OurType was Fred Smeijers' web site and foundry established in 2002 (formally launched in 2004). OurType was set up by four partners: Fred Smeijers, Corina Cotorobai with Rudy Geerarts and Martine Leloup (both of FontShop Benelux). Fred and Corina were the creative lead of OurType foundry, Rudy and Martine were in charge with sales. In 2017 Fred and Corina stopped their collaboration with OurType concentrating on several other projects, including a new type label. Fred and Corina are also co-partners in Type Tailors (established in 2008), offering type design development, publishing, custom type and typographic consultancy.
Smeijers is research fellow at Plantin Museum in Antwerp, and professor of type design at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. In April 2018, Fred Smeijers and Corina Cotorobai announced that they would be starting a new foundry. Fred Smeijers (b. 1961) studied at the School of Art at Arnhem, and he worked as a typographic advisor to the reprographic company Océ, then became a founding member of the graphic design practice Quadraat, which provided the name for his first published typeface (FontFont, 1992).
He created the following typefaces:
- The huge (and growing) text family Quadraat (1998-2001). It has as subfamilies FF Quadraat, FF Quadraat Sans and FF Quadraat Sans Mono, and was developed from 1997-1998 as part of the FontFont library.
- Renard (at Enschedé, after letters by Hendrik van den Keere, 1998; see discussion here).
- DTL Nobel (with Andrea Fuchs, 1993, at the Dutch Type Library). Not to be confused with the geometric sans family Nobel, also created in 1993, by Tobias Frere-Jones (Font Bureau).
- Arnhem (1998-2002) and Arnhem Fine, which are historically related to the Romain du roi. These were developed in collaboration with Werkplaats Typografie (Karel Martens and Wigger Bierma)---Andy Crewdson provides an insightful discussion of it. Smeijers: Arnhem was designed in 1999 for the Nederlandse Staatscourant, the daily newspaper of the Dutch state. It can be classified as a very functional design---Arnhem has been conceived for, and does work best in large quantities of running text.
- Fresco (1998), Fresco Sans, Fresco Condensed, Fresco Informal, Fresco Informal Sans, Fresco Script (+Sans), Fresco Plus, a work horse of a family at OurType.
- Ludwig (2010), modeled after the 19-th century grotesks.
- Monitor (2000-2004, a sans family at OurType). Not to be confused with earlier commercial typefaces with the same name, like Henryk Sawanda's Monitor (1975-1980) or BB&S's Monitor No. 5 (1890s).
- Eva (2010: an informal sans, done with Merel Matzinger at OurType).
- The sans family Sansa (2005, OurType) was followed by Sansa Slab and Sansa Soft in 2006. Sansa and Arnhem are available from FontShop since 2005.
- In 2002, OurType created the gorgeous Custodia family for use in publications of the Custodia Foundation. The typeface is called Custodia 17 because it was inspired by 17th century Dutch styles. Peter Gabor and Jonathan Munn claim that Custodia is too close to Monotype Van Dijck. However, OurType explains that this was the intention: Its pleasantly uneven rhythm captures the not-quite-perfect lettershapes of master punchcutters working in Delft, Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Haarlem in the later seventeenth century: Christoffel van Dijck, Dirck Voskens, Johan Michael Smit, Jean Baptiste van Wolschaten.
- Denda New (2000), a family made specially for Canon. In his book, Type Now, Fred Smeijers says: A contemporary sanserif initiated in 2000 by TBWA\Designers Company for their redesign of Canon Europe packaging. This typeface comes in four weights, in roman and matching italics: for use by Canon Europe in general publicity, manuals, and packaging. It is a custom-made design, not publicly available.
- Puncho (2012) by Fred Smeijers is based on stencil letter punches made by S.M. Spencer of Boston.
- Bery Roman (2012): Bery Roman is based on the stencil letters of Jean Gabriel Bery. Bery Roman is part of OurType's Stencil Fonts Series of 2012. Jean Gabriel Bery was a Paris stencil maker whose atelier was located on the Pont Notre-Dame. His work is mainly known from the stencil set he supplied to Benjamin Franklin in 1781, now at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Bery's confident sense of design and the excellent production of his stencils rank him among the best stencil makers of any period. Accompanied by the calligraphic Bery Script (2012).
- Haultin (2011) is a private, unreleased typeface that is based on renaissance types cut by Pierre Haultin. The second edition of Fred's book Counterpunch is set in it.
- His custom type designs include bespoke typefaces and lettering for Philips Electronics, Tom-Tom, Samsung, Porsche, and Canon-Europe.
Author of Counterpunch: Making type in the sixteenth century, designing typefaces now, London, Hyphen Press, 1996 [PDF file] [a second edition followed in 2011], and Type Now: A Manifesto (2003, London, Hyphen Press; reviewed by John Berry).
In February 2001, Smeijers received the (second) Gerrit Noordzij Award 2000 (an initiative of the post-graduate department Type&Media at the Royal Academy in The Hague in cooperation with the Museum Meermanno). In 2016, the Society of Typographic Aficionados awarded Smeijers the SOTA Typography Award.
OurType's offices were in DePinte, Belgium.
Speaker on historical stencil forms at ATypI 2006 in Lisbon. Currently he also is professor of digital media and Dean at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. Speaker at ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik. Speaker at ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam (on Spatial relationships among 16th-century matrices (and what they tell us), a close look at surviving matrices at the Plantin-Moretus Museum) and keynote speaker at ATypI 2018 in Antwerp (on zooming in and zooming out; and old beer, new type).
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Dutch type design ⦿
Books on type design ⦿
Commercial fonts (small outfits) ⦿
The Belgian type scene ⦿
Stencil fonts ⦿
Calligraphic typefaces ⦿
Romain du roi ⦿