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Matthew Carter's New Typeface

Matthew Carter has a letter for web designers, typography geeks, and design buffs everywhere. Actually, he has a whole brand spankin’ new alphabet. On February 2nd, the iconic type designer unveiled his newest commercial typeface, Carter Sans, at the Book Club of California in San Francisco to the delight of more than 80 graphic design glitterati. In a fireside-like chat with Editor/Designer Patrick Coyne of Communication Arts Magazine, Carter shared the behind-the-scenes story of his new typeface, his bemused thoughts on Ikea “scandalously” switching their catalog design from Futura to Verdana, and how the John Coltrane Quartet rocked his typographic youth. Plus, with far more typefaces than ever now being produced for the web (including Carter Sans), he jestingly added, “web designers can finally stop blaming me for their boredom with Georgia and Verdana.” Although the world’s most accomplished typographer doesn’t consider himself to be an artist, the Museum of Modern Art—who recently acquired several of his widely used typefaces for their permanent collection—seriously begs to differ. And so do we. Click through the slideshow for highlights of the inspirational evening.

Good things come from failure. Try as he might, after not being able to craft a sans-serif version out of his classic typeface ITC Charter, as originally requested by Allan Halley, director of words and letters at Monotype Imaging, Carter presented an alternative option. It was a typeface that he had entered–and lost–in a competition. He diligently refined and reworked it and, to his relief, Halley was interested. After several years, the final result is Carter Sans – a design inspired by the late Berthold Wolpe’s typeface, Albertus, boldly characterized by uniquely chiseled letterforms, as if carved from stone. Image courtesy Monotype Imaging.

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