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A note to let you know that as of March 1, I will stop being part of the MyFonts team. I was never an employee — all MyFonts’ European collaborators are contractors — but in the course of the nine years of my involvement became chief editor, consultant and coordinator of the Review team. I may continue to contribute occasionally, especially to the interview series Creative Characters, of which I was founding editor, but I will no longer be representing MyFonts or Monotype.
I hope (well — I think) I managed, especially during the past 3-4 years, to improve the quality of the products on offer. MyFonts supported me in putting together a team of European and American specialists (aka MyFonts Foundry Review) who, during the past 3+ years, admitted only 20-25% of the new foundries applying; before, the rate was about 99%. We instructed and coached many of the talented newcomers in amending and completing their first batch of fonts, and many wrote to us saying we’d structurally improved their approach to making fonts. In order to supply much-needed information about type design and type marketing, we set up a series of Foundry Guides, written in collaboration with Florian Hardwig, Dan Reynolds and MyFonts team member James Minior. The first set, released last October, hasn’t been publicized widely yet, but may be useful to some of you.
My reasons to, as they say, embrace new challenges, are manifold. I’ve written so many type descriptions in my life that I really don’t have much to add; and I felt like returning to a more personal and more creative kind of work. My main new client is the new publishing company Repeater Books in London, set up by a team of fiercely independent authors. I’ve been their book designer and typesetter since their first books, begun in September, released last month. We’ve almost completed a dozen now — and I’ve seldom read such a wild bunch of intriguing novels and radical essays.
During my years working for MyFonts — and before that, for FontShop Benelux, FSI, and LucasFonts — I feel I have always been on the side of the independent, quality-minded foundries and designers. (I hope that Type Navigator, a book I co-edited in 2011 with TwoPoints.Net, selecting independent foundries regardless of their distribution preferences, is proof of that.) During these last few years of energetic takeovers and power concentration, it became more and more difficult to convince my old friends that I could still be trusted; that one could try to stay on board to improve the system from within. I will not comment on this any further, but feeling “stuck in the middle” became too much; this became another major reason to change direction.
One of the plans is to start up a small-scale semi-collective of type geeks with some of my Berlin mates and international contributors under the name Fust & Friends. You can already follow us on Twitter, if you like. More news will follow.
Best from Berlin,
Jan Middendorp, ex-type writer
(ATypI members, sorry, for cross-posting this.)