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JY&A Fonts

Our history.

Think back to 1987, before the World Wide Web. Despite the Mac, fonts were still largely the province of professional compositors and typesetters. It was in this environment that Jack Yan started a design firm in 1987 with an emphasis on lettering in Wellington, New Zealand, which, coincidentally, was the same city in which the father of New Zealand typeface design, Joe Churchward, was based. Jack had already created some digital bitmap fonts in 1985 and 1986 as experiments, running them on a Commodore 64, but these were never distributed or submitted.
   In the early years, Jack and Joe never crossed paths. Churchward International Typefaces closed around the time JY&A Fonts opened, and Jack was left to develop his range in isolation.
   Jack’s earliest work has never been digitalized. Those were his testing-ground, submitted by post and courier to some of the world’s leading foundries, unrefined and rough. Other than submitting, there was little chance of peer review, electronically, at that point in the 1980s for a designer in New Zealand. After learning the ropes, his first PostScript and TrueType work eventually emerged, a pioneering move at the time, making him New Zealand’s first digital typeface designer, by chance more than by design.
   JY&A Fonts began licensing globally and was one of the first to sell its range online, through early distributors such as Flashline and Makambo.
   Yan Series 333 was a development of Jack’s own lettering style which is one of the more successful marriages of hand lettering and typography. JY Integrity, developed for QuickDraw GX, followed in the 1990s, as well as his JY Ætna, a revival project based on the work of Francesco Griffo and Giovantonio Tagliente launched the same year. These typefaces had some 2,800 kerning pairs. JY Décennie and Décennie Express, the former originally developed for an Australian broadsheet, are intended for web as well as print usage. JY Comic Pro, designed by Antonio González de Santiago, shows that JY&A’s reputation for timelessness extends to fun and useful fonts, too. JY Koliba, designed by Jure Stojan, continues the JY&A Fonts tradition for the new millennium. OpenType fonts débuted in 2003. Designs from David Philpott, Greg Bastin, Mark Geard and Danielle Smith—fellow Australasian type designers—have joined the JY&A Fonts range.


The designers


Greg Bastin
In Greg Bastin’s own words: ‘I’ve always had a strong interest in art, painting and drawing from a young age. Since school I’ve worked as a graphic artist–designer in Melbourne, Australia. With my painting, I’ve always had a strong interest in wildlife art, which led to a greater appreciation of Australiana in general. I started looking for an “Australian-looking” typeface to complement the Australiana designs—thought I’d try one based on the shape of a boomerang! The result is JY Boomerang, which I think has a distinctly Australian flavour and feel.’


Mark Geard
Mark Geard is a New Zealander who has worked for the major part of his life as a graphic designer. He was co-partner in one of his country’s leading design firms, Missen and Geard Ltd. In 1998 he took up a position at Massey University and was Programme Leader in the Visual Communication Design Department. His specialist area is typography and typeface design. Many Massey graduates credit Mark for their expertise and passion for type.


Antonio González de Santiago
A cartoonist who has worked for El Pais, Antonio González de Santiago developed his comic book styles to complement the Spanish-language editions of American strips. His first design for JY&A Fonts, JY Comic Pro, exhibits a fun and free style that is also in keeping with JY&A’s aim of producing timeless and practical typefaces.


Todd Hallock
Todd was born in 1969. He has done projects including technical illustration, advertising, storyboards for TV commercials, web design, package design, industrial design, logos and corporate identity designs. Todd founded Bannigan Artworks in 1998. He designed JY Arts & Crafts.


David Philpott
From his Lower Hutt, New Zealand base, David Philpott has worked not only on JY Circles, his first commercial release, but on type for a major financial multinational. He was pivotal in getting JY&A Fonts’ range ready for the euro in 2002 and has seen his work featured in Desktop. A type whiz as well as an excellent designer, David Philpott is fast becoming a mainstay in the antipodean type community. He is a graduate of Massey University.


Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith was born March 18, 1991 in Wellington, and developed her first typeface when studying at Massey University, majoring in graphic design. Her first typeface family, JY Dandy, was sketched by hand and its letters laboriously placed individually for a university project, before being put in to a font-editing program. It was later edited in FontLab, and an italic added. Danielle expects to complete future designs, with Fine being developed as a sister family to Dandy. Outside type, she has a love of hand-made crafts.


Jure Stojan
Based in Pesnica, Slovenia, Jure Stojan is the talented designer behind JY Koliba, JY Raj, JY Klin and JY Saj. Blessed with an eye for typographic balance and harmony, his sans serif designs have given the JY&A Fonts range a European flair.


Jack Yan
Jack Yan is arguably Australasia’s best-known typeface designer. His expertise includes type work for multinational corporations, fonts for campaigns and specialist software. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law and two postgraduate degrees in marketing and business. He was a co-founder of TypeRight, a regular and long-running correspondent to Desktop, and consults on branding and identity issues at JYA Creative and Medinge Group. His personal site is at jackyan.com.



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