Coming from where, at what age?

Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,132
edited July 2016 in Type Business
They say that Goudy started a new career from scratch at age 40.

However, he had been a bookkeeper prior to then (1905), a job in which penmanship was paramount.

Nowadays, one can get into type design from a variety of disciplines, but from bookkeeping, unlikely.

When did you folk start out, and from what previous (if any) career or education?

To start the ball rolling, I had studied Fine Art, worked as an art director and graphic designer, and went into type design full time at age 47 (although I had made income “on the side” from type design since age 32).
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Comments

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,413
    I started when I was a twenty-seven year old art student. Prior to art school I had been a UNIX systems administrator. 
  • I'm still keeping my old career (art-history professor) going, but I started my part-time type design at thirty-nine.
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 306
    I've studies Industrial design and worked as exhibition designer for 10 years (just because I got the job). I was always asked to design logos for friends, which brought me to deal with (logo)type design and wonder why the tools for type design are so limited?
    At age 36-7 (2011) started to plan Fontark (launched at 2013) and dive deeper into type design.
    Sold my first typeface only a year ago.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 960
    edited July 2016
    I studied Graphic Design [at age 18] beginning in 1962 and worked in the field until 2007 [I also attended Graduate School in 1972-74 in Visual Communication].  I began learning type design on my own in my off hours beginning in 2004 but I had a basis in typography, lettering and calligraphy from my prior training and work.  At this point at 72 [in 2016], I am still learning but not quickly enough to keep up with my ideas for new type.
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 162
    edited July 2016
    I started at the age of twenty three in 2008, during my last years in medical school. Before that I self studied programing, and long before that I tried to self study Arabic calligraphy as a teen.
  • Thierry BlancpainThierry Blancpain Posts: 152
    edited July 2016
    Started designing (systematic, rules-based) type at 20 for fun during a boring internship, before any formal design education but while also working as a freelancer on the side. Studied graphic design from age 22–25. Started a type foundry in the last year of design school. It became my main occupation (replacing freelancing) 3 years after founding. I’m now 30.
  • I made my first attempt at type design at age 21 in 1977 (rejected by ITC). In the mean time, I worked variously as an art director, graphic designer, sometimes illustrator, sometimes lettering artist for the next roughly 25 years. During that time, I continued to dabble in type design, publishing a few fonts in the '90s when I was in my late 30s. My career as a type designer didn't really start until I was about 45 (2001), and was not a full-time activity until I was about 50 (2006).
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,413
    @Khaled Hosny Did you become proficient in Arabic calligraphy? Do you think you could design a good Arabic typeface had you not studied calligraphy? 
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 619
    Classic animation graduate. Video game art director. Dabbled in type design at 25, full-time type designer at 32.
  • After my first lesson from Gerrit Noordzij at the KABK early September 1978, being 18 years old I definitely knew what my future would look like. Together with Jelle Bosma I started my first type company, Skript Design, in 1982. Unfortunately that was during the oil crisis, which began end of the 1970s. Later in the 1980s Skript Design was followed by Type Unlimited International (mostly [manually] digitizing for third parties) together with Gerard Daniëls (DTL Caspari and DTL Elzevir), and finally by DTL in 1990. Always happy since.
  • Doing post-doc research in superconductivity when I took an interest in this area. (was a theoretical condensed matter research physicist then).
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 162
    edited July 2016
    @James Puckett: No, I didn’t. It is pretty hard to self study Arabic calligraphy since available material are showcases or training material, the actual rules are rarely spelled out and even then there are omissions. I can’t tell how much learning calligraphy helped me, but it I think gave me a taste for good Arabic calligraphy and typography.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 36
    edited July 2016
    Undergraduate degree in graphic design. Worked at ad agencies and design studios through the 1980s. Studied publication design in graduate school. Design director of a daily newspaper and a couple of magazines through the '90s and early '00s. Currently, heading up the communication and marketing efforts of a government agency.

    Back in the early '90s, I released a "shareware" font that I still see around from time to time. Didn't pursue releasing others until just recently.

    A couple of years ago, I began expanding a logo design project into a typeface family without realizing how much work and head scratching it would entail. Two years later, I'm slogging through the TrueType hinting, and am on the verge of releasing the first eight fonts in the family.
  • James ToddJames Todd Posts: 207
    After high school, I spent a some time playing in bands and bouncing around community colleges. Then I spent a few years apprenticing as a bespoke tailor. After that I started a short-lived auto upholstery business. In 2010, at 24, I went back to school for graphic design and, after seeing Rich Kegler’s “Making Faces” documentary, started drawing type the next year.
  • Bahman EslamiBahman Eslami Posts: 43
    edited July 2016

    As a kid I was always amazed by Persian calligraphy. I started designing type around age 24 when I was studying Graphic Design. The funny thing is I wanted to design equivalent of Arial in Arabic :D! which was extremely criticized by the teachers. Of course it was a very fascinating endeavor for me, I never included it in my portfolio. Before that I was completely focused on Computer Animation. I worked in advertising to create Commercials, TV Idents and also Cinematic Visual Effects. I think Motion and Type design are completely sitting on different extremes in many terms. Animation as a medium creates instantaneous emotional impressions and Type works in subliminal ways. I can brag about Animation with any stranger but it’s very hard to talk about Type! Although they are also similar in terms of creating a character and technicalities. My career in Type Design had two major turning points; the first was when my Graphic Design graduation project was selected in Letter 2 in 2011 which lead to its publishing and the second was my graduation in TypeMedia. Ever since I was only designing Typefaces.

  • Language and Literature (ESL, German and Spanish) Bachelor Degree and Language Teaching Master degree. I was a high school teacher for some years.
    I started to learn calligraphy and lettering, on my own, a year ago (when I was 34) and am working on my very first typeface right now.
    I liked the teaching, but now I have finally found something that I truly adore.
    I am teaching myself most of it and sometimes I get help of some really kind and patient people :smiley:  
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 429
    They say that Goudy started a new career from scratch at age 40.
    BTW, it wasn't quite as from-scratch as all that. Goudy drew alphabets as a child, published his first typeface and set up his first private press before he was 30, and worked as a freelance designer from his early 30s onward. He did bookkeeping to make ends meet, but I don't think he considered it the focus of his professional life.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 800
    edited July 2016
    Just saw this on The Daily Heller this morning and pictured Goudy among the testimonials:

    Be the Best Commercial Artist You Can Be
  • @ivan louette You are in good company. De Does also had green fingers.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 64
    edited July 2016
    @Frode Bo Helland Wow ! I am extremely honoured :-) I am a fan of Trinité ! Everytime I draw a font I try several stalk lengths like that. I admirated this font for the first time in "L'effet Gutenberg" written by Fernand Baudin. The whole text is printed with Trinité N°3, the longer stalk variant.
  • I've studies Industrial design and worked as exhibition designer for 10 years (just because I got the job). I was always asked to design logos for friends, which brought me to deal with (logo)type design and wonder why the tools for type design are so limited?
    At age 36-7 (2011) started to plan Fontark (launched at 2013) and dive deeper into type design.
    Sold my first typeface only a year ago.
    WOW! I came here to read comments and I saw yours. Fontark is wonderful! I'm testing it right now and the time is 5:35 AM and I don't want to sleep! :)
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 306
    @Shahab Siavash Thanks, enjoy it.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 594
    edited June 30
    I started under my older brother's influence, hand-coding bitmap fonts for Armenian and Arabic on our Commodore-64 in 1983, age 14½. When I got my Amiga-500 in 1987, I used FEd to make larger Armenian bitmap fonts, which I was hired to use for the launch and establishment of Horizon TV*. Shortly afterwards I started running Fontographer (under MacOS emulation) and ended up being commissioned by AIM magazine** to make a handful of outline fonts, which they used to launch their magazine; they also sold the fonts via ads in the magazine. The rest is not as interesting.

    * http://www.horizonatv.com/

    ** http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/AIM_Magazine

    I've never relied too heavily on type design for income. I actually see that as mostly a plus.

    In terms of education, nothing in art or design; I studied Computer Science around when I started making outline fonts. I have a ton of respect for Reading, but still recommend "classical education" in type design: being self-taught. It's ponderous, bumpy and risky, but you end up with your own voice, which usually makes you more profitable (per hour spent). Plus it's a point of pride.
  • […], but you end up with your own voice, which usually makes you more profitable (per hour spent).
    ¿Qué?
  • Doing post-doc research in superconductivity when I took an interest in this area. (was a theoretical condensed matter research physicist then).
    Always glad to see another physicist around! :grimace:

    My first experiments with type design happened during my physics studies one and a half decades ago and produced some atrocious freefonts (please don't look them up). A few years ago, my interest in type was kickstarted once more while I was studying the cover of a book by Kenzaburō Ōe set in FF Quadraat. Like many others here, I learned all I know about type design either through trial and error or through countless helpful interactions on Typophile and, later, TypeDrawers.

    As far as day jobs go, I've spent a PhD and three post-docs in astrophysics hunting exoplanets and have now transitioned to teaching physics. My revenue from type design is a tiny fraction of my income (of order 2%), even though my current income is pretty low (teaching part-time until I've built up a complete curriculum of materials). It did make a sizable contribution back in the year where Google Fonts funded Cormorant, though. :wink:
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 594
    edited June 30
    ¿Qué?

    Creo que la gente pagan mas.... Oh, sorry.

    I think people pay more for originality. It takes longer to get there, but if you make it it pays better.
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