Typographer of the Month — Vincent Connare
At CustomInk we love custom designs, and a lot of times that includes fonts! What you might not know is that fonts, or typefaces, are created by typographers and are an art form in their own right. We’ve chosen some of our favorite fonts to feature here on our blog.
To help you understand them a little bit better, we’re doing Q&As with their creators. Here we meet Vincent Connare, the typographer behind Comic Sans.
CustomInk: What made you want to become a typographer?
Vincent Connare: I was working at a newspaper in Massachusetts and I was told that the company Compugraphic was hiring artists and graphic designers to work on the first and second shift in the typography department—converting their photographic-based library into the new digital Ikarus font format, this was in 1987.
CustomInk: Did you have formal training or are you self-taught?
Vincent Connare: I was trained in type design, computer operation, and font production at Compugraphic. Repetitive production and learning from others over for six years, and converting other peoples’ typefaces and creating new formats. These formats were Ikarus, Intellifont, PostScript, and TrueType.
CustomInk: What’s your first step in creating a new font?
Vincent Connare: An idea with a purpose in mind.
How long does it take you to create a font?
Vincent Connare: It depends greatly. With a solid idea or from an existing design, the process is based on how large the character set will be. You might be surprised to find that there are thousands of letters in each font. The original character sets for fonts were based on computer memory. The current character limit is still based on computer memory, which means you can design up to 65,000 or 100,000 letters for a Chinese typeface. It took Adobe about 2 years to make their first Japanese typefaces.
CustomInk: How long did Comic Sans in particular take you to create?
Vincent Connare: I have always said it took a very short time, about 3 weeks. That was for basic Latin-1 characters of 256 characters. To fully complete it it took about a year to finish all the production.
CustomInk: Comic Sans can be polarizing, some people love it, some people hate it. How do you feel about that? And how do you feel about the font now that it’s years later—love, or hate?
Vincent Connare: Comic Sans is the best font in the world. It does what it was designed to do.
CustomInk: Where is the coolest place you’ve seen Comic Sans used?
Vincent Connare: It is definitely a toss up of being on the front page of a Friday Wall Street Journal or being used to announce the biggest scientific discovery in our lifetime, the Higgs Boson.
CustomInk: How would you say your work has developed since Comic Sans?
Vincent Connare: I have worked on many many different types of typefaces from the font Marlett used for the icons in the Windows operating system, to converting the logo for Microsoft and designing the lettering in the Ministry of Sound logo (2002-2016).
The industry has changed, now anyone can make a typeface on a computer, when I started it was large companies, with specialist computers and software and less than 100 people working on type design. Now there are thousands of people doing it. That is what has changed, the people have changed.
CustomInk: What is your favorite font that you’ve ever created?
Vincent Connare: Comic Sans.
CustomInk: What’s your favorite font that was created by someone else?
Vincent Connare: Trixie by Erik van Blockland.
CustomInk: Has the digital world changed how fonts are created for you?
Vincent Connare: Yes. They have made it easier to design, produce, and sell. To make a font today you don’t need to do as much technical coding for the screen as you use to do, but you need to make more characters than you used to and support more scripts and languages.
CustomInk: What’s something you think people should know about fonts?
Vincent Connare: Fonts take sometimes years to produce. Sometimes it’s as complicated as making a new car and sometimes as expensive.
CustomInk: What is your froyo topping of choice?
Vincent Connare: I like to go to France a lot so my favourite flavour would have to be framboise (raspberry).
CustomInk: If you had to wear one piece of clothing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Vincent Connare: Probably a black Tom Ford suit.