Born in 1960 in Niigata, Japan. Studied at the Musashino Art University in Tokyo. He also studied calligraphy at the London College of Printing. He became a freelance designer in 1997. Akira Kobayashi, who was based in Tokyo prior to his move to the Franfurt area, is an accomplished type designer who has created numerous typefaces for Sha-Ken, Dainippon Screen (where he made the kanji font Hiragino Mincho), TypeBank (from 1993-1997), ITC and Linotype, where he is Type Director since 2001. Interview. His numerous awards include the Type Directors Club awards in 1998 (ITC Woodland), 1999 (the art deco styled ITC Silvermoon, and ITC Japanese Garden), and 2000 (FF Clifford), the 1999 Kyrillitsa award for ITC Japanese Garden, the 3rd International Digital Type Design Contest by Linotype Library (for the informal and quirky 4-style Linotype Conrad (1999): Linotype states that Kobayashi took his inspiration from a print typeface of the 15th century created by two German printers named Konrad Sweynheim and Arnold Pannartz), and the 5th Morisawa International Typeface Competition (in which he received an Honourable Mention for his typeface Socia Oldstyle). CV at bukvaraz. Interview in 2006. His typefaces:
At ATypI 2008 in St. Petersburg, he ran a Linotype student type design workshop.
- Helvetica Neue eText Pro (2013).
- Dainippon Screen: the kanji font Hiragino Mincho.
- ITC: ITC Scarborough (1998), ITC Luna, ITC Silvermoon, ITC Japanese Garden, ITC Seven Treasures (1998), ITC Magnifico Daytime and Nighttime (1999), ITC Vineyard (1999), ITC Woodland Demi (1997).
- Adobe: Calcite Pro (sans-serif italic at Adobe, in OpenType format).
- Linotype: Akko Sans and Akko Rounded (2011; Akko Rounded is situated between DIN, Isonorm and Cooper Black, while Akko Sans is an elliptical organic sans related to both DIN and Neue Helvetica), Akko Condensed (2015), Akko Pro Condensed (2015), Akko Pan-European (2015), Eurostile Next (2008, after Aldo Novarese's original), Eurostile Candy and Eurostile Unicase, Cosmiqua (2007, a lively didone serif family based on 19th century English advertising types, and in particular Miller&Richard's Caledonian Italic), Metro Office (2006, a severe sans after a family of Dwiggins from the 20s), Neuzeit Office (2006, modeled after the original sans serif family Neuzeit S, which was produced by D. Stempel AG and the Linotypes design studio in 1966. Neuzeit S itself was a redesign of D. Stempel AG's DIN Neuzeit, created by Wilhelm Pischner between 1928 and 1939), DIN Next (2009, based on the classic DIN 1451), Times Europa Office (2006, modeled after the original serif family produced by Walter Tracy and the Linotypes design studio in 1974. A redesign of the classic Times New Roman typeface, Times Europa was created as its replacement for the Times of London newspaper. In contrast to Times New Roman, Times Europa has sturdier characters and more open counter spaces, which help maintain readability in rougher printing conditions. Times Europa drastically improved on the legibility of the bold and italic styles of Times New Roman.), Trump Mediaeval Office (2006), Linotype Conrad (1999), Optima Nova (2003, a new version of Optima that includes 40 weights, half of them italic), Linotype Avenir Next (2003, 48 weights developed with its original creator, Adrian Frutiger, and to be used also by the city of Amsterdam from 2003 onwards), Avenir Next Rounded (2012, in conjunction with Sandra Winter), Zapfino Extra, Palatino Sans and Palation Sans Informal (2006, with Hermann Zapf; won an award at TDC2 2007). Frutiger Serif (2008) is based on Frutiger's Meridien and the Frutiger (sans) family. Diotima Classic (2008, with Gudrun Zapf von Hesse) revives Gudrun's Diotima from 1951. In 2008-2009, Akira Kobayashi and Tom Grace unified and extended Trade Gothic to Trade Gothic Next (17 styles). Neue Frutiger (2009, with Adrian Frutiger) has twice as many weights as the orifinal Frutiger family. Later in 2009, the extensive DIN Next Pro, co-designed with Sandra Winter, saw the light. I assume that this was mainly done so as to meet the competition of FontShop's FF DIN (by Albert-Jan Pool).
- Fontshop: Acanthus (2000, large Fontfont family), FF Clifford (gorgeous text face!). In 2009, he and Hermann Zapf cooperated on Virtuosa Classic, a calligraphic script that updates and revives Zapf's own 1952-1953 creation, Virtuosa.
- Typebox: TX Lithium (2001, The Typebox).
- Oddities: Skid Row (1990), Socia Oldstyle.
- Suntory corporate types (2003-2005), developed with the help of Matthew Carter and Linotype from Linotype originals: Suntory Syntax, Suntory Sabon, Suntory Gothic, Suntory Mincho.
- In 2014, Akira Kobayashi, Sandra Winter and Tom Grace joined forces to publish DIN Next Slab at Linotype.
- Alexey Chekulaev and Akira Kobayashi (Monotype) won a Granshan 2014 award for the Cyrillic typeface SST.
- In 2016, Akira Kobayashi and Sandra Winter co-designed Applied Sans (32 styles) at Monotype. It is in the tradition of vintage sans typeface such as Venus and Ideal Grotesk and competes with Rod McDonald's splendid Classic Grotesque (2011-2016)..
- Member of a type design team at Monotype that created the Tazugane Gothic typeface in 2017. Designed by Akira Kobayashi, Kazuhiro Yamada and Ryota Doi of the Monotype Studio, the Tazugane Gothic typeface offers ten weights and was developed to complement Neue Frutiger. It is the first original Japanese typeface in Monotype's history. Followed in 2018 by the more restrained Tazugane Info.
- SST (2017). A set of fonts for Latin, Cyrillic, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic and Japanese.
- DIN Next Stencil (2017). Developed together with Sabina Chipara.
- DIN Next Decorative (mostly textured styles such as Rust, Slab Rust, Stencil Rust and Shadow).
Speaker at ATypI 2012 in Hong Kong: Rounded sans in Japan.
View Akiro Kobayashi's typefaces.
Klingspor link. FontShop link. Eurostile Next review. Linotype link. Monotype link. MyFonts interview in 2017.
Klingspor Museum page
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Japanese type design ⦿
Unicase type design ⦿
Calligraphic typefaces ⦿
Art deco typefaces ⦿
German type scene ⦿
Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿
Cooper Black ⦿
Garalde or Garamond typefaces ⦿
Cyrillic type design ⦿
Typefaces and type design for Arabic ⦿
Thai fonts ⦿
Stencil fonts ⦿
Textured typefaces ⦿