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Monotype Designers Participate in Font Marathon Challenge, Bringing Two Original Typefaces to Life in 72 Hours

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Two Monotype typeface designers each accomplished something last week that’s relatively unheard of in their profession: designing a typeface from start to finish in just three days. While it was one of their toughest design challenges ever, designers Jim Ford and Toshi Omagari enjoyed full creative freedom to bring their ideas to life as part of Monotype’s first ever “Font Marathon.” On Friday, May 8, Ford’s EscaTM and Omagari’s CowhandTM designs were released from Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TYPE) and are available from MyFonts, Fonts.com and Linotype.com. Proceeds from the font marathon will support Room to Read, a global, literacy-focused non-profit organization.

“Designing type is such an interesting process that most people never see or think about, even though type is such a major part of our daily lives,” said Nadine Chahine, Monotype’s Arabic and legibility specialist. Chahine first experimented with the font marathon concept last November, when she successfully created an Arabic typeface over a weekend. “We thought it would be great to provide a forum like this not only so people could appreciate what goes into designing type, but also to give our designers full creative freedom – and pull something deep from themselves they otherwise might not do. Designers are often guided by client briefs or specific design requirements, so to take all that away and create something very personal was an invitation to make magic. These guys really delivered.”

Throughout the font marathon, social communities were able to catch rare glimpses of the typeface design process – usually completed in months or even years behind closed doors – with progress captured on Twitter, Instagram and Storify. Ford and Omagari were limited only to their imaginations, which they leveraged to a great extent.

Omagari’s Cowhand, inspired by western-style block printing is an all-caps, monowidth typeface, designed to keep words always at one specific width. Words of one letter appear as a very wide character; words of two letters are half that width and so forth, up to a maximum of 20-letter words, which appear tightly compressed. Projects like posters, menus and movie titles are good candidates for Cowhand.

Ford’s Esca, inspired by his own work in calligraphy, is a unicase design, offering highly compressed proportions and a subtle calligraphic touch. Esca is ideally suited for logos, short headlines and album covers. Its architectural feel also makes the design suitable for signage and large-scale settings.

Short videos of Cowhand and Esca were also captured during the font marathon.

About Jim Ford and Toshi Omagari of the Monotype Studio

Jim Ford draws on his diverse background in fine art, drawing and conceptual design development when creating typefaces. His Quire SansTM design, a sans serif released in 2014, embodies the classic proportions of traditional book typography, combined with a clean, contemporary look that’s ideal for today’s digital environments. Quire Sans features pilcrow and fleuron characters, which add a unique distinction. Among Ford’s other typefaces are Captain QuillTM, Ford’s FollyTM, MoireTM, WolfsbloodTM and PokerfaceTM designs.

Toshi Omagari has designed fonts that support various writing systems, including Latin, Greek, Cyrillic and Mongolian. His Neue Haas UnicaTM design, released last month, is a reimagining of the 1980s Haas Unica(R) design for phototypesetting, now refined and extended for digital applications. Omagari’s Metro(R) Nova design, released in 2013 and winner of a Type Directors Club 2014 award for design excellence, revives William Addison Dwiggins’ Metro fonts of the late 1920s, bringing the design into the digital age while retaining the spirit of the original typeface.

Font marathon proceeds to support Room to Read

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in Asia and Africa by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, they develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education. Learn more at www.roomtoread.org.

About Monotype

Monotype is a leading global provider of typefaces, technology and expertise that enable the best user experience and ensure brand integrity. Headquartered in Woburn, Mass., Monotype provides customers worldwide with typeface solutions for a broad range of creative applications and consumer devices. The company’s libraries and e-commerce sites are home to many of the most widely used typefaces – including the Helvetica(R), Frutiger(R) and Univers(R) families – as well as the next generation of type designs. Further information is available at www.monotype.com. Follow Monotype on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Monotype, Helvetica and Frutiger are trademarks of Monotype Imaging Inc. registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Esca, Cowhand, Quire Sans, Captain Quill, Ford’s Folly, Moire, Wolfsblood, Pokerface, Unica and Haas Unica are trademarks of Monotype Imaging Inc. and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Metro and Univers are trademarks of Monotype GmbH registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. (c)2015 Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. All rights reserved.

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