Mark Simonson Studio
Mark Simonson Studio is located in StPaul, MN. Mark founded Mark Simonson Studio around 2000, and describes himself as a freelance graphic designer and type designer. From his CV: Early in my career I worked mainly as an art director on a number of magazines and other publications including Metropolis (a Minneapolis weekly, 1977), TWA Ambassador (an inflight magazine, 1979-81), Machete (a Minneapolis broadsheet, 1978-80), Minnesota Monthly (Minnesota Public Radio's regional magazine, 1979-85), and the Utne Reader (1984-88). I was head designer and art director for Minnesota Public Radio (1981-85) and an art director for its sister company, Rivertown Trading Company (1992-2000). During that time, I designed over 200 audio packages, including most of Garrison Keillor's, along with several hundred products (t-shirts, mugs, rugs, watches, etc.) for the Wireless, Signals, and other mail order catalogs. I have frequently done lettering as part of design projects I'm working on. This has always been my favorite part, so in 2000 I opened my own shop specializing in lettering, typography and identity design. I've also been interested in type design since my college days. I started licensing fonts to FontHaus in 1992, and since starting my new business, stepped up my efforts in developing original typefaces. I now have more than 70 fonts on the market with many more to come. This is increasingly becoming the focus of my activities. His fonts:
- Coquette (2001). He says: Coquette could be the result of a happy marriage of Kabel and French Script.
- Anonymice Powerline (2009-2010). This is probably a hack by some people based on Anonymous. It is available in some Github directories.
- Kandal: a 1994 wedge serif, now also at MyFonts).
- Proxima Sans (1994, a geometric sans, rereleased in 2004), followed in 2005 by his massively successful Proxima Nova in 42 styles/weights. Followed by Proxima Nova Soft (2011). The rounded version of Proxima Nova is Proxima Soft (2017). For a variable font that captures all styles, see Proxima Vara (2021). In 2022, he added Proxima Sera (an 18-style workhorse serif that combines old style forms with contemporary and modern typefaces).
- Mostra (2001): based on a style of lettering often seen on Italian Art Deco posters and advertising of the 1930s. Look at the Light and Black versions, and drool...... The 2009 update is called Mostra Nuova. Selected styles: Mostra Nuovo Bold, Mostra One Light, Mostra Three Bold, Mostra Two Heavy.
- In 2001, he made the Mac font Anonymous. Its updated version is Anonymous Pro (2009-2010), a TrueType version of Anonymous 9, which was a freeware bitmap font developed in the mid-90s by Susan Lesch and David Lamkins. It was designed as a more legible alternative to Monaco, the mono-spaced Macintosh system font.
- In 1998 and 2001, he produced the (free) 3-style Atari Classic family.
- In 2003, he released Blakely Bold and Heavy (an art deco font first done for the Signals mail order catalog). The original Blakely is from 2000.
- Goldenbook Light, Regular, and Heavy, based on the logotype of the 1920s literary mag called "The Golden Book Magazine".
- Metallophile Sp 8 Light and Light Italic (2008): a "faithful facsimile of an 8-point sans as set on a 1940s-vintage hot metal typesetting machine".
- Refrigerator Light and Heavy, Refrigerator and its extension Refrigerator Deluxe (2009) (geometric sans).
- Changeling Light, Regular, Bold, Stencil, and Inline (2003): a redesign and expansion of China, a VGC photo-typositor typeface from 1975 by M. Mitchell, which includes unicase typefaces; see also Changeling Neo, 2009.
- Sanctuary Regular and Bold: a computerish typeface based on lettering in the 1976 movie Logan's run--later withdrawn from the market.
- Sharktooth (+Bold, +Heavy).
- Felt Tip Roman, Woman and Senior (based on his own handwriting). Felt Tip Senior (2000) is based on the hand of Mark's father. Felt Tip Woman Regular and Bold are based on the handwriting of designer Patricia Thompson.
- Filmotype Gay (2011).
- Filmotype Honey (2010): fifties brush lettering face. For a free alternative, see Honey Script (2000) by Dieter Steffmann.
- Raster Gothic Condensed Regular and Bold (12 fonts total), and Raster Bank (a pixelized version of Bank Gothic).
- Other free bitmap fonts for the Mac [the PC version was made by CybaPee]. MyFonts page.
- He digitized Phil Martin's family, Grad (2004, inspired by Century Schoolbook, and originally done by Martin in 1990).
- His 2006 production includes three script typefaces: Kinescope is a connected script based on title lettering in Fleischer Studios' animated Superman films from the 1940s. Snicker is a cartoony block letter type. Both were published at Font Bros. And Launderette is a connected very slanted script based closely on lettering used in the titles of the 1944 Otto Preminger film, Laura.
- In 2007, he revived and extended Filmotype Glenlake (2007, sold at Font Bros).
- Lakeside (2008) is a flowing 1940s-style brush script. It was inspired by hand-lettered titles in the classic 1944 film noir movie Laura.
- In 2008, he revived Filmotype Zanzibar, about which he writes: That Zanzibar is nearly an anagram of bizarre seems fitting. The surviving people from Filmotype (later Alphatype) have not been able to tell us who designed this gem, so we have no record of the designers intentions. Released in the early 1950s, it seems somewhat inspired by the work of Lucian Bernhard (Bernhard Tango, 1934) and Imre Reiner (Stradivarius, 1945). At first, it appears to be a formal script, but there are no connecting strokes. It would be better described as a stylized italic, similar to Bodoni Condensed Italic or Onyx Italic, with swash capitals.
- Filmotype Vanity (2008) is an outline typeface based on a 1955 design by Filmotype. It was derived from Filmotype Ginger.
- Filmotype Alice (2008) is casual handwriting. However, MyFonts now credits Patrick Griffin with the digitization.
- Filmotype MacBeth (2008) is a freestyle face.
- Filmotype Ginger (2008) is a heavy display typeface with an aftertaste of Futura.
- Boxy2 (2008) and Boxy1 (2008) are severely octagonal typefaces made to test out FontStruct. See also bubblewrap.
- In 2008, Mark Solsburg and Mark Simonson cooperated on the digital revival of the calligraphic Diane Script, originally designed in 1956 by Roger Excoffon.
- In 2009, Mark worked on SketchFlow Print, a font for Microsoft. It will be bundled with the next version of Christian Schormann's Expression Blend, part of Microsoft's Expression Studio suite. The fonts, based upon the handwriting of architect Michaela Mahady of SALA Architects, Inc., give that well-known architectural printing look (like Tekton).
- Filmotype Gem (2011). A sans headline typeface that was first drawn by Filmotype in the 1950s.
- Bookmania (2011) is a revival of Bookman Oldstyle (1901) and the Bookmans of the 1960s, but with all the features you would expect in a modern digital font family. Especially, Simonson's Bookmania story is worth reading.
- In 2018, he published the 25-style Acme Gothic at Fontspring. He explains: Acme Gothic (2018) is based on the thick and thin gothic lettering style popular in the U.S. in the first half of the twentieth century. There have been typefaces in this genre before, but they were either too quirky (Globe Gothic), too English (Britannic), too Art Deco (Koloss), too modern (Radiant), or too Art Nouveau (Panache). None captures the plain, workman-like style of Acme Gothic.
- Parkside (2018) is a script typeface inspired by typefaces and lettering of the 1930s and 1940s. Parkside uses OpenType magic to automatically select letter variations that seamlessly connect to the letters coming before and after.
- In 2018, he emulated wood type in his HWT Konop at P22. Named for Don Konop, a retired Hamilton Manufacturing employee, who worked from 1959 to 2003, this typeface is monospaced in both x and y directions so that letters can be stacked vertically and horizontally. All proceeds go to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum.
- Etna (2020). A 30-style text and display family that started out from William H. Page's Victorian wood type Aetna (1874), and was remolded by Simonson into a useful typeface family though still distinctly linked to its ancestor. Etna includes three different condensed widths in all six weights (intended for display use), four different figure styles, alternate characters, true small caps, and a selection of dingbats, including arrows, stars, asterisks, and manicules.
Links to his typefaces, in decreasing order of popularity: Proxima Nova, Bookmania, Mostra Nuova, Proxima Nova Soft, Coquette, Refrigerator Deluxe, Felt Tip Roman, Grad, Changeling Neo, Goldenbook, Lakeside, Kinescope, Metallophile Sp8, Blakely, Felt Tip Woman, Snicker, Felt Tip Senior, Kandal, Sharktooth, Anonymous, Raster Bank, Raster Gothic.
FontShop link. Fontspace link. MyFonts interview. View all typefaces designed by Mark Simonson. Fontspring link. Google Plus link. Klingspor link. Abstract Fonts link. Kernest link. I Love Typography link. Font Squirrel link.
Mark Simonson Studio
Fontspring link [Buy fonts]
Monotype foundry link
Creative Market page
Klingspor Museum page
Commercial fonts (small outfits) ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Sites with only a few free fonts ⦿
Handwriting fonts ⦿
Pixel/bitmap fonts ⦿
Monospaced fonts ⦿
Unicase type design ⦿
Very thin (hairline sans) typefaces ⦿
Typewriter fonts ⦿
Comic/cartoon fonts ⦿
FontStruct fonts ⦿
Type scene in Minnesota ⦿
Calligraphic typefaces ⦿
Brush script typefaces ⦿
Architectural lettering/typefaces ⦿
Art deco typefaces ⦿
Typefaces related to radio ⦿
Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿
Signage typefaces ⦿
Film noir typefaces ⦿
Wood Type ⦿
Fists, pointing hands ⦿
Variable fonts ⦿
Dieter Steffmann ⦿