TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sun Feb 28 14:52:38 EST 2021

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LUC DEVROYE


ABOUT







Bitstream

Founded in 1981 by Mike Parker, Matthew Carter, Cheri Cone, and Rob Freedman, Bitstream is the first digital font foundry. Not without controversy, though, as many claim that the original digital collection was an illegal copy of Linotype fonts [Note: I disagree with that statement--take out "illegal"]. In 1999, Bitstream created MyFonts.com, a web site for finding, trying, and buying fonts on line. Bitstream was headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and led dfior some time by CEO Anne Chagnon. The Bitstream Typeface Library was developed under the supervision of Matthew Carter, the creator of such esteemed typefaces as ITC Galliard; Snell, Bitstream Charter and Swiss Compressed. Carter, who also serves as Bitstream's Senior Vice President of Design, set uncommonly high standards for the company's highly-skilled design staff. Working from the earliest-generation artwork available, each character of every typeface is hand-digitized on advanced workstations specially programmed by Bitstream's engineers. In building the library, Carter has overseen the licensing of typefaces from such respected international sources as the International Typeface Corporation (ITC), Kingsley-ATF Type Corporation, and Fundicion Tipografica Neufville SA, among others. Bitstream also develops new and original designs. Many countries provide for the legal protection of typeface names only, not the designs themselves. This means that the original names of many typefaces can only be used with a license from the owner. The majority of Bitstream typefaces in this catalog have licensed names (on which royalties are paid), or have historical names that reside in the public domain, or have names to which Bitstream owns the rights. In these cases, the name is used. When the original name is not available for use by Bitstream, an alternative name appears. For example, Swiss 721 is the name that Bitstream uses for its version of the typeface popularly known as Helvetica? Because the original name of that typeface is not widely licensed, there are many offerings of the design with completely different names. It is important to note that the use of an alternative name has no bearing on the inherent quality or authenticity of the typeface design.

Bitstream sold a nice 500-font CD for 39 USD around 1996, with all the great text families. This was a fantastic buy, as proved by this quote from John Hudson: I have said it before and I will say it again: I think the development of the original Bitstream library was one of the worst instances of piracy in the history of type, and it has set the tone for the disrespect for type shown today. (A bit of background: Bitstream asked Linotype if they could digitize Linotype's library of fonts. Linotype refused, but Bitstream went ahead anyway.) On this issue, read these pages by Ulrich Stiehl and Typophile.

Bitstream was offering a 250-font CD. Type Odyssey Font CD (2001). Bitstream has added Greek, Cyrillic, OldStyle versions to many of its families.

New releases in July 2001: Artane Elongated, Cavalero, Drescher Grotesk BT, FM Falling Leaves Moon, FM Rustling Branches Moon, Picayune Intelligence (by Nick Curtis), Raven, Richfont, Rina, Sissy Boy, Stingwire, Tannarin. In November 2001, Serious Magic entered into a long-term agreement to license 25 Bitstream outline fonts for its new visual communication products.

Bitstream has been an exemplary corporate citizen, occasionally producing license-free fonts for the masses, such as their Vera collection.

Bitstream's own overstated blurb about itself: Bitstream Inc. (NASDAQ: BITS) is a software development company that makes communications compelling. Bitstream enables customers worldwide to render high-quality text, browse the Web on wireless devices, select from the largest collection of fonts online, and customize documents over the Internet. Its core competencies include fonts and font technology, browsing technology, and publishing technology.

Finally, together with its spin-off, MyFonts, Bitstream was sold to Monotype Imaging in 2011.

Images of some fonts: Engravers Old English, Staccato 222, Brush 738, Century 751, Clrendon, Futura, Gothic 720, Humanist 777, Kis, Swiss 721, Venetian 301, Lucian.

Catalog of typefaces [large web page warning].

EXTERNAL LINKS
Bitstream
 [Buy fonts]
MyFonts search
Monotype search
Fontspring search
Google search

INTERNAL LINKS
Commercial foundries ⦿ David and Goliath ⦿ Type scene in Massachusetts ⦿ Nick Curtis ⦿ Extinct 20th century foundries ⦿ Venetian or antiqua typefaces ⦿ Brush script typefaces ⦿ Clarendon ⦿ Typefaces based on Nicolas Kis's work ⦿








file name: Bitstream Engravers Old English


file name: Monotype Engravers Old English


file name: Bitstream Staccato222


file name: Bitstream Brush738


file name: Bitstream Century751


file name: Bitstream Clarendon 2011


file name: Bitstream Futura 2011


file name: Bitstream Gothic720 Bold


file name: Bitstream Humanist777 2011


file name: Bitstream Kis


file name: Bitstream Swiss721 1982 Poster by Michael Sallit 2017


file name: Bitstream Swiss721 1982 Poster by Aleksandra Talacha 2014


file name: Bitstream Swiss721 2011


file name: Bitstream Swiss721 Black No2


file name: Bitstream Venetian301


file name: Bitstream Lucian







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