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Typography Masters:

Matthew Carter

Father of the font you are now reading

Throughout the years I was conducting design seminars around the country, one of the most popular segments of my Creative Layout & Design seminar was the Typography & Fonts. The presentation started with "Which font should I use," which demonstrated a world of great fonts and faces other than the traditional Times, Bookman, Helvetica and Brush. (Yuch!) When it came to a classic serif with an old style twist, the modern digitization of Galliard was one of the ones I stressed. Of course that was ITC Galliard, forged from the pen of typography master Matthew Carter. I would show wall-sized blow-ups of the lower case a, g, and f from the Galliard Italic demonstrating their unique personality and almost steel-brush quality. But that revival is but one from Carter's illustrious and continuing career.

Matthew CarterMatthew Carter is a type designer with more than forty years' experience of involvement in the typographic arts ranging from hand-cut punches to digitized computer fonts. He began in the Linotype companies where he designed and developed type faces for many years, then became a co-founder of Bitstream Inc., the digital typefoundry in 1981. Today, he is a principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he and Cone (also from Bitstream) continue to design and produce original typefaces.

In the mid-1960s, Carter came to New York to join Mergenthaler Linotype and began developing fonts that would exploit the new photo-typesetting technologies. It was there that displayed his decided hand for calligraphic and script renderings. He broke new ground with the connected scripts Snell Roundhand and Cascade Script, giving the type industry a look at the real advantages of phototype over hot metal. During those years at Linotype he also forged Olympian (for newspaper text); Bell Centennial (for the US telephone directories), ITC Charter, and numerous faces for Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic and Devanagari.

Leaving New York for London in the '70s he returned to scripts and produced the awesome family known as the Shelley Scripts including Allegro; Andante; and Volante. In 1981, he returned and became immersed in the digital revolution where he would eventually help found Bitstream, Inc., where he developed Bitstream Charter, and delve deeper into the art and craft of producing digital fonts.

Eventually he and Cheri Cone (another cofounder of Bitstream) left Bitstream to start their own font development firm, Carter & Cone. Here, he designed Mantinia, Sophia, Elephant, Big Caslon, Alisal and helped with Miller.

Eventually, the talents of Carter & Cone got the attention of the newly blossoming personal computer industry and were awarded commissions for Apple, Microsoft to produce their screen fonts for Verdana, Tahoma and Georgia.

Carter is a Royal Designer for Industry, a member of AGI, chairman of the type designers' committee of ATypI, and a Senior Critic on the Yale Graphic Design faculty (see Carter's "Yale Typeface"). He has received the Frederic W. Goudy Award for outstanding contribution to the printing industry, the Middleton Award from the American Center for Design, a Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design, the AIGA medal and the Type Directors Club medal. He holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

Even today as we push into a new standard for typography, Matthew Carter is there. Take a look at Bitstream's new OpenType collections -- the first being Bitstream Charter which utilizes the handiwork of Matthew Carter.

The Design Center and DTG Magazine are proud to salute one of the true masters in todays world of typography -- Matthew Carter.

Until next time...
      Thanks for reading
fred showker

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