Typewolf

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24 Independent Type Foundries That Monotype Doesn't Own

July 23, 2014

The type community has been in a bit of an uproar after last week’s news of the acquisition of FontShop by Monotype. FontShop’s FontFont library was the world’s largest independent collection of original typefaces while Monotype is a huge publicly traded company that already owns the Linotype, ITC, Ascender and Bitstream type libraries.

I’ve seen responses ranging from light-hearted jabs about Erik Spiekermann “cashing out” to extreme tirades against capitalism.

Monotype

Lyle Lanley explaining what the name Monotype means.

FontShop claims that they are now more independent than ever, saying everything will stay the same within the company but they will now have the resources of Monotype backing them.

All Your Fonts Are Belong to Us

Seemingly within minutes of the news breaking, an anonymous spoof Twitter account popped up called Monopolype Imaging. The account attempts to acquire all the remaining independent foundries.

I find the tweets pretty hilarious for the most part, however I feel like the person behind the account must actually be pretty upset with the whole thing.

Monopolype

Monopolype is on a mission to acquire all the foundries.

I think the name “Monotype” certainly doesn’t help the situation — it sounds like a corporate monolith that has a monopoly on the type industry. But really, I think people might be overreacting…

My Thoughts on the Acquisition

I personally don’t have much of a problem with the acquisition coming from the perspective of someone who purchases typefaces. Maybe if I was a type designer I would feel differently. But the truth is, FontFont has an excellent library of typefaces and they will still be the same typefaces even if Monotype owns them.

(Update: Chester Jenkins from Village pointed out to me that Monotype will only own Erik Spiekermann’s designs — the other fonts in the FontFont library will remain the intellectual property of their creators who signed 10-year publishing contracts with FontFont.)

FontShop may very well had valid business reasons for going forward with the sale. I don’t know what their financial situation was like. And type is the core business of Monotype, so it’s better that they were purchased by a company that focuses solely on type, rather than a company where type is just a portion of their business (like Adobe).

The purchase price was $13 million, which seems shockingly low to me in the days of Facebook purchasing WhatsApp for $19 billion. But I guess the type industry just isn’t that big in comparison.

There Are Still Plenty of Excellent Independent Type Foundries

So however you feel about the acquisition, I still wanted to highlight 24 of my favorite independent type foundries who continue to produce awesome work on their own.


24) Okay Type

Chicago-based studio of type designer Jackson Cavanaugh.

Popular typefaces: Alright Sans and Harriet.

Harriet font sample

The font Harriet from Okay Type.


23) HvD Fonts

Germany-based type foundry of Hannes von Döhren established in 2008.

Popular typefaces: Brandon Grotesque and Supria Sans.

Brandon Grotesque font sample

The font Brandon Grotesque from HvD Fonts.


22) Colophon Foundry

London/New York City-based type foundry established in 2009.

Popular typefaces: Apercu and Relative.

Apercu font sample

The font Apercu from Colophon Foundry.


21) TypeTogether

Partnership between type designers Veronika Burian and José Scaglione established in 2006.

Popular typefaces: Adelle and Adelle Sans.

Adelle Sans font sample

The font Adelle Sans from TypeTogether.


20) Lineto

Swiss type foundry established in 1993.

Popular typefaces: Circular and Akkurat.

Circular font sample

The font Circular from Lineto.


19) Mark Simonson

Type designer based in Minnesota.

Popular typefaces: Proxima Nova and Grad.

Proxima Nova font sample

The font Proxima Nova from Mark Simonson.


18) Milieu Grotesque

Berlin/Zurich-based type foundry established in 2010 by Timo Gaessner and Alexander Colby.

Popular typefaces: Maison Neue and Maison Mono.

Maison Neue font sample

The font Maison Neue from Milieu Grotesque.


17) Grilli Type

Swiss type foundry established in 2009.

Popular typefaces: GT Walsheim and GT Haptik.

GT Walsheim font sample

The font GT Walsheim from Grilli Type.


16) Klim Type Foundry

New Zealand-based type foundry of Kris Sowersby established in 2005.

Popular typefaces: Tiempos Text and Founders Grotesk.

Tiempos Text font sample

The font Tiempos Text from Klim Type Foundry.


15) exljbris Font Foundry

Netherlands-based foundry of type designer Jos Buivenga.

Popular typefaces: Museo Slab and Calluna.

Calluna font sample

The font Calluna from exljbris Font Foundry.


14) Just Another Foundry

Germany-based type foundry of Tim Ahrens and Shoko Mugikura founded in 2004.

Popular typefaces: Lapture and Facit.

Lapture font sample

The font Lapture from Just Another Foundry.


13) Darden Studio

Brooklyn-based studio founded by Joshua Darden in 2004.

Popular typefaces: Freight Text and Freight Sans.

Freight Sans font sample

The font Freight Sans from Darden Studio.


12) A2-Type

Type foundry set up by the London-based design studio A2/SW/HK in 2010.

Popular typefaces: Regular and Battersea Slab.

Battersea Slab font sample

The font Battersea Slab from A2-Type.


11) TypeTrust

Los Angeles-based design studio and type foundry of Silas Dilworth.

Popular typefaces: Heroic Condensed.

Heroic Condensed font sample

The font Heroic Condensed from TypeTrust.


10) DSType

Portugal-based type foundry established by Dino dos Santos in 1994.

Popular typefaces: Acta Display and Leitura News.

Leitura News font sample

The font Leitura News from DSType.


9) OurType

Belgium-based type foundry established in 2002 by Fred Smeijers.

Popular typefaces: Arnhem.

Arnhem font sample

The font Arnhem from OurType.


8) P22 Type Foundry

New York-based type foundry established by Richard Kegler and Carima El-Behairy.

Popular typefaces: P22 Underground.

P22 Underground font sample

The font P22 Underground from P22 Type Foundry.


7) Typotheque

Netherlands-based type foundry established in 1999 by Peter Biľak.

Popular typefaces: Plan Grotesque and Fedra Serif.

Plan Grotesque font sample

The font Plan Grotesque from Typotheque.


6) Process Type Foundry

Minnesota-based type foundry established by Eric Olson in 2002.

Popular typefaces: Colfax and Maple.

Maple font sample

The font Maple from Process Type Foundry.


5) Commercial Type

A joint venture between Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz, who have worked together since 2004. They publish their own fonts as well as fonts designed by an international team of collaborators.

Popular typefaces: Graphik and Atlas Grotesk.

Graphik font sample

The font Graphik from Commercial Type.


4) Dalton Maag

Type foundry established in 1991 with offices in London and Brazil.

Popular typefaces: Aktiv Grotesk and Effra.

Aktiv Grotesk font sample

The font Aktiv Grotesk from Dalton Maag.


3) Village

Brooklyn-based co-op with member foundries located around the world.

Popular typefaces: Balto and Ogg.

Ogg font sample

The font Ogg from Village.


2) Font Bureau

Boston-based type foundry established in 1989.

Popular typefaces: Benton Sans and Miller.

Benton Sans font sample

The font Benton Sans from Font Bureau.


1) Hoefler & Co.

New York City-based type foundry formerly known as Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

Popular typefaces: Gotham and Sentinel.

Gotham font sample

The font Gotham from Hoefler & Co.


These are just 24 of the independent type foundries out there whose work that I admire. I’m sure there are many other small foundries releasing high-quality typefaces. If there are any other notable foundries I left out, please let me know in the comments below.




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