Jesse M. Ragan
Originally from North Carolina (b. 1979), Jesse Ragan studied type design at Rhode Island School of Design. After college, Jesse designed typefaces at Hoefler&Frere-Jones, where he had a hand in Gotham, Archer, and several other families. Since 2005, he has worked independently in Brooklyn, developing typefaces and lettering for a variety of clients. His work can be found at Font Bureau, House Industries, and Darden Studio. He also teaches typeface design at Pratt Institute and Cooper Union. He won an award at Bukvaraz 2001 for Gotham, co-designed with Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones. In 2017, he set up XYZ Type with Ben Kiel, who is based in Saint Louis, MO. XYZ Type is part of Type Network since 2018.
- Afri Sans (2011). A custom typeface for the Museum for African Art in Manhattan.
- Athenian Extended (2011). By Matteo Bologna and Jesse Ragan. This "playfully peculiar face" (their words) was custom designed for Typography 32, the annual of the Type Directors Club. A revival of the 19th century classic Athenian.
- Cedar. An angular typeface designed during his studies at RISD. It was later published at XYZ Type.
- Epiphany (2001). A hookish face.
- Export (2012). A vernacular typeface based on signage seen in New York's Chinatown. This all caps typeface features square counters and comes with a stencil version.
- Hoefler & Frere-Jones, 2001-2005. Assistance with the production of several typefaces at HFJ: As a full-time typeface designer for Hoefler & Frere-Jones from 2001 to 2005, I designed a full type family for Smirnoff Vodka (art directed by J. Walter Thompson and H&FJ). Working closely with Tobias Frere-Jones and Jonathan Hoefler on a number of other typefaces, I designed bits and pieces such as hairline weights, Italics, and news grades. These include Mercury, Chronicle, Hoefler Titling, Sentinel, Surveyor (2014)), Gotham, and Archer (a type family done for Martha Stewart Living and designed with Hoefler and Frere-Jones).
- Omnes (2006). A monowidth rounded sans designed by Joshua Darden. Ragan assisted in the production and design process.
- Ruzicka Collection (2012). Digital versions of the alphabets shown in Rudolf Ruzicka's 1968 portfolio Studies in Type Design. This collection led in 2018 to the robust 12-style typeface family Study at XYZ and in 2020 at MyFonts.
- Showcard Stunt (2008). Lower case of a comic book/signage typeface originally drawn by Ken Barber, House Industries. Inspiration from Dom Casual (1950s, Peter Dombrezian).
- Smirnoff (2003). A custom typeface commissioned by J. Walter Thompson for Smirnoff.
- The Bruins (2006). An athletic lettering typeface commissioned by Reebok for The Boston Bruins in 2007-2008.
- USA Today Condensed (2012). He writes: I designed this headline typeface for the dramatic relaunch of USA TODAY, which was overseen by Wolff Olins. The condensed style complements the paper's proprietary version of Futura, but without resorting to the familiar elliptical shapes of Futura Condensed.
- V Magazine (2011). A condensed high-contrast fashion mag headline typeface done for V Magazine.
- Carlstedt Script (2013, with Ben Kiel: a custom signage typeface for Aldo Shoes based on the handwriting of Swedish illustrator Cecilia Carlstedt). Cortado Script (2014) was designed by Jesse Ragan and Ben Kiel. It too was inspired by Cecilia Carlstedt's hand-painted lettering and is quite close to Carlstedt Script.
- In 2017, Jesse Ragan published Aglet Slab and Export at XYZ Type. In 2019, he added Aglet Sans, and in 2020 Aglet Mono. The three Aglet families explore roundness. Aglet Mono, in particular is quite striking, and could be useful for programmers.
- Escalator and Elevator (2021). Two multipurpose geometric sans families following in the footsteps of Block and Futura. Ragan writes: Escalator & Elevator grew from a client commission to replicate existing signage for the renovation of a landmark New York City skyscraper. They take inspiration from prefabricated letterforms of the 1950s, which manufacturers offered in so-called Block and Futura styles, by swapping in a few different shapes. Our interpretation increases the distinction between the two styles, pulling from surplus glyphs created for customizations of the design for other clients. No one really needs another geometric sans, but Escalator & Elevator claim their own aesthetic territories in an abundant genre. Both families are delivered as variable fonts, providing full access to a wide weight range. The optical size axis addresses the specific needs of different type sizes with adjustments to the structure, tapering, and spacing. From small text to the appropriately-named Huge, these typefaces evoke architectural lettering and the era of phototypesetting.
- Polymode Sans (2021, by Jesse Ragan and Ben Kiel). A variable font with a realness axis.
Interview. Behance link. Interview by Lovers Magazine.
Jesse M. Ragan
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Type scene in North Carolina ⦿
Comic/cartoon fonts ⦿
Athletic lettering faces ⦿
Signage typefaces ⦿
Type scene in New York ⦿
African fonts ⦿
Corporate typefaces ⦿
Monospaced fonts ⦿
Stencil fonts ⦿
Fonts for programming ⦿
Variable fonts ⦿