Eaves and Bodoni in Filosophia (LOVE!- see below) and numerous other typefaces (The Font Shop has 54 font families attributed to her) . I thought it was pretty interesting that she began her work on a first generation Mac.

Some of my favorite typefaces from Zuzana are:

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I love the angular “a” in the Base 12 families. And although I am not typically a fan of serifs, the ones in the first type are still enjoyable to me. The angled terminals on the “r” and “f” are interesting and unique, and I love that the same design is carried over to the serifs.



The quirky ends of the letters in this type family is interesting. Some letters end with serifs and letters that you think should as well (like the “d”, “u”, and “a”) have a fun little diagonal flip to them. It’s really cool. I also love the narrowness of the letters, especially on that “e” and in the counter of it.





Journal Text is really just appealing to me because it is very fun and casual. Almost has a carved look to me.



Probably my most favorite out of the bunch and probably because I am ridiculously attracted to unicase types. They seem like such an illusion, make you stop and think if you are really looking and lower case letters or upper case letters. Super cool.





08. Typographers for Designers: Otl Aicher

Otl Aicher was a German graphic designer, typographer, author, and teacher.

Typography wise, he is best known for the Rotis. An extensive collection of type families each including numerous styles (including a Semi Serif- which I didn’t even realize could be a thing).



He is actually probably better known though for his designs for the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. He used a bright color palette, the Universe typeface, and created pictograms for each of the sports played (a pretty good way to communicate to the numerous languages present at such an event).

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Additional Information:




07. Typographers for Designers: Eric Gill

Just like László Moholy-Nagy in my previous post, Eric Gill was a jack of all trades in the art world. He was a painter, sculptor, stonecutter, and a type designer. His name might be familiar as it is the namesake of the famous Gill Sans font family.


Gill is also known for the Perpetual and Joanna typefaces.



This here, is a comprehensive list of the fonts created by Gill:


According to a timeline of Gill’s work history on Linotype.com, it would appear that the man let an intensive work career in the arts and especially in type:

1899–1903 – Works in an architect’s office. Takes lessons in lettering with Edward Johnston at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.

1905–09 – Produces initials and book covers for Insel publishers in Leipzig.

1906 – Designs initials for Ashedene Press.

1907 – Moves to Ditchling, Sussex. Here he produces stone sculptures, including for the BBC building in London.

1914 – Produces sculptures for the stations of the cross in Westminster Cathedral in London.

1925–31 – Works for the Golden Cockerell Press (initials, illustrations and an exclusive text type).

1927–30 – Develops Gill Sans.

1928 – Works for London Underground’s administrative headquarters. With his son-in-law he founds his own hand-press which prints luxury bibliophile editions.

1927–30 – Develops Golden Cockerell Roman.

1929 – Develops Solus.

1929–30 – Develops Perpetua.

1930 – Illustrations for the last number of “The Fleuron” magazine.

1930–31 – Develops Joanna.

1932 – Develops Aries.

1932 – Develops Floriated Capitals.

1934 – Develops Jubilee.

1937 – Designs a postage stamp which is in use for 15 years.

1936 – Made a Royal Designer for Industry.

1938 – Produces stone tablets for the League of Nations building in Geneva.

“The shapes of letters do not derive their beauty from any sensual or sentimental reminiscences. No one can say that the O’s roundness appeals to us only because it is like that of an apple or of a girl’s breast or of the full moon. Letters are things, not pictures of things.”


Also, and not to overshadow Eric Gill’s achievements, but the man led a very eccentric personal life, that might be interesting to read more about; including his development of three self-sufficient religious communities.

EDIT: Interestingly enough, I just found this article after I published this blog. It looks like Monotype has revamped and remastered Eric Gill’s Gill Sans and Joanna for the 21st-century.

Additional Resources and Information:





06. Typographers for Designers: László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy was genuinely a jack of all trades artistically. He was a photographer, sculptor, and probably most famously, a painter. In the context of this course though, he was a pioneer of graphic design. Influenced by such styles like constructivism and expressionism, he expanded on the idea of photo montages with what he called “typo-photo”. These were a blending of photography and typography. Huge components of graphic design today and huge components in the development of graphic design in the early twentieth century.

“What is typophoto? Typography is communication composed in type. Photography is the visual presentation of what can be optically apprehended. Typophoto is the visually most exact rendering of communication.”

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Resources and additional information can be found at:




05. Typographers for Designers: typecuts / Andrea Tinnes

Andrea Tinnes is awesome.

Her work is just absolutely amazing and SO. MUCH. FUN. It’s quirky, bright, interesting. It was so hard to only grab a selection of her work for this post because it is all so so very cool.


Andrea Tinnes is a type and graphic designer located in Berlin. She is also an educator and has been teaching for numerous years. Typecuts is the label Tinnes created to independently produce and create contemporary fonts. The typecut website is a vast collection of Andrea Tinnes work in both typography, graphic design and her approach to education including assignments (unfortunately all in German currently).

The whole website is neat and clean, and the way it is sectioned off is really organized. One of the things that stands out most to me, is that it isn’t just pictures. There are detailed descriptions of the works, what they were for, why they were created, the fonts used, clients, typefaces, and so on. It’s really nice to see a piece of work and get a bigger picture of it.


Typecuts_B Typecuts_C Typecuts_D Typecuts_A

The typefaces Tinnes creates are unique and exciting. The way they are displayed are very informational too. There is a specimen piece, information regarding the types, single font views, character sets, fonts in use, and a downloadable PDF. How much more information could you want to know?

One of the most intriguing sets she creates are these dingbat-ornamental-esque graphical fonts. All designed at the same width and height and with the same center, so that when overplayed, the ability to create crazy, different icons is available.


In her teaching section she also displays student artwork too, which is absolutely inspiring. I don’t know what they assignments were but the quality of both the work and the display is absolutely amazing. I don’t know what the standards are in Germany but I feel as though they put to shame anything that I have created thus far in my education.

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If it was seriously and financially possible to own all of Andrea Tinnes fonts right now, I would love it and jump at the chance. I feel as though I enjoy her work so much because it blends with my own design aesthetics, loves, and inspirations. Playing around with any of these would be incredibly fun. I sincerely hope she puts up her teaching lessons and assignments in English because I would love to see her approach and ideas. Definitely a designer to follow in the future.

04. Typographers for Designers: Jan Tschichold

Jan Tschichold once claimed to be one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography and his career was evidence of this. He created numerous font families including the well-known Sabon, worked with numerous foundries (such as Adobe), had a career that spanned nearly 55 years, and authored The New Typography (among other books), which after  87 years is STILL in publication.

Tschichold developed a taste for lettering as an assistant to his father, a sign writer. He started teaching illustration at only the age of 14 which led eventually to his own pursuit of education in any and all creative areas of study such as: engraving, bookbinding, wood cutting, and especially in calligraphy and script. Influenced by Bauhaus, Tschichold began to develop sans-serif fonts which quickly brought him under the scrutiny of the Nazi’s because they believed his typography to be un-German. Although his home was raided and he was briefly imprisoned, he was able to relocate to Switzerland. Eventually he drew away from the sans-serifs and returned to a classical style (which he had favored before the Bauhaus) with his type and design. Throughout his life, he taught at numerous schools, freelanced as a commercial graphic designer, worked for many publishers (including a position as art director at Penguin Books), and worked as a design consultant. All in all, sounds like a pretty busy and yet very successful life.

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03. Typographers for Designers: KLIM

KLIM type foundry was a bit hard to research in terms of history and information, so please bear with one of my sources being Wikipedia (not the most reliable I know).

KLIM was founded by Kris Sowersby in 2005 and is based out of New Zealand. This foundry designs retail fonts, custom fonts, as well as lettering and logos. His first font released was Feijoa, released in 2007.



It’s the lettering and logos section that is especially cool and captivating to a student of typography because there are numerous displays and examples of just how type is more than just text. It often serves as a brand or creates an emotion.




The KLIM website is pretty awesome from my own personal perspective. I love the simplicity and straight-forwardness of it. It’s matter-of-fact: here is what we do and here are examples. The fact that you can test drive the fonts right there in the window is pretty smooth too.



On a person note, and if Wikipedia is to be fully trusted, it looks like Sowersby was born the same year as I was which leaves me feeling both inspired that he could be so successful in typography at this point in life and also feeling a bit behind as I am only now starting my journey into design.






02. Typographers for Designers: Adrian Frutiger

“The whole point with type is for you not to be aware it is there. If you remember the shape of a spoon with which you just ate some soup, then the spoon had a poor shape … Spoons and letters are tools. The first we need to ingest bodily nourishment from a bowl, the latter we need to ingest mental nourishment from a piece of paper.”

Adrian Frutiger was a modern Swiss designer, typographer, and type designer. His career spanned a majority of the twentieth century as well as the early twenty-first. After attending school, he was a typesetter’s apprentice from 1944 to 1948 . After this, he attended the College of Technical Arts. In 1952, he became the artistic director of the type foundry Deberny & Peignot. He evetnually left the foundry to open a studio for graphic arts together with Andre Gürtler and Bruno Pfäffli near Paris.

It is thought that Frutiger advanced traditional typography into digital typography. He created numerous fonts that are easily and universally recognized and used world-wide including Univers, Avenir, and the appropriately named Frutiger










01. Typographers for Designers: Typotheque

Typotheque is a design studio and type foundry based in the Netherlands. Their about description on their site makes the claim that as a type foundry, they want to investigate this idea of “contemporaneity” or that they want to create work that reflects today, this time period, and to serve the needs of this time. They also hope to make a significant contribution to the history of type development. It would appear that they have been pretty successful at the latter, developing extended language support and being one of the first foundries to license their entire collection for web use.

There are quite a few things that I really like about this foundry and their website. I love that they show their fonts in use. It’s exciting to see how they are used and what they are used.


I also love how they show their design work in series. It really helps to see all angles of a piece and even the contexts those are used it. I noticed that some of the studio work was also W.I.P. or works in progress which is pretty cool to see how some ideas start out and form. On an aside, I also love how both the fonts in use and the studio work are displayed in these clean grids of clickable thumbnails. They don’t take up too much space on the initial page and allow for the user to click on whatever catches their eyes.


After browsing through their font collection, I have to say there appears to be an abundance of sans fonts. Eventually they start to blend together a bit. However, and this is probably just personal choice speaking, I really love their novelty/decorative fonts. They seem to be quite catchy and unique and I can see multiple ways and contexts in which any of these could be used. Here are a few examples of my favorites:

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Honestly though, I feel as Typotheque has much more to offer than just type. Their website itself is a wealth of information including articles on graphic design and blogs discussing their new fonts, font families, and news. Plus throw in their studio design work and Typotheque appears to have also contributed to not only the history of type but the world of graphic design as well.