Interview by A.Calahan

→ In 2000 Anthony Calahan visited The Netherlands in order to conduct research for his PHD and to talk to local type designers. While this interview with Paul van der Laan and myself is clearly very dated and we were just out of art school, I find it interesting how much has changed not least of all the landscape of the type foundries.

Anthony Calahan: People at the Font seminar in Ditchling last week were saying that sans serif typefaces are really unresolved because there was an unbroken history of development from the Trajan column for serif typefaces, but sans serifs appeared in the early nineteenth century and then disappeared and have come back again. My sense is that when we look at typefaces now, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between some of the new "sexy sans serifs' and some of the new text faces. When something is set in 10pt as a serif book typeface, for example, it can be very difficult to differentiate between fonts. That leads to the perennial question: Do we have enough typefaces? Do we need more? What is the passion to do more?

PvdL For me it is to distinguish my own graphic work in comparison to others, that is exciting. That is why I design type. A lot of typefaces still have this burden of the past in the way they are produced. I can't stand the fact that if you are using the Univers typeface from Adobe and you take a good look at it, it is so ugly, it is so badly digitised. I really can't stand it. Or the fact that when I was in my graduation year, I had a big preference for using Syntax typeface. I can't see it anymore. But what I didn't like about Syntax was that it didn't have enough weights, it didn't have small caps or medieval figures, so I designed these. So a lot of typefaces which are on the market are not suitable for every typographic job. I think that is also the reason why lately the appearance of "super families' is really happening.

I have noticed a separation between type design and graphic design. But I am recognising, the further I go into it, the separation between type designers and font foundries. The motivation is actually quite different. Paul or you, Hannes, might design a typeface for use in your own graphic design work and not really care if it becomes digitised and a complete super family in order to be released by a distributor.

HF I think that a lot of typefaces start off as a secret weapon of some graphic designer. If you draw a very nice word because you know that guy that plays in the band, that needs the record cover, that needs a headline, so you draw the word and then you say, "Hey, this looks good, I should make that a complete font'. You add some weights and licence it to some font foundry and they try to sell it. It is really nice if the cheques come in four times a year and you actually earn money with it, but I don't think that is the motivation to do the job.

PvdL Just looking at the number of people in the world who are making their living from type design, I mean, if all the people who are active in type design were judged on this criteria, a lot of them just won't compete. I think it is more helpful if you are a graphic designer making graphic work and make your own typefaces because you always have an application in mind and you can test it immediately if it works or not.

I have been making the assumption that type designers would want to see their typefaces successful out there and used by lots of people. But maybe the motivation for designing it in the first place is to give you a special edge because it was your typeface that you designed that made it special. Seeing it used a hundred thousand times is going to take away that kind of initial motivation of it being special.

HF I don't know. Coincidentally in Kuala Lumpur I came across a book which used my typeface on the cover and I was really glad. It was, "Look here, they used my typeface Mutilated'. It was a travel guide to Thailand. A weird choice. It didn't look good but it was really nice to come across it. It was like seeing your little kid on the cover of a magazine or something.

Did it worry you that maybe somebody had pirated that font?

HF No, I don't really care. I mean we are talking about numbers that are not significant. If I had a super success and I was losing hundreds of thousands, that is a different issue, but we are not on that scale.

Certainly the obsession of the type-design and Typo-L people on the email lists seems to be piracy of their fonts and they are reporting to each other when a website appears that has a lot of their typefaces on it. I know that for a lot of those people it is their complete livelihood because they are probably not doing any graphic design work. They are probably exclusively in type design.

PvdL Some of them are. I think people like Sumner Stone or Jonathan Hoefler are just selling fonts on their own. I mean the real big foundries like ITC or Adobe, I don't get the impression that they really care about the piracy of their fonts. Even FontFont. Sometimes I wonder if it really is worth it.

HF I think they are spending a lot of money fighting piracy and there is a difference if some graphic designer nicks a font and uses it for something. That is not ethical; that is not nice. But it is a different issue if you post the same font on your website and 400,000 people download it and use it. That is really serious. And I think that is why the people on the type-design list are concerned about that kind of stuff. I don't think they would worry much if they caught somebody copying it onto a floppy disk.

Do you have two favourite typefaces that you use most regularly?

HF I only use my own typefaces. That's really embarrassing. Actually, I just bought my first typeface, Python Sans Outline. Just van Rossum's brother is a programmer who developed the programming language Python and he called the programming language Python because he is a Monty Python fan. Just made the typeface because it is very well suited to programming in Python because the "oh' and the "zero' have distinct differences, so it is really made for coding. It is called Python because he was programming in Python.

So when you type a letter to someone, Hannes, will you use Python for that?

HF I bought it so I can use it.

What about you, Paul, do you have favourite typefaces?

PvdL If I have to write a letter, none of my typefaces are good enough yet for this purpose, so I use Lexicon by Bram de Does. It is my all time favourite until now. But there are so many display typefaces I really like. I am a big fan of Zuzana Licko's work. I have made this deal with myself and it is something that someone else once told me that the money he makes by selling his own fonts partly goes into buying fonts from other people. I really want to apply this principle. I am doing this web-based project with some people where I am using the Base family from Zuzana Licko. I really like it so much. Senator typeface. I really like these just because they are not so serious, but still they look good and you see that they are made by someone who really cares about the design.

Any distinct dislikes?

HF There is a lot of really bad type, but nothing is worth hating. There is not a single typeface where I think, "Oh that really sucks'. Most of the typefaces are bad, but not bad enough to care about it.

University Roman comes quickly to mind and Zapf Chancery because it has been absolutely done to death. I am surprised we have come into a café and not found the menu in Zapf Chancery! It was the only script-looking typeface installed on most people's computers, so every baby announcement or cocktail party invitation done by somebody on their desktop computer has used Zapf Chancery.

PvdL I have one I really dislike, Tekton, which was designed sometime in the '90s. Someone digitised this when it was based on the writing of an architect. Why I really hate it is because Adobe is pushing this font so hard and if you buy InDesign, you get the Open Type version of Tekton and they made a Multiple Master out of this typeface and I think it is such a waste of time. On the other hand, there are a lot of other typefaces which I think are not good, or ugly. Sometimes I see things made from these typefaces which are really good. When I was in England, I saw signs with Gill Kayo, a really, really ugly typeface, but the signs looked good. So it is the designer also who makes it or not.

HF Bad typefaces are good for the business. The more bad type you see, the more obvious it becomes if you see good type. So I am really happy if a lot of people sell a lot of bad type and you see bad type everywhere because then we see good type next to it and then it is obvious. And on the other hand, good type is really good because it educates people that there is good type and that there is a difference.

If we go back to a sort of checklist, obviously one of the things which hasn't helped Rotis, but could help others, is to be bundled with a popular software program or a computer or a printer. Do you know how that decision is made? Do you know why, Adobe, for example, has selected Tekton to bundle with InDesign?

HF I think it is just business people making business decisions.

PvdL Yes, it is plain marketing.

HF They are getting the cheapest deal and then that is OK.

How many fonts, for example, are coming with InDesign?

PvdL With InDesign you get Adobe Garamond, of course.

HF Hoefler is in there again. We are Open Type developers for Adobe and, not surprisingly, we got copies of InDesign because that is the program you can test your fonts with. I installed it and I actually thought, "Hey, that is the typeface I wanted to use'. I was looking for my old Linotype CD because I wanted to use Hoefler Text for a job and I was looking for it and couldn't find it. I looked in my Font menu in InDesign and there was Hoefler Text and I was wondering how did that get into my font folder. It is an Open Type font, with all the features.

PvdL Well, I don't have it.

I have been using Hoefler Text for email. I was changing some email preferences and just found it there. I am not sure what it came with. I guess that is the way our font lists build up.

PvdL When I installed OS9, it was installed as a TrueType font into my system.

HF With Open Type, it will look in the Finder like a TrueType font.

PvdL Anyway, to go back to this marketing point of view, especially when you look at the Macintosh OS and even Windows, they just apply from every sort of typeface one version of serif, one sans serif, some comics and why specifically these typefaces? I think it is a matter of the wrong guy being in the right place at the right time.

HF You also need to look at David Berlow, who made the early system typefaces for the Mac.

I have visited London around Easter once a year over the past three years, and this time I noticed a minimalism with lots of Helvetica Thin plus a spot colour for clients like Orange, the telecommunications company, or Go, the budget airline and even in the interior design of restaurants. From the layered disintegrated Trixie and mutilated fonts of five years ago, I noticed in London even two years ago, what I would call the sexy sans serifs, which I guess you could throw Rotis in with. They are sans serifs which rather than being bland, designed with no personality like Univers of Helvetica, are more unique?

HF It is like the music that is super over-produced with guitars and stuff which has now been reduced to basic elements and that finds its reflection in typography, I think. A lot of young, hip people who produce that graphic design are young, hip people who go out and listen to that music and live in that architecture.

Helvetica Thin is everywhere in Melbourne, more so than in Sydney. We could see the same thing that has happened to Rotis, where Helvetica Thin becomes the dominant font. We have this modernism happening, but I don't think it is based on any deep philosophical commitment. Do you think it is just another style?

HF I think you are looking for something that expresses a certain spirit and you are looking for it, and you are looking for it, and then you see an advertisement or something using a typeface and you say, "That is nearer to what I thought than what I used to think'.

PvdL This minimalism is really happening but I see it as a reaction. If you look at flyers for house music, it all started like really sort of '60s kind of design.

HF Like the old jazz records also.

PvdL They were very flower power-like. Very bright colours and also very layered typography like the stuff that Designers Republic was initially doing. As a result there was a visual overload of layers and colours. Now it is back to greys, browns and dark greens and white together with Swiss-like typography only with really modern typefaces and there is now almost the standard for new typography which you do in this way.

HF I think it is really a cultural phenomenon and not so much an isolated graphic design phenomenon and if you walk into a big clothing chain, it is all black, grey and perhaps off-white. There is not one bright colour except if you go to the bikinis or something and you can see that in the choice of typefaces. And I don't know if that is a direct reaction to deconstructed, grunge typography.

Do you think though that if we go back to something like an extensive use of Helvetica, the demand for the new typefaces you guys are perhaps working on might not be there in the next decade? Do you still see a demand for new typefaces?

PvdL I think there is a clear distinction between typography which has to look contemporary in contrast to typography made by people who just want to design something that they think is nice. You can even put corporate design next to it and look at it. Corporate design can't be too hip because it will be outdated in a very short period of time. It has to look good. It has to look business-like. These are things you can still design for without breaking your head about whether this will be hip or not. You can't possibly predict this.

So are you saying it is a decision between timeless and something that is of its time—right now? And you can decide by your choice of typeface what you want to have?

PvdL Even if you look at Barmeno by Hans Reichel who designed FF Dax [1995-97] and earlier [1983] he designed Barmeno which really looks like a '70s typeface and yet it is now gaining popularity. So you can design a typeface and maybe in ten years it will suddenly get picked up and get displayed everywhere. For a whole period of time you won't have seen it. Syntax was also made somewhere in the '70s and yet in the late '80s and early '90s, Syntax was being very widely used.

People in the UK said they thought that it took about five years for a typeface to be picked up into use and they were saying between one and three years to actually design, depending on how extensive the family is to be. It seems like my PhD needs all these distinctions between display and text faces, contemporary typography which is now, like a poster for a concert next week or a dance festival, versus a book that needs to be timeless. Serif versus sans serif. It seems like there are all these distinctions to be made which all have a bearing on things. There are no easy answers.

PvdL I think you just have to do what you want to do as a typeface designer. For instance, if you were to make a very large sans serif family then I am sure that FontShop would be more than interested in releasing your typeface.

You think they don't have enough sans serif typefaces or you think that is something for the future?

HF That is a big market.

PvdL Like Scala designed by Martin Majoor. It is actually a very small family, but it has been one of the best sellers for FontShop.

HF I could imagine that the next big hit will be decent typefaces with small families: four weights, small caps, italics, that is it. I think that people are really getting irritated by these extremely big families. Thesis is nice and that is a one-off and now there are a couple of other typefaces that are so big but I think it exceeds the point that the average graphic designer can actually make sense of it. Just the other day I was busy making GIFs for the new FontShop e-commerce website and I was browsing through the database and you wouldn't believe how many weights of Fago exist. I have a problem navigating that and I am a type guy. What is the difference between Fago Normal Extended Roman Small Caps and whatever, you know?. I think that trick will die out sometime soon.

What about fonts for screen use? Are the font foundries also looking for these? Paul you are working on one for screen correspondence. Are people asking for fonts which are readable on screen?

HF Everybody wants real TrueType hinting but that is incredibly expensive.

PvdL It is a serious issue right now. On the Microsoft website you can download Verdana and Georgia and a lot of other TrueType fonts for free. They look absolutely fantastic.

HF The most expensive typefaces ever made.

PvdL Yes. They are incredibly expensive to build because the technology behind them is so incredibly expensive.

HF And the man-hours to hint them.

PvdL Yes. but what you get is the situation where suppose you supply this font to an agency which is making the corporate identity for a company then they will come to you and they will say this typeface we really want to use from you has to look fantastic on screen because all these people in the company want to use Word to type their letters and emails. Then you have to explain that to make this typeface work on screen is a really, really expensive job. But it is already changing.

HF Yes, and I think there is a race going on with technology. I mean the MacOS has changed to outline typefaces even for the Menu and for the Finder, so it is all outlines now so we can scale it. I think Toshiba is coming with a laptop that has a 200dpi liquid crystal display. I think the resolution is going up and up and good anti-aliasing and TrueType hinting will not be such a requirement as it is now. I just sold my font to a graphic design bureau which is right around the corner here and they called me in to show me how ridiculous it looks on screen. They have the secretary sitting there in front of an iMac running it on a 15" screen with 600x800 pixels, so the pixels are really, really big blocks, and the text is in 9 point. This means that the text is 9 pixels high and they have switched off the anti-aliasing and ATM because they thought they wanted to look at what is really on the screen. So resolution is going up. Now everyone is asking for TrueType hinting and I think in three years they won't.

PvdL Well, maybe they will still be asking for TrueType hinting but the tools for making hinting will have dramatically improved because the way to make it now is you have this program from Microsoft VTT which is ridiculous. It has nothing to do with type design anymore.

HF It is an incredible improvement on the way you had to hint TrueType before that because you actually had to code and now there is a graphical user interface.

PvdL But even FontLab has its own visual TrueType interface which is superior to VTT. The only drawback is that FontLab's quality of hinting is not as good as VTT, but it still can be good enough for a lot of jobs. So I think in the next years tools will improve that can automatically can do a lot of hinting already.

HF That is actually an interesting tendency. Five years ago visual TrueType was not there and there was no application that allowed you to hint separate TrueType characters and there were like twenty people on the planet who could write the code. So it was really expensive and you had the highest quality. And now the applications are there and there is a lot of automation companies which offer real TrueType hinting. For 4,000 Dutch Guilders you get a complete font hinting. What they do is apply auto hinting and they look at one size, apply three Delta hints and charge for it because everyone can use the tools now.

When graphic design started to become computerised there was a concern that the technology would take away too much time from the creative genius. I now wonder how much time is learning and keeping up-to-date with the technology impacting on your ability to actually design? In type design, if you don't take on this technical knowledge, are you going to be at some disadvantage?

PvdL Speaking for myself, it is more a matter that I am wearing two hats at the moment. One of them is I work for this foundry and I have to know about the technology because I am working on other people's typefaces to make them perfect. And on the other hand I am a type designer so it is of course for making my own typefaces technically well, it is a good idea that I know this. Actually when I would be in the position of the people who design the typefaces for a foundry, they don't know this, because that is the work that I do. So I think there is also a point of distinction between the designers and the foundries. Some people are their own foundry—like Jonathan Hoefler and Jean-Francois Porchez —and they also have to know all the specifications.

HF And also the more you know your tools the bigger the creativity you are allowed, except for the aesthetic decisions that the digitiser makes for you. And the deeper your understanding of the technical side, the greater is the control you have over aesthetic decisions that happen in details. I think that type designers tend to be pretty anal about detailed decisions so we are all really interested in the technical side. Although there is a certain point where I say I do not want to have to know that. I want a graphical user interface and I am not starting to work with applications that give me a command line interface. No way. Or I will build the graphical user interface. That is a decision I have to make depending on how badly I need the application.

How much of what you know now could be put back into the course? In the three or four years since you guys graduated, it has changed dramatically. Should this information be taught within a university course, or do you give students the basics of Fontographer or FontLab and let them learn it as they go along? I am asking the question from the education side now rather than the practice side.

PvdL I think it is more important to teach people to be a good designer than to be a good technician.

HF Draw decent type and if they ask then have the answers there. I don't know if it is a good idea to force third year graphic designers to learn to use applications which will be interesting for only three of them. I think the three of them will approach the teacher and say they would really like to make those characters a font and how do we go about it?

Do the third year students at the Academy in The Hague have access to people who are designing their own fonts?

HF Yes, definitely. Type design is a course that starts in the first year and goes up to the fourth year. You start by drawing type with a pen and a brush. Then at a certain point they show you how to digitise one letter and if you are interested, you digitise the whole of the typeface and if you are not, just one letter was a good experience and you understand how they do it.

PvdL In the second year we had to digitise in Ikarus about three of our letters.

So you were saying earlier today that probably only ten percent or three students at the end of fourth year might be specifically focused on type design?

PvdL Yes, tops. I mean, I was the only one in my year.

HF We had like three or so.

So the Academy is not flooding the market with type designers, is it?

HF No, I don't think the market can be flooded. It is like painters. If you ask if there are enough typefaces it is like asking if there are enough paintings. You know, you can throw them away if you don't like to look at them any more.

PvdL And how many painters who graduate from the Academy will become professional painters?

But you would expect that more of the type designers would be absorbed because it is a small industry.

HF But the Academy doesn't really train type designers. The Academy trains graphic designers who also have the capability of drawing type.

Unless you go back and do the Master's in typeface design?

PvdL Exactly. This Academy and the Academy in Arnhem are the only ones in this country which actually do something in type design. That is why a lot of type designers are in The Hague. There have been a lot of people who have studied at the Academy and were really good at type design and eventually do not become well known as type designers because they lost some sort of interest. Maybe after they graduated they got a job as a graphic designer. It is something you really have to have a passion for. If you really make yourself heard as a type designer then you will get picked up by other people and then you can quite easily connect with the rest of the type community. That is how it works.

Paul, was there not sufficient for you in the four year degree? Why did you feel the need to go back and do a one-year Master's course in type design?

PvdL Basically to have time for myself and to have time to investigate certain things about type on screen. Do a bit more interpolation just because I did not have the time for it while I was working in a studio. And I also knew that eventually I wanted to start my own business just working for my own clients and that would be more suitable for me to work on my own typefaces, so I saw this postgraduate year as a bridge between real work. Now I am studying, but I can work a bit for clients, but also study and get some funding from the government, so that is a way of combining things now. Theoretically speaking, it is not really necessary to do this course. For the main part I was already a type designer. The fact that my typeface has been published by Linotype, this is not something that happens a lot.

I think knowing that you have one year to do this course forces you to remain focused, rather than if you tried to use whatever spare time you have to tell yourself you will learn a bit about this or that, it doesn't really happen.

PvdL I had such a big motivation when I left this company and started at the Academy. You lose a bit of money but you gain a lot of freedom.

Hannes, is there anything in the four year course that you wished you had learned that you did not learn?

HF Oh yes, all the time! I had constant fights with my teachers because I said, "I know why I am here, I know what I want to learn, but I have to spend so much time doing the stuff that I am not interested in. Just let me focus more on what I want to learn.' But that is not how the course was designed, so all the time I had the feeling that I did not spend enough energy on the things that were important to me.

What things were important to you?

HF I really like painting and type design and all those different subjects dealing with graphic design—I really wasn't learning anything there, I thought. In retrospect I am really glad I followed those courses because you cannot know what you don't know. Every now and then I think that I really hated that course but I am really glad I did it because now I know that I really hate it, or I actually learned something that I did not expect to learn.

Now in your own business, where you can't be so specific to just do type design and painting, where the client comes to you and says, "Can you do this?' And of course you say, "Yes'. Well, do you say yes to just about everything or do you turn down some work?

HF I have not been in the situation right now where I had to turn down work because I am approached just for a very narrow field of jobs that people know I can do that sort of thing. But I made a decision just recently not to accept any more web-related work because I am just being flooded with that stuff and I am so bored. I am doing the website for House Industries in America right now and that is an ongoing thing so every now and then they send me something and I put it online. That is enough web-related work to keep me happy because I really like doing it, but I would like to do different stuff on the side.

So Hannes, what is your major interest now?

HF I would love to design a book. Just a real, printed one! It sounds exotic!

And did the course at the Academy in The Hague give you the skills to handle book design?

HF Yes.

There is this constant debate between generalisation and specialisation. When we were undergraduate students 20 years ago, you could afford to specialise as an illustrator and know that you were most probably going to get work as an illustrator. It would be very difficult to survive solely as an illustrator now because graphic designers are expected to be able to do a whole spectrum of things. Clients can come to you with all sorts of things, so our graphic design graduates need to be able to do a whole broad spectrum of things: posters, booklets, brochures, annual reports, web design.

HF That is the nicest thing, I think, if you are comfortable doing just about anything.

But it does mean that in the course I have to expose the students to one packaging project, one poster project, one corporate identity—give them a broad spectrum of things that, in your case, you would have probably only liked two out of the ten! In earlier times you could probably take each one of those and turn it into an illustration project if you wanted to and perhaps not have to work with type very much at all. That would be very difficult now and yet type design is becoming a new specialisation. I suppose five years ago web design and multimedia were virtually unknown in a graphic design course. It seems that so much is being poured into this graphic design vessel. What do we throw out?

PvdL It is an issue that is in almost every academy.

HF I think it is important to realise that it is not actually new things coming in, but it is really new kinds of canvases being added, because a job generally stays the same. If you design for screen or paper, I don't think there should be a difference in the set of skills you have to acquire.

Some people would say that navigation skills or legibility or attention span do differ between different media.

HF Sure, but that is the same between a telephone book and a novel.

PvdL What you see right now with multimedia is the fact that graphic designers get the most jobs in multimedia, but it is almost like asking a graphic designer to make a complete movie, while his only knowledge might be about the titling of the movie. So should academies teach graphic designers to be film makers as well? I don't think so. So there have to be more disciplines brought into multimedia to make it a good product. Of course, graphic designers can really help to make this product better because they have certain skills for making this product better, but they don't have to do it all themselves.

HF And that is abstract skills, that is thinking skills, I think.

PvdL Yes, but some of these skills are also things like sound, which is something that has to be incorporated into multimedia. And making a good navigation is something which, to a certain level, can be more theoretical. I am working with someone who is making this video program who is studying at the polytechnic and they have this course which is for multimedia but from more of a technical point of view. I can have very good discussions with him about functionalities of a website and he says, "Well, I can't design it. You make it. You design it. I can think about the structure it has to have and the way people can navigate it'. You really are having the skills that make a better product. That is my vision of multimedia for a graphic design course.

I try in the first two years to give exposure to as many projects in graphic design as I can, so that in the third year the students have a lot more choice to be able to specialise and the top students can come back for the fourth year of Honours to really get their teeth into something deeper. So I have tried to balance it in this way between generalisation and specialisation. We have heard so many predictions about the end of print that sometimes I wonder if graphic design might stay as a print-based type and image-making area and this other strand of multimedia and web design becomes a new area in itself. Do you think graphic designers will still try to straddle both?

HF Graphic design has nothing to do with print. Graphic design is information design. It is shaping data into become information in whatever medium, in print, or in drawing, or in painting, or sticking stuff on paper or making an animation, it doesn't matter. You are thinking about the way people see stuff and how they react and about what you want to tell them with the stuff you are exposing them to. And of course there is sound and there is the fourth dimension, there is movement. But on the other hand, if you look at a book and you go through the book, there is the fourth dimension, there is movement happening to the pages. So, I don't think that any of that is new and I have seen just recently a couple of graphic designers freeze in the face of new media and I think that is absolutely not necessary because all of these graphic designers are perfectly capable of handling that. It just looks like it is new, but it is just the old stuff over again in a new medium. I think we will just keep adding stuff.

PvdL I think students should be trained in just designing for screen. That is important. When I look at traditional graphic design courses right now at academies, it is all very focused on paper.

HF Because that is where the industry is coming from basically the guys who prepared stuff for print.

That is where the lecturers came from as well.

PvdL Yes. So if we could just make sure that they also have the right tutors. That is the thing, the real bottleneck. People who can really teach students to design for the screen. Then I think you are already a very long way down the line.

I was speaking to one of my graduates in London who is doing design work for the fashion industry. He has been out of university for four or so years and said he was doing some web design. When I asked him where he picked up his web design skills, he told me he designed it in Quark XPress and gave it to a guy who puts them onto the web. There is probably a lot of that happening.

PvdL There is a lot to be gained by giving students the right information about how it works because that would be happening a lot of the time.

HF But those people are about to die out. Five years and they are not acceptable anymore because right now there are just a very few people who actually know how to work with that kind of stuff and all the ad agencies are trying to keep up and figure out a way to handle it. In a few years the market will be flooded with all these graduates who know about the different colour spaces and can code HTML.

PvdLWhen I graduated I did this sort of website for my graduation but I did it completely in Director because I had some experience with making a webpage, but it was such tedious work especially because there were no good programs available for visually making a website. You had to use PageMill from Adobe. It was the only software available and it was really, really terrible, so you had to do it in normal text editor. So I didn't do that in my graduation year, I did it in Director. But when you look at it now, I see students working with Dreamweaver or Go Live and they are already such an improvement. That is software of the past two years and it can only get better.

Something else that has come up in my discussions with people is the fact that people who are designing fonts are deliberately not selling over the web in order that they retain more control over where their fonts are going. I have done a questionnaire to graphic designers about typeface purchasing and usage and the results so far suggest that purchasing over the web is the most common thing. Do you think it will continue that way?

HF Absolutely. Everybody is going there right now.

PvdL But I think the main problems why it is not happening on such a large scale at this moment is more due to the fact that security and the range of payments is awkward. But Emigre proved that it is working and the new FontShop website is also.

HF House Industries is selling its fonts over the web, of course. Just about everybody I guess. It is such tedious work to make it really work with stupid credit cards. It requires a lot more than just coding HTML. All the applications that are ready-made that are able to handle secure connections and this shopping cart thing are really, really expensive, or you have to do the coding yourself. You can buy Lasso or Webstar and you can build some shopping cart mechanisms yourself but then you are not a designer anymore, you are just a technician. Big markets out there. Hear that!


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Last updated on Sunday, July 10, 2016.
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