The design team at our Charlotte marketing agency has followed the work of Matthew Carter for years (a lot of our years, only a few of his), and it was exciting to open up this Sunday’s New York Times and find another example of his exquisite skill on the masthead of the newly redesigned Magazine.
Who’s Matthew Carter?
Only one of the greatest living type designers with fifty years’ experience of typographic technologies ranging from hand-cut punches to computer fonts. After a long association with the Linotype companies he co-founded Bitstreamin 1981, the digital typefoundry,
where he worked for ten years. He is now a principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc., located in Cambridge, MA.
His type designs are prolific wide-ranging, including (and if you’re not a designer, you might want to skip to the next paragraph) ITC Galliard, Snell Roundhand and Shelley scripts, Helvetica Compressed, Olympian (for newspaper text), Bell Centennial (for phone books – remember those?), ITC Charter, and faces for Greek, Hebrew, Devanagari (the Hindi alphabet), and Cyrillic. For Carter & Cone he has designed Mantinia, Sophia, Elephant, Big Caslon, Alisal, and Miller, among many others.
Starting in the mid-’90s Carter worked with Microsoft on a series of “screen fonts” designed to maximize the legibility of type on computer monitors, including Verdana, Tahoma, Nina, and good old Georgia.
In 2010 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (aptly known as a genius grant), and in 2011 he also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Smithsonian National Design Awards.
Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you’ll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this insightful talk at a TED event last spring, this charming guy takes us on a spin through his fascinating career.