About Font BureauCreating custom type since 1989
Font Bureau is a digital type studio and one of the leading foundries for typeface design. For over twenty-five years, Font Bureau has designed custom typefaces for almost every major American publication. Its retail library includes some of the most celebrated fonts on the market.
Responding to advancing technologies and the changing needs of our clients, Font Bureau has been instrumental in launching three new ventures. In 2010, Font Bureau cofounded Webtype to provide high-end fonts for online typography (including a new series of Reading Edge fonts specifically designed for text on the screen). We also cocreated Ready-Media, offering world-class design in media templates for both print and web. Lastly, we supported the development of Fonts In Use, an independent site that examines fonts in the real world. While font technologies continue to evolve, the core principles and skills required to design high-quality, worthwhile typefaces have changed little. The decisions about what designs to produce and how to craft them draw upon a base of typographic knowledge built firmly on hundreds of years of tradition. This remains the essence of what Font Bureau does and why we are successful. Font Bureau was founded in 1989 by publication designer and media strategist Roger Black and internationally known type designer David Berlow, initially to serve the emerging needs of microcomputer-based magazine and newspaper publishers seeking unique typographic identities. The company remains small and privately held, with independent designers providing infusions of creativity. Full-time staff and designers direct the studio operations in Boston, which serves as the company’s headquarters. Font Bureau’s staff and type board includes David Berlow and Roger Black (Founders), and Sam Berlow (General Manager).
David Berlow entered the type industry in 1978 as a letter designer for the respected Mergenthaler, Linotype, Stempel, and Haas typefoundries. He joined the newly formed digital type supplier, Bitstream, Inc. in 1982. After Berlow left Bitstream in 1989, he founded The Font Bureau, Inc. with Roger Black.
Font Bureau has developed more than 300 new and revised type designs for the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Hewlett Packard and others, with OEM work for Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corporation. Font Bureau’s Retail Library consists mostly of original designs and now includes over 500 typefaces. Berlow is a member of the New York Type Directors Club (TDC) and the Association Typographique International (ATypI), and remains active in typeface design.
Jill Pichotta began working for Font Bureau as an apprentice with David Berlow in 1991, honing her skills on projects for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Condé Nast Traveller, The New York Times, Apple Computer, and other notable brands. She has managed the production of retail releases for independent designers since 1993, and has contributed several of her own typefaces to Font Bureau’s diverse library. Over the years, she has divided her time between various retail, custom, and OEM projects. In conjunction with its mid-2016 launch, Jill Pichotta took on the role of Principal Product Manager for Type Network, overseeing type development and quality for the company’s global alliance of foundry partners.
In retrospect, Dyana sees that she was destined to be a typeface designer. Since she was old enough to read, she would find letters among the tiles in bathroom floors. She went on to major in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, where one teacher told her “the type bug bit [her] the worst.” She is one of the few type designers who actually likes kerning. She has been a presenter at ATypI, TypeCon, and TypeCamp, but also enjoys sharing her expertise locally with college students, wizard rock bands, and astrophysicists. When she is not thinking about type, she is napping, breakdancing, or debating her coworkers about the existence of free will.
Kent Lew began a career in graphic design back in the 1980s while supporting himself through college. After completing his studies in painting and art history, he continued to practice design on and off. In between, there were stints as an art store manager, a baker, a product development director, and even some time spent living in an ashram, before he returned to the work he enjoys most.
Now, Kent is a freelance book designer, type designer, and would-be type historian, working out of his home in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Coming from a family of writers and editors, it seems inevitable that he would gravitate toward the design of words and text. His primary interest lies in text typeface design, drawing heavily on his own experience specifying and setting type, and he is greatly influenced by the work of mid-20th century designers like Dwiggins, Ruzicka, and Blumenthal.
Kent’s first full typeface design, Whitman, was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Type Design and a Judge’s Choice by the Type Directors Club in 2002.
In 1915 Chauncey Griffith, Linotype sales rep in Kentucky, wrote to management criticizing the new specimen book. He pointed out that the library consisted of a long list of filled customers’ orders with no control of duplicate designs, no standard character sizes or sets. He proposed that only the best version of each design should be used as a model, and cut in a complete set of sizes and characters. After a two-day meeting management gave him control of the factory. He promptly introduced his standards, but barely survived the morning when management came to work and discovered that he had scrapped the secondary faces that he considered junk, the bulk of the old library. By 1920 he was Assistant to the President, and before long he was pricing all the machines. He wasted little time in reorganizing newspaper text letting, first with Ionic No. 5, then Excelsior, with its lighter and bolder “grades”, Paragon and Opticon. In 1940, he introduced Corona, champion of the teletype era, the most popular textface in newspaper history. In 1938 he had introduced Bell Gothic, the type that revolutionized production of telephone books. For the commercial world he designed the Poster Bodonis, then Janson and Monticello. Working with W.A Dwiggins and Rudolf Ruzika, he produced the well-known series that became the center of American publishing. Both found that working with “Griff” regularly became a challenging, satisfying, and profitable experience. Trained skills of design imagination were theirs; regularity of fit, color, and duplexing was his. His quiet pleasure was the personal design of non-roman fonts that opened new markets for Linotype machines. The list includes: Porson and Metro Greek; thirteen Arabic designs adaptable for use throughout the Muslem world; Hebrews; the Indian scripts devanagari, Gujarati, and Bengali; Sinhalese for use in Ceylon, Tamil, and Syriac. A natural autocrat in his industrial dealings, he was largely unknown outside Mergenthaler. Within the company he was respected and feared. He viewed the provision of typefaces of high quality throughout the world, roman and non-roman, as a lifetime’s work. He was hugely respected within the factory, respected (and beloved) within the drawing office, and truly beloved by his outside designers, W.A. Dwiggins and Rudolf Ruzika.