Christian Schwartz was born in 1977 in East Washington, NH, and grew up in a small town in New Hampshire. He attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1999 with a degree in Communication Design. After graduation, he spent three months as the in-house type designer at MetaDesign Berlin, under the supervision of Erik Spiekermann. In January 2000, he joined Font Bureau. Near the end of 2000, he founded Orange Italic with Chicago-based designer Dino Sanchez, and left Font Bureau in August 2001 to concentrate full-time on developing this company. Orange Italic published the first issue of their online magazine at the end of 2001 and released their first set of typefaces in the beginning of 2002. Presently, he is an independent type designer in New York City, and has operated foundries like Christian Schwartz Design and Commercial Type (the latter since 2009). He has designed commercial fonts for Emigre, FontShop, House Industries and Font Bureau as well as proprietary designs for corporations and publications. In 2005, Orange Italic joined the type coop Village.
His presentations. At ATypI 2004 in Prague, he spoke about "The accidental text face". At ATypI 2006 in Lisbon, he and Paul Barnes explained the development of a 200-style font family for the Guardian which includes Guardian Egyptian and Guardian Sans. FontShop's page on his work. Bio at Emigre. At ATypI 2007 in Brighton, he was awarded the Prix Charles Peignot. Jan Middendorp's interview in October 2007. Speaker at ATypI 2009 in Mexico City, where he announced his new typefoundry, simply called Commercial.
FontShop link. Font selection at MyFonts.
A partial list of his creations:
Schwartz also made numerous custom fonts:
- FF Bau (2001-2004): Art direction by Erik Spiekermann. Released by FontShop International. He says: Bau is based on Grotesk, a typeface released by the Schelter&Giesecke typefoundry in Leipzig, Germany at the end of the 19th century and used prominently by the designers at the Bauhaus. Each weight was drawn separately, to give the family the irregularity of the original, and the Super is new.
- Neutraface (2002, House Industries) and Neutraface Condensed (2004). Art directed by Ken Barber and Andy Cruz. Schwartz states: Neutraface was an ambitious project to design the most typographically complete geometric sans serif family ever. We didn't have many actual samples of the lettering that the Neutras used on their buildings, so it ended up taking a lot of interpretation. There was no reference for the lowercase, so it's drawn from scratch, looking at Futura, Nobel, and Tempo for reference. Stephen Coles reports: Reminiscent of the recent FB Relay and HTF Gotham, Neutraface is an exaggerated Nobel with nods to Bauhaus and architectural lettering. Yes, and maybe Futura? Maggie Winters and Michelle Regna made great Neutraface posters.
- Neutraface No. 2 (2007), discussed by Stephen Coles: By simply raising Neutrafaces low waist, most of that quaintness is removed in No. 2, moving the whole family (which is completely mixable) toward more versatile, workhorse territory. This release is surely Houses response to seeing so many examples of Neutraface standardized by its users. Also new is an inline version. Who doesn't love inline type? It so vividly recalls WPA posters and other pre-war hand lettering. There are other heavy, inlined sans serifs like Phosphate, but one with a full family of weights and text cuts to back it up is very appealing. A typophile states: Designed by Christian Schwartz for House Industries, Neutraface captures the 1950s stylings of architect Richard Neutra in a beautiful typeface meant for application on the screen, in print, and in metalwork. If you are ever in need of a classy retro face, they don't get any more polished than this.
- Farnham (2004, Font Bureau) and Farnham Headline (2006, Schwartzco). Commissioned by Esterson Associates and de Luxe Associates. Winner of an award at TDC2 2004. Based on work by Johannes Fleischman, a German punchcutter who worked for the Enschedé Foundry in Haarlem in the mid-to-late 1700s. Schwartz: Truly part of the transistion from oldstyle (i.e. Garamond) to modern (i.e. Bodoni) Fleischman's romans are remarkable for their energy and "sparkle" on the page, as he took advantage of better tools and harder steel to push the limits of how thin strokes could get. In the 1800s, Fleischman's work fell into obscurity as tastes changed, but interest was renewed in the 1990s as digital revivals were designed by Matthew Carter, the Hoefler Type Foundry, and the Dutch Type Library, each focusing on a different aspect of the source material. I think the DTL version is the most faithful to the source, leaving the bumps and quirks inherent to metal type untouched. I've taken the opposite approach, using the source material as a starting point and trying to design a very contemporary text face that uses the basic structure and character of Fleischman without duplicating features that I found outdated, distracting, or unttatractive (i.e., the extra "spikes" on the capital E and F, or the form of the y).
- FF Unit (2003-2004, Fontshop, designed with Erik Spiekermann). A clean and blocky evolution of FF Meta intended as a corporate face for the Deutsche Bahn (but subsequently not used).
- Amplitude (2001-2003, Font Bureau), Amplitude Classified and Amplitude Headline. A newspaper-style ink-trapped sans family, unfortunately given the same name as a 2001 font by Aenigma. Winner of an award at TDC2 2004. The face selected by the St Louis Post Dispatch in 2005. One of many agates (type for small text) successfully developed by him. This page explains that they've dumped Dutch 811 and Bodoni and Helvetica and Franklin Gothic and News Gothic (whew!) for various weights of Amplitude, Poynter Old Style Display and Poynter Old Style Text. AmplitudeAubi was designed in 2002-2003 by Schwartz and Font Bureau for the German mag AutoBild.
- Simian (2001, House Industries): SimianDisplay-Chimpanzee, SimianDisplay-Gorilla, SimianDisplay-Orangutan, SimianText-Chimpanzee, SimianText-Gorilla, SimianText-Orangutan. Designed at Font Bureau. Art Direction by Ken Barber and Andy Cruz. Schwartz: "Although Simian's roots are in Ed Benguiat's logos for the Planet of the Apes movies, Simian wound up veering off in its own direction. The display styles look very techno, and we really went nuts with the ligatures, since this was one of House's first Opentype releases."
- Publico (2007): A predecessor of Guradian Egyptian. Schwartz writes: During the two year process of designing the typeface that would eventually become Guardian Egyptian, Paul Barnes and I ended up discarding many ideas along the way. Some of them were decent, just not right for the Guardian, including a serif family first called Stockholm, then renamed Hacienda after the legendary club in the Guardian's original home city of Manchester. Everyone involved liked the family well enough, but it didn't fit the paper as the design evolved, and several rounds of reworking left us more and more unsure of what it was supposed to look like. In the summer of 2006, Mark Porter and Esterson Associates were hired to redesign Publico, a major Portuguese daily newspaper, for an early 2007 launch. He asked us to take another look at Hacienda, to see if we might be able to untangle our many rounds of changes, figure out what it was supposed to look like in the first place, and finish it in a very short amount of time. Spending some time away from the typeface did our eyes a world of good. When we looked at it again, it was obvious that it really needed its "sparkle" played up, so we increased the sharpness of the serifs, to play against softer ball terminals, and kept the contrast high as the weight increased, ending up with an elegant and serious family with some humor at its extreme weights. As a Spanish name is not suitable for a typeface for a Portuguese newspaper, Hacienda was renamed once more, finally ending up as Publico. Production and design assistance by Kai Bernau. Commissioned by Mark Porter and Esterson Associates for Publico
- Austin (2003): Designed by Paul Barnes at Schwartzco. Commissioned by Sheila Jack at Harper's&Queen.
- Giorgio (2007): Commissioned by Chris Martinez at T, the New York Times Sunday style magazine. Small size versions produced with Kris Sowersby. Not available for relicensing. A high contrast condensed "modern" display face related to Imre Reiner's Corvinus. Ben Kiel raves: Giorgio, like the fashion models that it shares space with in T, the New York Times fashion magazine, is brutal in its demands. It is a shockingly beautiful typeface, one so arresting that I stopped turning the page when I first saw it a Sunday morning about a year ago. [...] Giorgio exudes pure sex and competes with the photographs beside it. The designers at T were clearly unafraid of what it demands from the typographer and, over the past year, kept on finding ways to push Giorgio to its limit. Extremely well drawn in its details, full of tension between contrast and grace, it is a typeface that demands to be given space, to be used with wit and courage, and for the typographer to be unafraid in making it the page.
- Empire State Building (2007): An art deco titling face designed with Paul Barnes for Laura Varacchi at Two Twelve Associates. Icons designed by Kevin Dresser at Dresser Johnson. Exclusive to the Empire State Building.
- Guardian (2004-2005): Commissioned by Mark Porter at The Guardian. Designed with Paul Barnes. Not available for relicensing until 2008. Based on an Egyptian, this 200-style family consists of Guardian Egyptian (the main text face), Guardian Sans, Guardian Text Egyptian, Guardian Text Sans and Guardian Agate.
- Houston (2003): Commissioned by Roger Black at Danilo Black, Inc., for the Houston Chronicle. Schwartz: As far as I know, this typeface is the first Venetian Oldstyle ever drawn for newspaper text, and only Roger Black could come up with such a brilliant and bizarre idea. The basic structures are based on British Monotype's Italian Old Style, which was based on William Morris's Golden Type. The italic (particularly the alternate italic used in feature sections) also borrows from Nebiolo Jenson Oldstyle, and there is a hint of ATF Jenson Oldstyle in places as well.
- Popular (2004): Commissioned by Robb Rice at Danilo Black, Inc., for Popular Mechanics. An Egyptian on testosterone.
- Stag (2005): Commissioned by David Curcurito and Darhil Crooks at Esquire. Yet another very masculine slab serif family. Schwartz writes I showed them a range of slab serifs produced by French and German foundries around 1900-1940, and synthesized elements from several of them (notably Beton, Peignot's Egyptienne Noir, Georg Trump's Schadow, and Scarab) into a new face with a very large x-height, extremely short ascenders and descenders, and tight spacing. Also, we find Stag Sans (2007, Village) and Stag Dot (2008, Village).
- Fritz (1997, Font Bureau). Schwartz: "Fritz is based on various pieces of handlettering done in the early 20th century by Ozwald Cooper, a type designer and lettering artist best known for the ubiquitous Cooper Black. Galapagos Typefoundry's Maiandra and Robusto are based on the same pieces of lettering."
- Latino-Rumba, Latino-Samba (2000, House Industries). Art Direction by Andy Cruz. Designed with Ken Barber. Jazzy letters based on an earlier design of Schwartz, called Atlas (1993).
- Pennsylvania (2000, FontBureau). A monospaed family inspired by Pennsylvanian license plates. Schwartz: "Thai type designer Anuthin Wongsunkakon's Keystone State is based on the exact same source."
- Luxury (2002, Orange Italic, codesigned with Dino Sanchez). Gold, Platinum and Diamond are the names of the 1930s headline faces made (jokingly) for use with luxury items. The six-weight Luxury family at House Industries in 2006, contains three serif text weights called Luxury Text, as well as three display faces, called Platinum (art deco), Gold, and Diamond (all caps with triangular serifs).
- Los Feliz (2002, Emigre). Based on handlettered signs found in LA.
- Unfinished faces: Masthead, Reform, Bitmaps, Bilbao, Boyband, Addison, Elektro, Sandbox, Vendôme, Bailey.
- Fonts drawn in high school: Flywheel (1992, FontHaus), Atlas (1993, FontHaus, a "a fairly faithful revival of Potomac Latin, designed in the late 1950s for PhotoLettering, Inc"), Elroy (1993, FontHaus), ElroyExtrasOrnaments, Hairspray (1993, "a revival of Steinweiss Scrawl, designed in the mid-1950s by Alex Steinweiss, best known for his handlettered record covers": HairsprayBlonde, HairsprayBrunette, HairsprayPix, HairsprayRedhead), Twist (1994, Precision Type and Agfa), Zombie (1995, Precision Type and Agfa), Morticia (1995, Agfa/Monotype), Gladys (1996, an unreleased revival of ATF's turn-of-the-century Master Script).
- Ant&Bee&Art Fonts (1994-1995): three dingbat fonts, Baby Boom, C'est la vie, and Raining Cats&Dogs, based on drawings by Christian's aunt, Jill Weber. Released by FontHaus.
- Digitizations done between 1993-1995: Dolmen (Letraset), Latino Elongated (Letraset), Regatta Condensed (Letraset), Fashion Compressed (Letraset), Jack Regular (Jack Tom), Tempto Openface (Tintin Timen).
- Hand-tuned bitmap fonts: Syssy, Zimmer's Egyptian, Elizzzabeth, Newt Gothic, Trags X, Tibia, Fibula, Tino, Digest Cyrillic (based on Tal Leming's Digest). Free downloads of the pixel faces Newt Gothic, Tibula and Fibia here.
- At Village and Orange Italic, one can get Local Gothic (2005), now in OpenType, a crazy mix of Helvetica Bold, Futura Extra Bold, Franklin Gothic Condensed and Alternate Gothic No. 2.
- FF Oxide (2005), a Bank Gothic style stencil family. FF Oxide Light is free!
- Graphik (2008), a sans between geometric and grotesk made for thew Wallpaper mag. Kris sSwersby writes: In a sweltering typographic climate that favours organic look-at-me typefaces bursting with a thousand OpenType tricks, Graphik is a refreshing splash of cool rationality. Its serious, pared-back forms reference classic sans serifs but remain thoroughly modern and never get frigid. Any designer worth their salt needs to turn away from the screen&pick up the latest copy of Wallpaper* magazine. There you will find one of the most beautiful, restrained sans serifs designed in a very long time.
- In 2011, he created a 22-style revival of Helvetica called Neue Haas Grotesk (Linotype), which offers alternates such as a straigt-legged R and a differently-seriffed a. It is based on the original drawings of Miedinger in 1957.
- Houston (2003). Winner of an award at TDC2 2004, a type family done with Roger Black for the Houston Chronicle. Schwartz: This typeface is the first Venetian Oldstyle ever drawn for newspaper text, and only Roger Black could come up with such a brilliant and bizarre idea. The basic structures are based on British Monotype's Italian Old Style, which was based on William Morris's Golden Type.).
- Popular (2004). A thick-slabbed face drawn for Popular Mechanics, commissioned by Robb Rice at Danilo Black, Inc.
- FF Meta 3 (2003, hairline versions of type drawn by Richard Lipton and Erik Spiekermann).
- Eero (2003). Based on an unnamed typeface drawn by Eero Saarinen for the Dulles International Airport. Art Directed by Ken Barber and Andy Cruz. Commissioned by House Industries for the Dulles International Airport.
- ITC Officina Display (2003). The Regular, Bold and Black weights of this face were originally developed by Ole Schäfer for Erik Spiekermann's redesign of The Economist in 2000 or 2001. The ITC conglomerate decided to release it in 2003. I revised parts of Ole's fonts, and worked with Richard Lipton to adapt the Light from a version of Officina Light that Cyrus Highsmith had drawn several years earlier for a custom client. I also added more arrows and bullets than anyone could possibly need, but they were fun to draw. Released by Agfa.
- Symantec (2003). Designed with Conor Mangat based on News Gothic by Morris Fuller Benton (Sans) and Boehringer Serif by Ole Schäfer, based on Concorde Nova by Günter Gerhard Lange (Serif). Advised by Erik Spiekermann. Commissioned by MetaDesign for Symantec Corporation.
- Harrison (2002). Based on the hand of George Harrison, was commissioned in 2002 by radical.media.
- Chalet Cyrillic (2002, House Industries).
- Benton Modern (2001). Based on Globe Century by Tobias Frere-Jones and Richard Lipton. Commissioned by Font Bureau for the Readability Series. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Caslon's Egyptian (2001). Commissioned by Red Herring. Designed at Font Bureau. Around 1816, William Caslon IV printed the first know specimen of a sans serif typeface: W CASLON JUNR LETTERFOUNDER. A complete set of matrices for captials exists in the archives of Stephenson Blake, and Miko McGinty revived these as a project in Tobias Frere-Jones's type design class at Yale. In 1998, Cyrus Highsmith refined Miko's version, giving it a more complete character set for Red Herring magazine. In 2001, they came back for a lowercase and 3 additional weights. I looked at Clarendon and British vernacular lettering (mainly from signs) for inspiration, and came up with a lowercase that does not even pretend to be an accurate or failthful revival.
- David Yurman (2001). Based on a custom typeface by Fabien Baron. Commissioned by Lipman Advertising for David Yurman. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Coop Black lowercase (2001). Based on Coop Black by Ken Barber and Coop. Commissioned by House Industries for Toys R Us. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Interstate Monospaced (2000-2001). Based on Interstate by Tobias Frere-Jones. Commissioned by Citigroup. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Vectora Thin (2000). Based on Vectora by Adrian Frutiger. Commissioned by O Magazine. Not available for licensing. Designed at Font Bureau.
- LaDeeDa (2000). Informal lettering, art directed by Mia Hurley. Commissioned by gURL.com. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Poynter Agate Display (2000). Based on Poynter Agate by David Berlow. Commissioned by the San Jose Mercury News classified section. Designed at Font Bureau.
- FF DIN Condensed (2000). Based on FF DIN by Albert-Jan Pool. Commissioned by Michael Grossman for Harper's Bazaar. Designed at Font Bureau.
- VW Headline Light&VW Heckschrift (1999). Based on Futura by Paul Renner and VW Headline by Lucas de Groot. Art directed by Erik Spiekermann and Stephanie Kurz. Commissioned by MetaDesign Berlin for Volkswagen AG.
- 5608 (1999). Stencil face for Double A Clothing.
- Bureau Grotesque (1996-2002). Designed with FB Staff including David Berlow, Tobias Frere-Jones, Jill Pichotta, Richard Lipton, and others. Mostly unreleased. Some styles commissioned by Entertainment Weekly. Designed at Font Bureau.
- Guardian Egyptian (2005). A 200-font family by Schwartz and Paul Barnes for The Guardian.
- In 2007, Schwartz and Spiekermann received a gold medal from the German Design Council for a type system developed fo the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway).
- Zizou (2011). A reworking (from memory) of Antique Olive (1960, Roger Excoffon).
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