Type Network opened its doors one year ago today, launching with nine foundry partners: CabargaType, Carter & Cone, DJR, Font Bureau, Greg Thompson, Lipton Letter Design, Occupant Fonts, TYPETR, and Victoria Rushton. The changing landscape of type—an increasingly savvy public, the rise of type education as a discipline, continuing globalization, the emergence of web fonts, the first stirrings of OpenType variable fonts, a proliferation of solid new typefaces—necessitated a different sort of company. “When we launched a year ago, we were a bit vague about what we were. Not because we didn’t know what we wanted to be, but because the words would have been empty marketing speak,” said founding partner Sam Berlow. “We wanted to create a work environment where everyone felt ownership of what they did and how they did it.”
As Type Network envisioned it, this new company would be a hybrid: part quality controller, part distributor, and all collective. It would mix old and new; established partners like Font Bureau and Carter & Cone would rub elbows with up-and-comers like Victoria Rushton and CJ Dunn, thus underscoring Type Network’s commitment to tradition, innovation, and mentorship. The spirit of collaboration runs high; partners share resources and knowledge. For Jill Pichotta, a longtime Font Bureau veteran who oversees quality assurance at Type Network and scrupulously reviews every single font that goes out the door, such teamwork is galvanizing. “There is a lot of power and possibility when great designers join together to share their creativity and talent,” she mused.
There is also power in numbers. “When Type Network launched a year ago,” recalled Occupant Fonts’ Cyrus Highsmith, “one of the big questions on my mind was if we would be able to expand it beyond former Font Bureau designers.” Expand we did. The following months saw us welcome eight new foundries: CJ Type, CSTM Fonts, Kontour, Mark Simonson, Monokrom, Newlyn, Retype, and Type-Ø-Tones. More are on the way. But this expansion hasn’t just been about simple growth; Type Network focuses intently on a measured selection of potential collaborators. “I am so pleased to be a part of this carefully-curated collection of top creatives in the font-making world,” says Zavier Leslie Cabarga, “and I very much appreciate being dragged along into the ever-evolving future of font marketing.”
Yes, marketing. As Typographica’s Stephen Coles (who was involved with Type Network in its early conceptual phase) put it, “the design of type is inextricably entwined with the business of type.” When fonts emerge into the world, people need to learn about them—and Type Network has a robust editorial and design apparatus in place to promote new work. Our first year has been busy and productive. We have released—are you ready?—Gimlet, Gasket, Delaney, Scout Text, Farnham Headline, Kopius, Odile, Elido, Axia, Axia Stencil, Forma, New Rubrik Edge, New Rubrik, New Herman, New Frank, New Farm, Dunbar, DINOsaur, Magasin, Guapa, Multi, Embury Text, Meno, New Hero, Fit, Proxima Soft, Coquette, Kinscope, Lakeside, Bookmania, Mostra Nuova, Proxima Nova, Bennet, Big City Grotesque, Pilar, Kazimir Navigo, New Zen, Kopius Condensed, Allium, Arboria, Arbotek, Harri, Rumba, Joost, Nordvest, Mønster, Faunus, Satyr, Vinter, Gautreaux, Laski Slab, Laski Sans, Lavigne, Medusa, and Guyot Headline.
Beyond specific releases, Type Network supports its foundry partners in other ways. Sometimes we write profiles of them, as Amy Papaelias did with Greg Thompson. Other times, our partners tell their own stories—beautifully. We occasionally delve into the mechanics of individual typefaces, as Yves Peters has done with Bennet, Fit, and Embury Text. Peters has also reprised his popular ScreenFonts series, where he analyzes movie-poster typography and plumbs the Type Network library for alternatives to some of the faces used.
This is all part of a larger effort to bring the community of independent foundries that is Type Network to the community at large. We maintain an ongoing dialogue with clients, customers, and friends via our newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The latter, in particular, seems to resonate with people—Festival of Type, Type Lovers, and 36 Days of Type proved especially popular. But our outreach is not purely digital; we also enjoy getting out into the so-called real world from time to time. Our partners frequently attend (and sometimes speak at) conferences internationally, and Type Network has proudly sponsored TypeCon, ATypI, SND, An Event Apart, Smashing Conference, Typographics, AIGA, and Adobe Max.
So come say hello, either digitally or in person. Tell us how you’re using our faces. And wish us well! The coming year promises to be even busier than our first, and we look forward to many prolific years to come.
All Type Network fonts are available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To keep up with what we’re doing, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.