A prolific American type designer brings finely crafted revivals, innovative contemporary faces, and a radiant depth of character to a growing alliance of independents.
About Mark SimonsonHow to Become a Type Designer in Only 30 Years
Mark Simonson has thinking about and drawing letters for as long as he can remember. One thing led to another, and he’s been making fonts full-time since 2005.
He didn’t start out making fonts. It was a daydream that began when, while at college in the mid-seventies, he became aware that designing typefaces was a thing one could do.
His early attempts were feeble, but he kept practicing and learning about type over the next couple decades in his spare time while doing magazine art direction, graphic design, and the occasional illustration or lettering job. A breakthrough occourred in 1986 when he got hold of Fontographer 1.0, a program that allowed one to create real fonts on a Macintosh personal computer.
In the mid-nineties, Mark released his first few digital fonts to very modest success. Things started getting serious when he quit his day job and opened Mark Simonson Studio in 2000, working in earnest to create and release new fonts. By 2005, well into his forties, he was finally making fonts full-time. To date, he has released 24 original typefaces and families comprising over 180 fonts.
It only took about thirty years, but he finally has his dream job.
Mark likes to think that the years he spent as a designer using fonts gives him an appreciation for what designers look for in a font. That fonts are tools for making things, not ends in themselves. He tries to make fonts that he would want to use himself, if only they existed.
Mark Simonson is an independent type designer based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is probably best known as the creator of Proxima Nova. He occasionally writes about type (The Scourge of Arial and Typecasting: The Use (and Misuse) of Type in Movies, both on his website) and has spoken at TypeCon and other events frequented by type nerds.