FontShop International

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
FontShop International
Industry Type foundry, Stock photography
Fate Acquired by Monotype
Founded Berlin, Germany (1990 (1990))
Founders Joan Spiekermann, Erik Spiekermann, Neville Brody
Defunct July 14, 2014 (2014-07-14)
Headquarters Berlin, Germany
Key people
Petra Weitz, CEO
Products Fonts, Digital images

FontShop International is an international manufacturer of digital typefaces (fonts), based in Berlin. It is one of the largest digital type foundries.

The FontFont library of fonts contains designs by 160 type designers,[1] among them renowned designers such as Peter Biľak, Evert Bloemsma, Erik van Blokland, Neville Brody, Martin Majoor, Albert-Jan Pool, Hans Reichel, Just van Rossum, Fred Smeijers, and Erik Spiekermann. The aim of FontFont is to offer typefaces by designers for designers.

FontShop International was acquired by Monotype Imaging on July 14, 2014.[2] The deal came as part of Monotype's takeover of many of the other large digital type retailers, including Linotype, Monotype, ITC, and Bitstream.


After founding the first German reseller of typefaces FontShop in 1989, Joan Spiekermann, Erik Spiekermann, and Neville Brody started an independent type foundry just one year later. They commissioned a few young type designers to make the first few FontFonts. The first font ever was FF Beowolf by the Dutch Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum in 1990. It was called a “living” font because it used a random feature of the PostScript language to generate randomly different letter forms each time when printed. The library has grown over the years by numerous FF releases (being 59 until May 2012[3]), and is now one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary type designs.

Between 1990 and 2000 FontShop International published together with Neville Brody 18 issues of the experimental typographical magazine FUSE and organised several FUSE conferences, the forerunners of the annual European design conference TYPO Berlin.

In 2001, FontShop International founded their own stock photo agency called ƒStop and introduced it to the stock photography market.

Company structure

FontShop International is licensor for four FontShops in Austria, Benelux, Germany, and the USA. FontShop USA, based in San Francisco, is owned by FontShop International; all the other FontShops are separate, independent companies concentrating on their own markets. While FontShop International publishes typefaces as a foundry, the FontShops work as resellers of FontShop International’s FontFonts but also of fonts from other foundries.

FontShop International’s legal form is GmbH.


The main focus at FontShop International is the extension and maintenance of the FontFont typeface library. Fonts published as FontFonts are always named using the prefix FF. Besides text and headline fonts such as FF Dax, FF DIN, FF Meta, FF Quadraat, and FF Scala there are also special designs like the “dirty” or grunge typography typewriter font FF Trixie, the “living” font FF Beowolf and digital handwriting fonts FF Erikrighthand and FF Justlefthand (FF Hands package). The library now consists of over different 700 font families.

Type designers may submit their own type designs for publication in the FontFont library. A committee of internal experts (TypeBoard) reviews submissions for aesthetical, technical, and marketing aspects and decides about publication in the library. A basic prerequisite is that the type designs are original.


FontShop International is also publisher of the FontBook. The FontBook is an independent compendium of digital typefaces. The first edition was published in 1991 and revised and extended three times to show as many new and updated typefaces as possible. The latest fourth edition from September 2006 contains 1,760 pages with showings of 32,000 typefaces by 90 international foundries, being the largest printed type reference book of the world. In addition to the type specimens, users can find information about the type designer, year of publication, style category, language versions and see-also references to similar alternate typefaces.[4]

In 2011, FontShop International published the first digital version of the FontBook. The iPad app contains 620,000 typeface specimens by 110 international type foundries.[5]


FontShop International also publishes the image library ƒStop, named as a reference to the f-numbers of photography. At present, 22,000 royalty-free photos by 150 photographers are offered (December 2008). The images are distributed directly as well as via some of the FontShops and Getty Images.

Original fonts

Erik Spiekermann

  • FF Meta
  • FF Info
  • FF Govan
  • FF Unit
  • FF Meta Serif
  • FF Real - grotesque sans-serif in the style of Akzidenz-Grotesk but with optical sizes.

Martin Majoor

  • FF Scala - Dutch-inspired old-style serif with similarities to Joanna and the work of Dwiggins. Part of a font superfamily.
  • FF Scala Sans - Scala's humanist sans companion
  • FF Scala Jewels - jewel font titling capitals
  • FF Seria
  • FF Seria Sans
  • FF Nexus
  • FF Nexus Sans
  • FF Nexus Mix - slab-serif design

Akira Kobayashi

  • FF Clifford - serif font with optical sizes inspired by traditional English printing.[6]

Xavier Dupré

  • FF Yoga
  • FF Yoga Sans

Pascal Zoghbi

  • FF Seria Arabic


  • Spiekermann, Erik; Middendorp, Jan: Made with FontFont, Book Industry Services (BIS): 2006, ISBN 978-90-6369-129-5
  • Thi Truong, Mai-Linh; Siebert, Jürgen; Spiekermann, Erik: FontBook – Digital Typeface Compendium, FSI FontShop International: 2006, ISBN 978-3-930023-04-2
  • Jubert, Roxane, Typography and Graphic Design, From Antiquity to the Present. Flammarion: 2006, ISBN 2-08-030523-9
  • Schuler, Günter: Typomarken, Markentypo – Die Herkunft der Schriften in Libraries, in Publishing Praxis: 1–2/2008. 14. Jahrgang, Deutscher Drucker Verlagsgesellschaft: 2008, ISSN 0948-1931

See also

External links


  1. Designers’ page on
  2. "Monotype Acquires FontShop International". Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. Retrieved 16 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Release news on
  4. FontBook on FontShop International’s FontFont website
  5. FontBook app on FontShop International’s FontFont website
  6. Kobayashi, Akira. "Akira Kobayashi on FF Clifford". FontFeed. Retrieved 1 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>