The Faces Behind 20 Famous Typefaces

Typefaces are part of our daily lives as visual communicators, we use type in logo design, web design, and other ‘facets’ of graphic design. There are literally hundreds of thousands of fonts available; some free, some commissioned, some good, some bad, and some over-used. Below is a collection of some of the world’s well-known typefaces and a short bio of the typographers who designed them.

Max Miedinger

A Swiss typeface designer, He was famous for creating Helvetica in 1957. Marketed as a symbol of cutting-edge Swiss technology, Helvetica went global at once.

Adrian Frutiger

One of the prominent typeface designers of the twentieth century, who continues influencing the direction of digital typography in the twenty-first century; he is best known for creating the typefaces Univers and Frutiger.

Claude Garamond

A Parisian publisher. He was one of the leading type designers of his time, and several contemporary typefaces, including those named Garamond, Granjon, and Sabon show his influence.

George W. Jones

George W.Jones(1860-1942) was one of the most respected and celebrated fine printers of his generation. He entered the printing business in 1873 (at the young age of 13) and joined the printing house of Raithby & Lawrence in 1883. In 1889 he became an independent printer and publisher adopting vigorous business policies towards graphic design and technology.

Jan Tschichold

A typographer, book designer, teacher, and writer trained in calligraphy. This artisan background and calligraphic training set him apart from almost all other noted typographers of the time since they had inevitably trained in architecture or the fine arts.

John Baskerville

An English businessman, in areas including japanning and paper-mâché, but he is best remembered as a printer and typographer. Baskerville was responsible for significant innovations in printing, paper, and ink production.

He developed a technique that produced a smoother whiter paper which showcased his strong black type. Baskerville also pioneered a completely new style of typography adding wide margins and leading between each line.

Matthew Carter

A type designer who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Carter’s career in type design has witnessed the transition from physical metal type to digital type.

Paul Renner

A typeface designer, most notably of Futura. He was born in Wernigerode, Germany and died in Hödingen. He created a new set of guidelines for good book design and invented the popular Futura, a geometric sans-serif font used by many typographers throughout the 20th century and up till the present.

Monotype Imaging Inc.

A typesetting and typeface design company (type foundry) responsible for many developments in printing technology — in particular the Monotype machine which was the first fully mechanical typesetter — and the design and production of typefaces in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its most widely known product, by far, is the font Times New Roman.

Carol Twombly

American calligrapher and typeface designer who has designed many typefaces, including Trajan, Myriad, and Adobe Caslon. She worked as a type designer at Adobe Systems from 1988 through 1999, during which time she designed, or contributed to the design of many typefaces. She retired from type design in early 1999.

Eric Gill

A British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Today he is a controversial figure, with his well-known religious views and subject matter being seen at odds with his sexual and paraphiliac behavior and erotic art.

Charles A. Bigelow

A type historian, professor, and designer. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1982. Along with Kris Holmes, he is the co-creator of Lucida and Wingdings font families. He runs the Bigelow and Holmes foundry.

Kris Holmes

A type designer, she is with Charles Bigelow the co-creator of the Lucida font family. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her MFA from UCLA Film School in Animation. She has taught at Portland State University.

Vincent Connare

A former Microsoft in-house font designer. Amongst his creations are the Comic Sans font, and the Trebuchet MS font, both of which ship as standard on current releases of Microsoft Windows.