For Immediate Release. Download a PDF version.
New York, June 18, 2014 — The Type Directors Club has announced that David Berlow, founder of Font Bureau, will receive their highest honor, the TDC Medal, on July 16.
Berlow is the 27th recipient of the award that recognizes extraordinary contributions to the fields of type design and typography.
The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening, July 16, 2014 in The Rose Auditorium of The Cooper Union in New York City, coinciding with the opening of TDC’s 60th international exhibition.
Matthew Carter, one of the world’s most celebrated type designers and a previous recipient of the Medal, is slated to introduce Berlow at the ceremony. “I’ve known and worked with David for more than 30 years,” said Carter, “first at Mergenthaler Linotype, and then at Bitstream. He’s been influential in the enormous changes in type design technology the whole time.”
“I’m not sure how I can fit all his work into a short talk,” Carter added, “but it’s great to see David also getting this recognition as a type designer of the first rank.”
Berlow started working at Mergenthaler Linotype’s “Letter Drawing Office” on West 34th Street in Manhattan in 1978. The studio was managed by Cherie Cone, who reported to Mike Parker (1929–2014), Mergenthaler’s Director of Typographic Development, and a future recipient of the TDC Medal. In 1981, when Parker, Cone, Carter and Rob Friedman started Bitstream, the first digital type foundry, Berlow was among the designers who joined the new company.
In 1989 Berlow joined Roger Black, the publication designer, to launch Font Bureau, now one of the largest and most respected digital type foundries.
“Berlow has pushed type design along continuously—from drawings for hot metal, to digital outlines, system screen fonts, and now to web fonts,” said Graham Clifford, TDC’s president.
“What I love about David,” said Jessica Hische, a prominent lettering artist and type designer, “is how generous he has been the whole way. He’s shared his awesome knowledge with many designers over the years, and has helped along some great talents.”
A number of well-known type designers got their start at Font Bureau, including Cyrus Highsmith, Tobias Frere-Jones, and Christian Schwartz.
The Medal of the Type Directors Club is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to typographic excellence. The first Medal was presented to Hermann Zapf in 1967. Recipients have included Ed Benguiat, Aaron Burns, Adrian Frutiger, Günter Gerhard Lange, Herb Lubalin, Mike Parker, Paul Rand, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekermann, and Bradbury Thompson.
One Font at a Time
Font Bureau has always specialized in custom fonts—typefaces commissioned for a particular company or publication. “That way,” Berlow once quipped, “we can be sure that someone will use them.”
He has often created fonts based on historical classics, such as Bureau Grot which was designed for Entertainment Weekly. For Esquire he produced Giza, based on 19th-century slab serif typefaces. He designed a revival of Titling Gothic for the Los Angeles Times. Also for that publication he created Kis FB, inspired by 17th-century Dutch fonts. These efforts were later expanded into large families (Titling Gothic has 49 styles), and made available for print and digital uses.
“We offer font families for a wide array of purposes that reinforce and extend a brand,” Berlow said, explaining the Font Bureau’s approach to custom fonts. “The goal is to help tell the client’s story, not to be noticed ourselves. The quick recognition of fonts before the identity of a product or a magazine can diminish the visual brand. I think of Font Bureau fonts as strong and quiet type.”
In 2010, Berlow led the startup of Webtype, a successful cloud-based service for using fonts on web sites, which is known for typographic quality on different browsers and operating systems.
Using his experience as the designer of system fonts for Apple and Microsoft, Berlow produced a series of super-legible fonts to be used at small sizes on digital screens. This was named the Reading Edge series.
Berlow graduated in 1977 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he is on the board of visitors at the art school. He’s an active member of TDC, as well as ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) and SOTA (Society of Typographic Aficianados).
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The Type Directors Club is the leading international organization supporting excellence in typography, both in print and on screen. Founded in 1946 by some of the industry’s leading practitioners, the TDC represents and rewards the best of today’s type design and type use. Its competitions, annual Typography book, exhibitions, awards, frequent lectures, and educational programs are an invaluable resource for both designers and scholars. ➝ tdc.org
About Font Bureau
Font Bureau is a digital type studio and one of the leading foundries for typeface design. For 25 years Font Bureau has designed custom fonts for clients such as the New York Times, Apple, the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft, Rolling Stone, Hewlett Packard, and Citibank. Its retail library includes hundreds of typefaces from respected designers like Matthew Carter, Cyrus Highsmith, Tobias Frere-Jones, Christian Schwartz, and Berlow himself. ➝ fontbureau.com
Carol Wahler, Executive Director, TDC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Black, Co-Founder, Font Bureau, email@example.com
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