Photo by Jan Middendorp For the 6th edition of Type An Sich, Catapult presents a selection of Matthew Carter’s typographic work in Antwerp, Belgium. Matthew Carter (°1937) is an icon of type design who has 50 years of experience in typographic technologies, spanning the complete gamut from hand-cut punches to computer fonts. After an association with the Linotype company he became co-founder of Bitstream Inc. – the digital type foundry – where he worked for ten years. He is now principal of Carter & Cone Type Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Matthew Carter is one of the few designers whose typefaces are read daily by millions of people. Readers of newspapers, typographers, computer users,… are all somehow connected to his work. Not only has he devoted more than forty years of his career to designing typefaces for print, he is also a pioneer in creating letters for computer screens, with Verdana and Georgia for Microsoft as the main examples.
Matthew Carter examines Profeta, a type design by Isaías Loaiza (right), at the TypeCon2007 TypeCrit in Seattle. Akira Kobayashi (left) looks on. Photo by Isaías Loaiza Matthew Carter received his love for type from his father Harry, a typographer, book designer and historian of type. His career in typography started with a one-year internship with the printer Joh. Enschedé en Zonen in Haarlem, the Netherlands, at that time the only commercial printer whose types were still cut by hand. He studied under the punch cutter Paul Rädisch, who cut the types of Jan Van Krimpen, the company’s typographer. In the fifties, father and son Carter spent many hours in the attic of the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, cataloguing the ancient typefaces in the Museum’s collection. To complement the traditional knowledge acquired in Belgium and the Netherlands, Carter crossed the Atlantic in 1960 to learn more about contemporary typography in New York.
Original inked drawings of ITC Charter at the Matthew Carter SOTA Award exhibition at TypeCon2005 NYC. Photo by Dan Reynolds In 1981 Carter joined typographer Mike Parker and two other ex-Linotype colleagues to start the digital type foundry Bitstream. One year later type designer David Berlow joined them. After a decade at Bitstream which included the rise of digital design and the advent of the personal computer, Carter chose to return to full-time designing by starting an independent company with Cherie Cone, Carter & Cone Type Inc., where he still works. His clients have included computer giants Apple and Microsoft (Verdana, Georgia), the magazines Time, Newsweek, Wired, newspapers like The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, and the Walker Art Center. He has several exhibitions, lectures and awards to his name, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. Last year he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship by the prestigious American foundation that recognizes promising and creative people for their exceptional achievements. He has taught for many years at the Yale University School of Art.