Personal change of direction

Jan MiddendorpJan Middendorp Posts: 11
edited February 2016 in Miscellaneous News

Hi all,

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.)


  • Best of luck, Jan, in your next venture.
  • All the best, Jan. 
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,867
    Best wishes to you, Jan. You’re a great asset to the type community and I look forward to seeing your future work.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Jan — I’ve always enjoyed and admired your work. And I’ve always trusted and respected your independence. I can sympathize with the challenges you may have faced. Thanks for sharing your news here.

    I look forward to the fruits of your new labors. Best wishes on the next leg of your journey.
  • From someone who has been inspired by reading your books and articles, as well as receiving guidance from the MF review team, I cannot thank you enough. All the best for the future Jan.
  • Thanks to you all for your kind words.
  • I'm sad to see you go, but I understand too… best wishes to you in your future endeavors of which I'll be paying close attention to :) You've been a wonderful asset to the type community, thank you so much for your contributions!
  • Beste Jan, bedankt voor alles. 
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,414
    Write on!  ;-)

  • Best of luck!
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,322
    I was slow to understand some of what was going on behind the scenes at MyFonts in this recent change of direction—notably the review of fonts that were already in the system—but I am deeply appreciative of the direction you helped to take things. You did a bunch of important work, and had much more impact on the type world than most people realize.

    So, thank you for your previous services to the community and the world of type. I hope you find joy and fulfillment in your new direction!
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