creative juice

the font men


Are you into fonts? If you are, you’ve got to see this short, behind-the scenes look at what goes on in a high-profile type design studio.

Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones are the “Font Men.” Their work has been used by the Wall Street Journal, the President of the United States, DIY mogul Martha Stewart, and many more. This short documentary earned an official selection in the 2014 SXSW Film Festival.

Hoefler describes the initial process for designing a font. “We start with a capital H and a capital O; H being a typical square character, and O being a typical round character. Once your H and your O have been locked down, you can design a capital D which is half square and half round.”


Tobias Frere-Jones chimes in to illuminate the next steps. “And just in those three letters, there are decisions about weight and about width, serifs, spacing, and transitions of weight from thick to thin.” Once those are drawn, they become the foundation for the other letters and forms to follow.

“We do this because we love this,” Frere-Jones remarks. “It’s really, really hard, but it’s also really fun.”

Take a look at this short film to learn more about these two dedicated men, their passion for fonts, and the process of designing type. As a side note, since this film was released, the pair has unfortunately parted ways.

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