Font Designer – George Ryan

George Ryan

Interview with George Ryan

How did you fall in love with type design?
I was fortunate in that, after three and one half years at the Mergenthaler letter drawing office, I was offered a job by some people who were starting a new foundry operation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I worked for Mike Parker, Matt Carter and Cheri Cone. These are three‚ big guns‘ in our business but more importantly, they are genuinely three of the most decent people I‘ve ever met. Their love of the communication arts rubbed off on me easily. And now I work with the likes of Steve Matteson, Jim Wasco, Carl Crossgrove, Terrance Weinzierl and Karl Leuthold who all love this business. It‘s easy to love what I do.

How many typefaces have you developed until now?
Over the years I have drawn many original typefaces but the ones I like the most are Oz Handicraft, ITC Kristen™, Givens Antiqua™, Wedding Singer™ and now Koorkin™.

Type is my only profession. And I‘m a production person thru and thru ...

Is type design what you are mainly doing? What is your profession aside from type design?
Type is my only profession. And I‘m a production person thru and thru.

What inspired you to design this typeface?
The idea for this design comes from a project I worked on 15 year ago. We did a “work for hire” job for one of the branding organizations. I guess the product did not pan out because the trademark request was removed and the product and typeface never saw the light of day. There were some deficiencies in the design because of restrictions from the client, the x-height was to small and the weight caused it to look a tad “dipped in chocolate”. In drawing the new font(s) the x-height was increased, the weight was dramatically reduced in the regular and greater contrast between the “thicks” and “thins” in the letterforms was introduced. These adjustments were than part of the considerations when the Bold was drawn. The character set is EU plus Vietnamese.

For the most part the roots of all can be found in the handwritten letters we learn as children ...

Are you influenced by other typefaces by the design of your typeface?
Over the years I‘ve worked on hundreds of highly structured and well thought out text faces. For the most part the roots of all can be found in the handwritten letters we learn as children. I enjoy going back to that whenever the opportunity presents itself.

What techniques did you use creating your font and what was the process for creating the design?
The primary glyphs were all originally drawn with a sharpie, scanned and “noodled”.

What was the greatest challenge you faced while creating your typeface?
I‘d say keeping the variety of shapes in place while building the necessary harmony between the individual letters to ensure easy readability.

Please describe the look and feel of your typeface.
It‘s handwriting all the way.

Are there aspects of the design that you think should be highlighted, or you particularly want the graphic design community to know about your typeface?
I‘ve added many ligatures and alternate versions of key characters. Using Open Type features this supports the handwritten style of the design. For instance, a word with “ee” in it will use a letter pair for that rather then taking 2 e‘s to do the job so a word such as breeze will have 3 slightly different e‘s in it.

Koorkin is an informal script that would work well in posters‚ advertisements‚ packaging‚ children books‚ and such ...

For what applications would you recommend your typeface (posters, text, newspapers, advertisements, etc.)?
Although I‘d love to say you could use Koorkin anywhere printing War & Peace using it wouldn’t work well. It‘s an informal script that would work well in posters, advertisements, packaging, children books, and such.

What are the unique details from which you think they distinguish your typeface?
They make full use of the Open Type features we have available as part of our toolkit.

What was the reason for you to give the typeface its name and what is the meaning?
Koorkin is my father-in-laws Armenian name. He was a great man who loved his family and saw that as his reason for being. Using his name is done to honor him.

Anything else you would like to share?
I wanted to use Koorkin on a number of other occasions but this seemed the most proper use.
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