Jonathan Hill
May 10, 2016 · 2 min read

A Type For Independence.

Interesting title but what’s the angle? A type for independence to me is a typeface that has been designed by one person or one company and is distributed and sold solely through their website without the aid of a third party retailer.

It’s not a new concept, but to my foundry The Northern Block and a high percentage of type designers who sells typefaces through the conventional retail channels, it’s a practice that is a distant reality.

What I would like to put forward is why The Northern Block is releasing a new type family that will be ultimately distributed through their website.

Owning an independent type foundry is a tremendous challenge and requires an incredible amount of commitment, enterprise, leadership and importantly craftsmanship. These qualities aren’t bought off a shelf in your local university or developed in a related design studio. The qualities required are just too particular for that, so the route to market is much less worn. Personally, my apprenticeship to type design began after ten years as a graphic designer what I learned professionally in that field didn’t bring me close to the skills required to produce a well-crafted type family.

After careful consideration that The Northern Block’s primary source of revenue is from selling fonts through a third party retailer. The short term aim of independent distribution is purely experimental to test the market and find a voice for unique type designs that are not necessarily suitable for the wider audience.

Ideally, a longer goal would be to develop more independently distributed type designs and offer them through an improved web platform promoting a higher standard of work within the foundry.

To get things off the ground, The Northern Block has developed a more valuable type family aimed at customers who want to be different, stand out from the crowd and have something unique that hasn’t had over 50,000 downloads.

For further details of The Northern Blocks first purposefully independently released type family, please go to

Jonathan Hill

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Founder of The Northern Block type foundry and known to the aldermen of the North as ‘The Font Man.’