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LUC DEVROYE


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Monotype Imaging buys Linotype

In August 2006, just before another terrorism panic initiated by the Blair Bush twins, the font world was shocked to learn that Linotype, one of the pillars of innovative font design and creative revivals, was bought by Monotype Imaging, whose "image" has been soiled by several unfortunate events including the Book Antiqua/Palatino/Hermann Zapf affair and the dishonest sales campaigns initiated by some Agfa Monotype staff (no longer with Monotype Imaging; nevertheless, the deceptive advertising continues). I see no major reaction in the type world, except perhaps from Jef Tombeur. But the elimination of Linotype leaves us with virtually no upstanding type companies. According to the press release, Bruno Steinert will continue as head of Linotype, but I can't believe that the old Monotype Imaging and Steinert's Linotype can coexist under the same roof for a long period. [Postscriptum: I learned on August 25, 2006, that Steinert is leaving Linotype on September 1, 2006. I would like to take full credit for my prediction on August 10!] The discussion at typophiles reveals many fun curiosities:

  • Bill Troop, who likes the merger: In the past few years, the important decisions have been made exclusively by Adobe and Microsoft, and the results have not altogether been happy. I believe the combined Linotype Monotype entity will be able to change that paradigm and I couldn't be happier. [...] I must say, too, that I know very well Bruno Steinerts passionate commitment to the font industry in general and to Linotype and its legacy in particular, and if there is anything I can be certain of, it is that he has made the best choice for Linotype. This experienced strategist knows very well that you sometimes have to make a daring sacrifice in order to gain a great and lasting success.
  • Rodrigue Planck: Monotype finally gets the US registration back for Times Roman! Even funnier though, is, well a knockoff, like Palladin (Compugraphic), will it be discontinued because they got the real thing? What about Arial? Monotype now owns the font that they knocked off for MS, boy, fonts are a mess! CG pushed Lino way back when and it was good for the font business overall. A word of explanation: Compugraphic (CG) had a line of fonts in the late 80s that were absorbed by Agfa, which later bought Monotype (Agfa/Monotype). Monotype "copied" Linotype's Helvetica for Microsoft and called it Arial. And now, they own both Helvetica and Arial. Monotype "copied" Linotype's Palatino as well, calling it Book Antiqua. And now they own both the original and the copy.
  • Bill Troop: We should be celebrating what a miracle it is that Lino and Mono are still alive and well, and that their combination is probably going to make for even greater health.

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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