TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Fri Dec 14 20:41:38 EST 2018






Steve Matteson on ATypI

In the mail forum at ATypI, the issue of membership arose. Here is what Steve wrote on that topic on February 9, 2001: If advancing the craft means allowing companies to join who flaunt 'original' typeface designs which are merely renamed industry standards then I think we're all in trouble. They know who they are and what they do is wrong yet they proudly advertise their membership to ATypI... If ATypI is in such dire financial straits that it won't police its membership on such a basic level then I think the organization is a farce.

To which Erik Spiekermann replied: while I agree with you, and while I have a problem with double standards at atypi towards a certain eastcoast foundry [read: Bitstream], I would like to draw your attention to your own company's versions of certain classics which appeared under different names as system fonts for a large software company in the northwest [read: Microsoft]. We still recognize Futura, Helvetica et al, even when they've been redrawn and renamed. Things aren't as black and white as you make out, and sometimes companies are forced to lower their moral standards for the sake of survival. As was the case with monotype a few years ago.

To which Steve replied: Sorry - but you might remember that the fonts were all redrawn - even the judge saw the differences in the designs. There's copying and then there's downright pillaging... If somebody redigitizes drawings or proofs that's one thing. If somebody renames a digital file and distributes it that's an entirely different, black and white issue! Now that we've got copyright protection for the digital data in the US (thanks to Adobe vs. Southern Software) we must be prepared to follow up on policing this! "Vain Sans" and "Clear Type" are blatantly renamed copies of Rotis and Lucida. I won't mention the foundry here but they've got a nice ATypI link right on their home page! In the case of Adobe vs. Southern Software, the process by which SSI made their Adobe (and others) ripoffs was easily found out and it stood up in court. [Note: Steve is referring to The Electronic Font Foundry.] Matteson worked at Agfa/Monotype and then at Ascender Corp.

Reply of Edward Detyna at the Electronic Font Foundry: Yes, I am a member of ATypI and I think we did talk together... No, EFF Vain is not a 'renamed copy' of Rotis as was suggested. But after reading other letters and thinking for while (thinking has a future I think), I decided to withdraw it - it seems an honorable think to do. When I have more time I will explain why I made this font in the first place...

Steve Matteson on ATypI
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Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html