TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sat Jun 15 14:55:04 EDT 2019






Josef Týfa

Czech designer (b. 1913, Nachod Beloves, d. 2007) who lived and worked in Prague. Before the Second World War, he designed advertisements for Bata, Prazdroj, Thymolin and others. He later started to design the graphic elements of signs and fonts. FontShop link. Czech postage stamp designed by him in 1965. Týfa lived and worked in Prague. Before the Second World War, he designed advertisements for Bata, Prazdroj, Thymolin and others. He later started to design the graphic elements of signs and fonts. His typefaces:

  • The partially didone typeface Týfova antikva (Grafotechna, 1959). See ITC Tyfa (1998) by Fr. Storm. In 2006, ITC Tyfa Pro finally appeared. ITC explains: In 1960, a Czechoslovakian design competition was held to determine the best new Czech typeface for book composition. The winner was designed by Josef Týfa, a respected advertising and exhibit designer who had embarked on a career change to concentrate on the typographic arts. Týfa's winning design was made into fonts for the Linotype typecaster, and was also available as hand-set type by the Czech type foundry Grafotechna. Although the design found immediate and continued popularity in Czechoslovakia, it saw little use elsewhere. Political delays Eighteen years later, another Czech type designer, Jan Solpera, sent ITC a letter suggesting that it should consider releasing Týfa as an ITC typeface, thus giving the rest of the world a chance to use the design. Unfortunately, at the time Solperas letter was sent, the Iron Curtain was still firmly drawn. Cold War politics made communication between the U.S. and people in Communist countries difficult at best, and often impossible. It wasn't until another twelve years had passed, in 1990, that ITC was able to correspond with Týfa. Týfa was willing to license his design to ITC, but all he had to offer were the thirty-year-old original drawings on yellowing paper. At the time, ITC was not producing digital fonts. The design continued to languish. In 1995 another Czech type designer, Frantisek Storm, approached Týfa and proposed digitizing the typeface under the elder designers direction. Týfa agreed. To build Týfa's design into a family of digital fonts, Storm started with scanned images of the original drawings for metal type. Maintaining the personality and basic characteristics of the metal original was a primary objective for the two designers. However, as the new digital typeface family was developed, a number of subtle changes were made. Curves were softened, serifs were modified, and other analog noise was removed without detracting from the distinctive character of the design. Structurally, ITC Tyfa is a neoclassical design, with a vertical axis, pronounced contrast between thick and thin strokes, and thin serifs with no bracketing joining them to the stems. The curves and the variations of thick and thin show exuberance far beyond most neoclassical types. The last sentence is exaggerated: ITC Tyfa has nothing of the modern mathematical exactness of Bodoni or Didot---I find it even inconsistent. It is warmer, yes, but it also betrays the didone spirit.
  • Kolektiv (1952, Grafotechna). A transitional roman face, done with S. Duda and K. Misek.
  • At StormTypeFoundry, his Týfa typeface became Tyfa Text, and his Academia (1968), made for scientific texts, became Academica (2007): its digitization was the result of a cooperation between Týfa and Storm. Storm says: During 2004 Josef Týfa approved certain differences from the original drawings in order to bring more original and timeless feeling to this successful typeface. Vertical stem outlines are no more straight, but softly slendered in the middle, italics were quietened, uppercase proportions brought closer to antique principle. Light and Black designs served (as usual) as starting points for interpolation of remaining weights.

Josef Týfa
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Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Type design in Czechia ⦿ Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿

file name: Josef Tyfa Czech Postage Stamp 1965

file name: Frantisek Storm I T C Tyfa

file name: Josef Tyfa Stanislav Duda Karel Misek Kolektiv 1952

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