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  • Iconic font company Monotype just got sold for $825 million

    Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TYPE) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which HGGC, a leading middle-market private equity firm, will acquire all outstanding shares of Monotype common stock for $19.85 per share in cash, representing an aggregate equity value of approximately $825 million.

    The $19.85 per share cash consideration represents a premium of approximately 23% to Monotype’s closing share price on July 25, 2019, the last full trading day before today’s announcement. The transaction, which was unanimously approved by Monotype’s Board of Directors, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019. Following completion of the transaction, Monotype expects it will remain headquartered in Woburn, MA.

    “We are pleased to reach this agreement with HGGC, which enables our shareholders to realize immediate value at a significant premium for their shares. This transaction is clear recognition of the tremendous value and reputation that Monotype has built” said Pamela Lenehan, Chair of the Monotype Board of Directors.

    “Over the last several years, Monotype has strategically shifted its business from primarily serving a small group of OEM manufacturers to one that addresses the needs of thousands of brands and millions of creative professionals worldwide. As a private company, we will have the financial support and added flexibility to invest in ways that deliver more value and improve the overall experience for our customers. This transaction is a testament to our talented employees and their dedication to serving our customers, and we look forward to partnering with HGGC as we continue helping customers maximize their customer engagement in today’s digital, mobile and global landscape” noted Scott Landers, Monotype's President and Chief Executive Officer. 

    “We have been impressed with the quality and expertise of the Monotype team led by Scott, whose relentless commitment to customers has helped brands realize their full identity and express it to the world. We look forward to working together to help advance Monotype’s strategy and continue delivering the products and services that allow for brand expression and differentiation” commented Rich Lawson, CEO and Co-Founder at HGGC.

    Following completion of the transaction, Monotype will become a privately-held company and shares of Monotype’s common stock will no longer be listed on any public market. Monotype will not continue paying its quarterly dividend through transaction close.

    HGGC is a leading middle-market private equity firm with $4.3 billion in cumulative capital commitments. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., HGGC is distinguished by its Advantaged Investing approach that enables the firm to source and acquire scalable businesses through partnerships with management teams, founders and sponsors who reinvest alongside HGGC, creating a strong alignment of interests. Over its history, HGGC has completed more than 130 platform investments, add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of over $20 billion.

    Read more here.

  • New Yorker on how posters became art

    “Printed public notices were seen on public walls in the fifteenth century, but the modern-day poster did not emerge until the eighteenth century” writes New Yorker's Hua Hsu in his article How Posters Became Art.

    “At the time, printing was expensive and cumbersome, requiring the use of engraved metal plates. In 1796, after years of experimentation, Alois Senefelder, a Bavarian actor, and playwright, emerged with the technique we call lithography. First, an image is rendered in greasy, acid-repelling ink on a slab of limestone. Treating the surface with acid 'etches' the ungreased portions, retaining only the artist’s original drawing. The stone is then moistened, and an oil-based ink is applied. The ink sticks only to the original drawing, which is then pressed onto a piece of paper, resulting in a near-perfect reproduction. Cheaper and more efficient than the engravings that most printers relied upon, lithography offered artists more freedom to layer colors and images.In the mid-eighteen-sixties, the French artist Jules Chéret, having apprenticed with a lithographer in England, returned to Paris. After seeing an exhibit of Japanese woodblock prints, Chéret adopted some of the artists’ approaches to depth and perspective. His posters, which often featured free-spirited, effervescent women, were enormously successful, and such women became known as Chérettes” notes the writer in this insightful story of the poster revolution.

    From the Russian Constructivist manifesto which urged everyone to “be a poster” through Susan Sontag's argument that the poster had originally been invented “to seduce, to exhort, to sell, to educate, to convince, to appeal” to Cyan's poster experimentation on display at New York's Poster House Museum, New Yorker delves into the art of the poster and how it defined our visual language en masse. 

    The article also appears in the print edition of the July 8 & 15, 2019 New Yorker issue, with the headline “Beauty in the Streets.”

    Read it here.

    Jules Chéret via Wikipedia

    Cyan via Poster House




  • Creative Boom X: Anthony Burrill, Supermundane & more celebrate its 10th anniversary

    Today marks 10 years of Creative Boom and Katy Cowan, founder of the site, has many reasons to celebrate a decade of inspiring and supporting the creative community.

    “Started from a spare bedroom on 24 July 2009, it was an idea I had following the global economic crisis – a frightening time for many creatives who were either struggling to find jobs straight out of university or losing clients from their small freelance businesses. It was a case of giving something back. I wanted to share people's work online to give them a little boost and offer career and business tips to provide further support” writes Cowan in her announcement of Creative Boom X.

    To celebrate its tenth anniversary CB invited 10 leading artists and designers to each design a limited-edition poster. All profits will go to the British Heart Foundation. 

    “In alphabetical order, we have commissioned Abbey Lossing, Anna Parini, Anthony Burrill, Araki Koman, Craig&Karl, David Sedgwick of StudioDBD, Lisa Congdon, Stan Chow, Rob Lowe of Supermundane, and Verònica Fuerte of Hey. These are people we feel represent the spirit of Creative Boom, those we've previously featured and ones we greatly admire” notes Cowan. 

    More details on Creative Boom X here.


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  • Typophiles alert! Help Letterform Archive move to its brand new home ASAP

    Letterform Archive urgently needs a new home and it needs the Typophile community to make this dream, a reality.

    “When we imagine the Archive of the future, we imagine a place worthy of the history we hold. We see a purpose-built, contiguous space for classes, tours, collections, and staff. We dream of a larger venue for events, where more of our community can gather. We picture a dedicated gallery for exhibits. We long for accessibility to public transit. Most of all, we need room to grow” writes LA of its crowdfunding campaign for the Archive of the future at San Francisco's administration building of the American Industrial Cente. 

    The Archive, founded by Rob Saunders, a collector of the letter arts for over 40 years, as a place to share his private collection with the public opened its doors to the public in February 2015 and now offer hands-on access to a curated collection of over 50,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design, spanning thousands of years of history. So far, the Archive has welcomed over 5,000 visitors from 30 countries, including students, practitioners, and letterform admirers from every creative background. 

    “We hold physical and digital artifacts in a variety of formats, including books, periodicals, posters, sketches, original art for reproduction, and related ephemera, as well as a robust reference library. Together, these works chronicle the history of written communication, from the invention of writing and medieval manuscripts to modernism, the age of print to the present explosion of digital type” notes LA which doubled its holdings in 2015 by acquiring the typeface specimen collection of the late Dutch publisher Jan Tholenaar.

    Recently donated archives include Emigre, pioneers of experimental digital design; Ross F. George, author of the Speedball textbooks; and Aaron Marcus, a seminal figure in computer graphics. Also featured prominently in the collection are Rudolf KochJack Stauffacher, Irma Boom, and Piet Zwart.

    American Industrial Cente, the 100-year-old complex stretching for several blocks on San Francisco’s Third Street, “a prototype of successful urban revival” per Letterform Archive houses nearly 300 tenants, from architects and designers to bakers and brewers. Fortunately for LA, the entire fourth floor of this building is available for a long-term lease at a reasonable rate and this can happen only with the support of its community.

    It is pretty obvious that there has never been a better time to support the Archive.

    Donate here and support Letterform Archive's inspirational mission for the generations to come.

    David Kindersley, Variations on the theme of twenty-six letters, 1969.​

    Ross F. George, original artwork for the Speedball Textbook. Blue pencil note reads “Benday like below”, an instruction to add a dot pattern fill to the headline. 

    bauhaus year 2, no. 1, 1928, cover design by Herbert Bayer. 

    Detail from Suzanne Moore, A Musings, handmade book and calligraphy, 2015.

    David Kindersley, Variations on the theme of twenty-six letters, 1969.

    Paul Rand, Westinghouse annual report cover, 1978.

    From Wood Letter, Stephenson, Blake & Co., 1936.



  • Matthew Carter partners with Morisawa for Role, a superfamily of 200 Latin typefaces

    Matthew Carter, the legendary type designer with fifty yearsʼ experience of ever-evolving typographic technologies has partnered with Morisawa for Role, the company's brand new superfamily

    With a total of 200 typefaces and a maximum of nine font weights prepared per typeface Role's design variations “have been optimized for four classes, namely, Serif, Sans (sans serif), Slab (slab serif), and Soft (rounded), and three optically-scaled sizes, namely, Text (used for text), Display (used for small headings), and Banner (used for large headings).” The Role family has a variety of built-in OpenType functions that enable advanced typography, and which are provided via a character set Pro corresponding to 98 languages which use the Latin alphabet.

    All of the family's typefaces “take ‘integrity’ and a ‘sense of stability’ as their core identities and enable characteristics and impressions which are inherent to the class to be delicately expressed, that is, Serif is ‘elegant,’ Sans is ‘clean,’ ‘Slab’ is authoritative, and ‘Soft’ is friendly, and within each typeface there is a strong degree of consistency. The rich typefaces, finely tuned to visually maintain density during typesetting and alphabet length, are most suited to unified content production and the production of corporate identities that need to be widely deployed.”

    The project team for this typeface commenced work in 2015. Role was created through the collaborative work of Carter, who was welcomed into the fold as main designer, Kunihiko Okano of Shotype Design, and a team of four Latin type designers specially launched by Morisawa for the project.

    “The project was an opportunity for designers trained in Kanji and Kana to take on an ambitious Latin superfamily of serif, sans, slab and rounded, in a wide range of weights and at three optically-scaled sizes. For me, I learned that there are fundamental aspects to type design that are independent of writing system, and that many of the skills my Japanese fellow designers brought with them were transferable across typographic cultures” Carter said during his recent talk at this year's Typographics design festival. 

    Carter’s type designs include ITC Galliard, Snell Roundhand and Shelley scripts, Helvetica Compressed, Olympian, Bell Centennial, ITC Charter, Mantinia, Sophia, Big Caslon, Big Moore, Miller, Roster, Georgia, Verdana, Tahoma, Sitka and Carter Sans. Carter is now a principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Explore more here.