The Foundry

At the 1989 ATypI (Association Typographique International) conference in Paris,
I discussed with Freda Sack the idea of setting up our own type foundry. The advent of the Macintosh computer, and software programmes such as Ikarus for Mac gave the opporunity for us to be able to manufacture our own fonts. The Foundry was one of the first independent digital type foundries.

Freda was the ideal partner as we had been working together for some time.
She had already helped me on my two previous typefaces designs: ITC Quay Sans family for the American company, ITC and on Helicon for the German company,
H Berthold AG. Before that she did a lot of work for my previous company, Quay & Gray, drawing logotypes and cutting them in Rubylith film. Even before that, before I really knew her she was secretly redrawing my very dodgy attempts at type design while she was working in the Letraset studio.

Foundry Old Style was already underway as a design before The Foundry was formed. I desperately wanted to design a Renaissance old style serifed typeface, only to get it out of my system. Foundry Old Style became the first typeface to be released by The Foundry in 1990.

The next release Foundry Sans in 1991, was immediately very successful and is still a mainstay of The Foundry collection of typefaces. This san serif typeface was inspired by Stempel Garamond. Erik Spiekermann commented later that Foundry Sans was one of the first humanistic sans serifs to emerge with a strong calligraphic element.

Foundry Wilson 1993 resulted from a commission from, ITC, to design a ‘quintessentially’ English typeface that complemented their rather weak interpretation of Baskerville. We researched and proposed a revival of a robust Scottish typeface by Alexander Wilson, a mid- eighteenth century Scottish typefounder. However ITC rejected the design and we decided to complete and release it ourselves. Of all The Foundry typefaces I think it is the one we both love the most.

The Foundry Architype Collections came about because we were asked if we would continue to design headline typefaces. We had done so many headline typefaces between us in the past, for other type manufacturers, that we felt we had to have very good reason to do any more. The idea came to fruition after we had visited a degree show at Freda’s college where she had studied graphic design. We were in the local pub discussing the student work when we came up with the concept and name for the collection.

Our mutual interest in certain twentieth century art movements, particularly the Bauhaus, combined with an idea to release typefaces that also had an educational input, provided the impetus. We decided to research, develop and produce digital fonts of experimental alphabets from the early years of the European avant-garde. As some of the designers of that time where also architects, and/or the letterforms were constructed geometrically, as if by an engineer