When we launched the Online Archive on April 7, we had no idea the venture would break part of the internet.
One month, two server crashes, and over 200,000 hits later, the free resource continues to grow into one of the most comprehensive online collections of typographic history, and a powerful tool for students and professional designers.
With the Online Archive reaching people all over the world, we want to join our global community to celebrate this special milestone and provide a backstage tour of highlights from the nearly 1,500 objects and 9,000 hi-fi images housed online. Although the Archive offices in San Francisco are temporarily closed, we’ll toast online with designers everywhere using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
You’ll have the opportunity to chat with our curatorial team (Kate Long, Rob Saunders, and Stephen Coles) and the Online Archive design/development team, including Murray Grigo-McMahon, the database prodigy behind the project, along with Jon Sueda and chris hamamoto who created the front-end design for the site. Join us!
Murray Grigo-McMahon is a Brit who’s made his way to the West Coast via Sweden and Denmark. He trained as a graphic designer and quickly moved to digital in the mid ’90s, starting out as Penguin UK’s first in-house web designer. These days he looks after the product design teams over at NextRoll and spends his free time helping out with data intensive design projects and writing very bad code.
Originally from Hawaii, Jon Sueda has practiced design everywhere from Honolulu to Holland. After earning his MFA in Graphic Design from CalArts in 2002, he was invited to North Carolina State University to serve as a designer in residence, followed by an internship in the Netherlands with Studio Dumbar. In 2004, Sueda founded the design studio Stripe, which specializes in print and exhibition design for art and culture. In 2007, Sueda relocated to the San Francisco area where he served as Director of Design at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts for seven years, and is currently the Chair of the MFA Design program at California College of the Arts. Sueda was the curator of the exhibition All Possible Futures (SOMArts, San Francisco, 2013), and was recently selected as a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.
chris hamamoto (b. USA, 1984) is a designer and educator based in Berkeley, CA. He holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is an assistant professor at California College of the Arts. In addition to teaching, he maintains an independent practice — pursuing his interest in how automation and algorithms affect social relationships and aesthetics — a topic he explores through graphic design, software design, and production. He has shown work and lectured internationally, and has been recognized by institutions such as Printed Matter, STA Chicago, the Walker Art Center, Hongik University, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Kate Long, Letterform Archive’s librarian, has a profound interest in book arts, typography, and concrete poetry, stemming from high school where she made art with abandoned Letraset, and later as the editor of a literary magazine where she enjoyed working with designers, artists, and writers. She also gained an appreciation for 20th-century graphic design while at the award-winning studio, Office. Kate earned her MLIS through Drexel University, which will serve her well as she helps to preserve and catalog the collection. She relishes helping people access the things that interest them.
Rob Saunders, Letterform Archive’s Curator and Publisher, is a designer, teacher, publisher, and management consultant, who has collected graphic design and letterforms for over 40 years. Rob began his career teaching at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and Tufts University, while serving freelance clients and agencies, before founding a book publishing enterprise that included Alphabet Press (graphic design), Picture Book Studio (children’s books), and Rabbit Ears Books (book/audio packages), which was eventually acquired by Simon & Schuster. Prior to founding Letterform Archive he served as a creative and marketing consultant with clients in the hospitality, technology, and financial industries.
Stephen “Stewf” Coles, Letterform Archive’s Associate Curator & Editorial Director, joined the staff after serving on our Board of Directors since its inception. Born in Salt Lake City, he moved to San Francisco in 2004 to serve as FontShop’s creative director. He later worked as an independent consultant, connecting font makers with font users, and wrote the book The Anatomy of Type. With his background in design and journalism, combined with an obsession for type history, Stephen is responsible for the online face and voice of the Archive, and helps to shape the future of the collection. He continues to publish the influential websites Typographica and Fonts In Use.