TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Sun Dec 16 17:21:30 EST 2018






ITC ads, Linotype and Erik Spiekermann

This story developed in December 2004 on Typophile, when ITC announced four new typeface families. The typophile community reacted angrily and lots of juicy tidbits surfaced. I summarize for the lazybones: Stephen Coles did not like the word "exclusive" in the ITC ad, as others (Agfa Monotype, Linotype) are selling the fonts as well. Another reader complained about ITC's exaggerations everywhere (failing to mention that ITC Anna has its roots in Stephenson Blake's Casablanca, stating that "ITC Wisteria was designed by Michael Stacey, a Florida-based artist and graphic designer", while in fact it is an exact reproduction of an alphabet design copyrighted in multiple 1938 through 1952 popular publications by Ross F. George, co-inventor of the Speedball pen). Others wondered what the deal was when ITC president Mark Batty gave Linotype the right to sell their fonts. At that point, the conversation turned to Linotype. Dan Reynolds (Linotype) states: "Although Linotype purchased rights to the ITC library for a one-off fee, we still pay all ITC designers royalties on sales". And then the bombshell by Erik Spiekermann, who has a stake in the matter via his ITC Officina: "Linotype has not been paying any fees to the ITC designers up until now. I should know: ITC Officina is one of the best sellers in the library, and I've not been getting a penny. Only after constant nagging and me taking the issue to a limited public has Bruno Steinert agreed to (voluntarily) start paying me and perhaps others. But this only now, after 5 years. And only from now, and only 5%, when it would have been 20% from ITC under the original contract. And Linotype isn't doing this out of moral, let alone legal obligations, but simply because I am a well-known and respected (?) designer who has threatened to sue ITC. That would have made Lino look less than perfect because they never asked any questions when Mark Batty assured them that the deal would not create any problems with anybody. Which, legally, it didn't. Most of the other ITC designers still don't even know what happened. They still get license fees from the Agfa sales and don't even know that they are missing out on Lino's worldwide sales. They haven't noticed because their fees have been less substantial than mine --- or at least should have been. The letter announcing this "voluntary" payment arrived 2 weeks ago, five and a half years after the sale of the library."

ITC ads, Linotype and Erik Spiekermann
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David and Goliath ⦿

file name: Daniel Pelavin I T C Anna 1991

file name: Michael Stacey I T C Wisteria 1995

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