Type design is one of the most demanding and rigorous disciplines in the creative world.
It requires patience, a steady hand, and a keen eye for detail. Designers devoted to it spend long hours drafting, obsessively fine tuning letterforms until they’ve reached perfection. They boast of a broad skill set formed from a variety of disciplines, like history, math, and of course, art and design.
Below, we share with you the 15 type designers responsible for some of the most beautiful typefaces in recent years. Click through to their websites and check out the rest of their amazing type portfolio — you might just find your next favorite font.
Latin America has given birth to some of the best type designers of recent years. Argentinian Alejandro Lo Celso is no exception. As the principal of PampaType, he’s designed some of their most exquisite types: Rayuela Display, awarded by the Type Directors Club (TDC), Amster Versal Iluminada, and Margarita.
Before starting PampaType, the first type foundry of Argentina, he studied in UK, France, and later held a teaching position in Mexico. Many of Lo Celso’s versatile typefaces bear the names of literary maestros or their work, like Perec, Borges, and Rayuela.
As a fan of Lo Celso’s work, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on PampaType in 2016 and eagerly await any new releases. If the past holds any clues to what this year might hold for PampaType and Lo Celso, they all point towards an exciting year in Argentinian type design.
Daniel Hernandez, another superb Latin American type designer, is known for his masterful work, heavily influenced by the Latino identity. Craftsmanship, attention to detail, and provocative letterforms have all come to characterize his personal style.
As a student at the Universidad Mayor in Chile, Hernandez enjoyed early success, winning a prize for his sexy pixel blackletter, Stgotic. After graduating, he sought out more typeface design opportunities. It was only a matter of years before his typefaces, like Sanchez Condensed Black, became available commercially.
I started following Neil Summerour after learning about Swash & Kern, his lovely lettering and type design site packed with delicate ligatures and perfect bézier curves. If you’ve ever had a sandwich at Panera or shopped at Victoria’s Secret, you’re likely already familiar with Summerour’s work.
Summerour opened up his own design studio after graduating from The University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art with a BFA in graphic design. After a decade of consistent success in the field he focused his full attention on type, showcasing his versatile talent on vastly different brands like PINK and the Discovery Channel.
Summerour offers a great workshop in Japan alongside Ale Paul. 2016 might mark the start of your lettering career as you set out to enjoy everything Tickling Béziers has to offer in the heart of vibrant Tokyo.
Jób holds an MA in graphic design from Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Slovakia, and an MA in type design from The Royal Academy of Arts in the Netherlands. All the hard work he put into his studies is evident on Urtd, where you’ll find beautiful typefaces, icon fonts, and useful tools like Typable.
My favorite aspect of Jób’s work is its contemporary feel. His typefaces, like Bismuth, are modern and refreshingly edgy. They break the mold in the most beautiful ways. Through use, I’ve come to appreciate the precision that characterizes each of his letterforms and the care with which he crafts each.
As 2016 unfolds, I’m eager to get my hands on more of his sophisticated typefaces and maybe a handy new tool, like his Font Inspector, that make every designer’s type life a bit more enriching.
2015 saw the release of theEinstein Font, arguably one of the most exciting types of the year. Behind it is the brilliant Harald Geisler.
Geisler studied design at The HfG in Offenbach, where he began producing groundbreaking work in type design and a myriad of visual disciplines. He’s developing a series of fascinating typefaces inspired by the handwriting of some of the world’s greatest minds, like Einstein and Freud, which he funds via Kickstarter.
All of his typefaces are bold and provocative. Some designers absolutely love them, others absolutely hate them, but none are indifferent. What I appreciate the most about Geisler is his ability to experiment and share the end product with the world, no matter how unorthodox. That, I think, is the hallmark of a true artist.
On Grilli Type, you’ll find GT Walsheim, Leu’s beautiful geometric sans-serif, released in 2014. Just this past year, Leu, along with Dominik Huber and Marc Kappeler, received an award from the TDC for the beautiful GT Sectra, also released through Grilli Type.
As 2016 unfolds, I’m eager to see what Grilli Type and its designers have up its sleeve.
Mike Abbnik is a multidisciplinary designer with an enviable track record. He’s worked as the Design Director at Apple, the Creative Director at Saffron, the Creative Director at Wolff Olins and as the Senior Creative Director at the MoMa in New York and pretty much, every other designer’s dream job.
If you are ever working on print or editorial projects, keep FF Kievit and FF Milo handy. Both are made up of carefully drawn letterforms optimizing legibility at even the smallest point size. They were designed by Abbnik together with Paul van der Laan, and have been used by giants like Autodesk and Olympus.
Craig Ward, a British designer now based in New York City, is known for his innovative work in typography. His work, characterized by his unique ability to push type in different and novel directions, is constantly featured in publications around the world.
Novel pieces, like this one, have garnered him the prestigious ADC Young Gun in 2008, the TDC Certificate of Typographic Excellence in both 2009 and 2014, and the Communication Arts Award of Excellence in 2014 and 2015. He also authored the beloved Popular Lies About Graphic Design.
Since his graduation in 2003, Ward has produced work for clients like Nike, Calvin Klein, and the NFL. Check out his art, an awesome summary of his inventive pieces. You’re bound to recognize more than a few.
Gabriella Thompson, a recent graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design, is a multidisciplinary designer with a keen interest making a difference in the world.
Her lettering and type work is vibrant and playful, packed with beautifully drawn ligatures. Even as a young designer, Thompson’s high-quality work has already earned her a few recognitions — she has won a Gold ADDY and was a global semifinalist in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards.
2015 saw the rise of Brandon Grotesque, a geometric typeface released by Hannes Von Döhren in 2010. It was used on packaging, websites, and pretty much every kind of design deliverable out there. It’s no wonder, considering how beautiful the typeface is.
Today, Von Döhren runs HVD Fonts, a type foundry based in Berlin. Through it, he has released Brevia, ITC Chino, and my personal favorite, Livory. In 2011, Von Döhren received the Certificate of Excellence in Type Design from the TDC for Brandon Grotesque.
If you are still unfamiliar with Von Döhren’s work, be sure to check out his foundry’s website. You’ll find dozens of excellent text and display typefaces and a few free fonts you can add to your collection today.
Paul Gonzalez is a typeface designer with roots in both Puerto Rico and Ecuador. His love for the vibrancy of his culture pumps life into all of his pieces, be it a new typeface or the redesign of a classic publication.
Recently, Gonzalez has been producing a series of experimental typefaces like Whiting, which have been used in the design of major publications. Check out some of the custom type he produced this past year for Entertainment Weekly.
While Gonzalez’s typefaces haven’t been released to the public yet, he is part of a team of designers opening up a foundry in 2016 that will be based in New York City.
Terrance Weinzierl is another awesome type designer you should keep your eye on in 2016. Since 2008, he’s been working with typography and currently works alongside the team at Monotype, where he’s produced work for clients like Domino’s and Barnes & Noble.
Carlos Oliveras Colom is a young Puerto Rican designer, heavily influenced by his vibrant island and its bright colors. It’s not difficult to see bits and pieces of Viejo San Juan in many of his lettering pieces, all featuring bold, bright colors, and even Spanish slang.
Although Oliveras Colom is currently based in LA, he holds on tight to his hometown and family and draws much of his inspiration from them. As he crafts type, he gives careful consideration to detail, noting that the slightest mistake can throw an entire piece off.
Oliveras Colom hasn’t released any of his typefaces to the public just yet, but we’re hoping that as 2016 progresses we’ll be able to stock our libraries with his creations.
His work, able to meet the highest standards, has garnered him awards from Communication Arts and the mighty TDC. While I haven’t had the chance just yet to use any of his typefaces for client work, I’m certainly looking forward to the opportunity to in 2016.
As 2016 progresses, check back on these designers and their websites. They may or may not release a new typeface but you can count on finding new, inspiring work up on their sites or even a new book to help you build a design archive. If we missed any up-and-coming type designers, just type them up in the comments’ section, below.