1. How did you get into the business of type design?
I got interested in the idea of type design when I was studying graphic design at college in the mid-seventies. My first fonts were published by FontHaus in the mid-nineties. But I wasn’t really “in the type design business” until the early 2000s, when I started selling fonts on the web. I had quit a full-time position as a graphic designer in 2000 to go into business for myself, hoping to get freelance work doing design, illustration, lettering, and type design. I did do a bit of each of those at first, but my fonts started selling well enough that by 2005 I dropped all other work except type design.
2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
I was rather dismayed by the grunge and deconstructionist type design of the nineties. It went against everything I knew about design. I didn’t really get it, and I definitely couldn’t do it without pretense. It seemed very reactionary and anti-design. So the trend I’m happiest about is the return to well-designed, well-made fonts.
3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
Probably Proxima Nova, just because it has become so popular. You always hope when you design a typeface that it will catch on with designers, but you don’t seriously expect it to happen. I feel incredibly lucky.
4. What’s your dream project?
I don’t think I have a “dream project.” I’ve always tended to follow my interests wherever they might lead, without necessarily working toward some big goal. And I have a lot of different interests, mainly in the arts—cartooning, animation, filmmaking, music, graphic design, writing, type design. It’s not really the best strategy. You end up being kind of a dabbler, not really doing anything significant in any particular area. Better to focus on one thing and stick to it if you want to be successful. But somehow type design got traction for me. It wasn’t my only dream job, but, realistically, you’re lucky to get even one of those in life.
Learn more about Mark Simonson and check out his fonts at www.marksimonson.com.
Want to learn more from other font experts? Check out our interview with Kyle Bean, a London-based artist who creates one-of-a-kind designs, distinct illustrations, and playful, concept-driven imagery for a variety of editorial and commercial projects.
What’s hot and what’s not in the font world? Find out by downloading our Type Trends Report. We surveyed thousands of graphic designers, art directors, and creative people from around the globe and combined their thoughts in our most recent report.