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70th Birthday laudatio

[Manfred Klein]

Written by Luc Devroye
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
lucdevroye@gmail.com
http://luc.devroye.org
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On his 70th birthday, Apostrophe summarizes his contributions, and called him the Mark Twain of type. The quotation repeated: "I have really fond memories of Manfred's earliest works, some stuff he did for Apply, Alphabets, and Fontshop. That was the early- to mid- 1990s, when type was still making the transition from photolettering and punches onto this new digital platform. Every old type and its grandfather were being scanned and digitized in all the swift intensity of serial killers, as if time were running out on us. Business concepts were being built around computer letters, territories were being marked, borders drawn... and into all this comes the work of Manfred Klein, like a breath of lake breeze to make light of everything. His Quill script and its hilarious dingbats were among the first "deviate" shockers in type originals. His Birds and Witches dingbats will in my mind always be the very first "funnybats" ever made. Also I shouldn't forget to credit him with the very first digitization I have ever seen of Gutenberg's type. There's been many attempts at it after that, but none had that same first-time effect on me. I'm having a hard time believing that the man's turning seventy now. I can't help but feel a little cheated. I've only known of him for less than 8 or 9 years. I've always thought of him as a star, so imagine if I knew him in his thirties, fourties, or fifties. Still, I was lucky enough to learn of him, learn from him, even communicate with him... all that makes me feel less cheated, and somehow much more life-wise. My one-liner about Manfred, if I were ever asked to compose one, would be this: The Mark Twain of type is a German called Manfred Klein."

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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