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Commentary

Alphabet Innovations: Credit Overdue

Mark Simonson on July 1, 2007

Phil Martin (1922-2005) often claimed that he had designed “400 fonts” during his career. Certainly, those “400 fonts” are associated with his name and it was he who marketed them and is credited for them. It’s also known (by Phil’s own accounts) that he had collaborators.

Recently, I was contacted by one his collaborators, George Thomas. Upon learning that Phil had passed away, George felt it was time to set the record straight and give credit where credit is due. With the help of another Martin collaborator, Roc Mitchell, now in his eighties, he compiled the following list:


Designed by Roc Mitchell and licensed to Alphabet Innovations:

  • Arthur
  • Borealis
  • Celebration
  • Corporate
  • Corporate Image
  • Dimensia Light
  • Dimensia Regular
  • King Arthur Light with Guinevere Alternates
  • King Arthur with Guinevere Alternates
  • King Arthur Outline with Guinevere Alternates
  • Stanza

Designed by George Thomas and licensed to Alphabet Innovations:

  • Eightball
  • Highball
  • Cueball

Designed by George Brian, an employee of Alphabet Innovations:

  • Souvenir Gothic (AI’s first text family)
  • Opulent Light and Opulent Bold (Unconfirmed, but George is pretty sure that Brian did the art because he had a much steadier hand than Phil.)

The rest, to the best of his knowledge, are Phil’s ideas with George Brian doing the art on much of the later works and probably influencing Phil’s ideas.

Mark Simonson of Saint Paul, Minnesota is a former art director and graphic designer who now makes his living designing typefacesseveral of which are Typographica selections.

2 Comments

  1. nick shinn says:

    This will be tough to send to arbitration, now that Phil’s not around.

  2. Yves peters says:

    I sense a new Lennon/McCartney debate in the making. ;)

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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