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Miles Newlyn

While at Central St. Martins School of Art in spring 1991, Miles Newlyn began drawing a few incredibly complex letterforms based on a synthesis of the beautiful medieval lines found in Gothic decoration, and OCRA. The incongruous combination was to be the foundation of a typeface designed to challenge the modular contructivist fonts and the cut & paste typography of the time, a result of designers getting to grips with the Apple Mac. The letterforms were developed into a typeface named Missionary, a testament to bezier virtuosity. As a typeface it was as difficult to categorize as it was to use, almost a narrative in it's own visual language, a story about influence and time, craft and technology.

Although Missionary took almost one thousand hours to complete, Newlyn learned the finer points of bezier curves, and how to effectively get the shapes out of his mind and on to the screen. Due to its complexity, which pushed the limits of the technology, Missionary was originally released in both Postscript Type 1 and EPS formats. But as the hardware improved, the EPS format was dropped. So, although the font has an quasi-ancient aesthetic, it was designed to push the capabilities of the technology. Just as new technologically inspired fonts were low-res bitmaps in 1985, Missionary revealed the new opportunities of hi-res in 1991.

By spending a thousand hours on his first commercial release, Newlyn gained an appreciation for the time needed for refinement, as well as a degree of insanity; time and insanity that is excluded from all but the most sympathetic client jobs. At this point he was fortunate to have low overhead, which allowed his ideas time to germinate, unconstrained by commercial pressures.

The next typeface Newlyn released by Emigre was Democratica. It quickly became the friendly cousin to another Emigre font, Mason, designed by the virtuoso typographer and man with a message, Jon Barnbrook. Newlyn had met Barnbrook at Central St. Martins School of Art, who had been a major influence on Newlyn's work, encouraging the exploration of black letter and gothic type forms. Democratica's rise to widespread use deepened Newlyn's faith in the design community, and gave him the confidence to aim at pleasing his own mind and heart, rather than designing for a market, a trap that many of the larger foundries have fallen into.

Soon thereafter, designing logotypes and custom typefaces for specific clients became the majority of Newlyn's work, teaming up with London design agencies Wolff Olins and BamberForsyth. Newlyn describes a design program of "lite happiness" that characterised many end of the Millennium branding jobs: "Capitalism is utilising branding for the purpose of providing optimism in the wake of continuing bad news; corruption in political and financial circles, global climatic changes, shocking crimes committed by children - the dreadfully bleak picture painted by a 24/7 global news culture in general. As such, it's providing an escape from reality in the form of consumption and retail therapy. An escapist, infantilized and anti-intellectual blanket is being created for a powerless, bewildered and frustrated market. It's a design program of 'lite happiness,' a warm, soft and friendly quality with immediate appeal."

Miles Newlyn currently works as a type designer and owner of the type foundry x&y. His clients include Wolff Olins, Coley Porter Bell, BamberForsyth, Enterprise IG, Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi.

Sabbath Black
Sabbath Black 


Type Designers  

Emigre licenses its fonts directly from the designers who create them, who often spent years completing the fonts. We ask you to help us support type designers by acquiring proper licenses for the use of these fonts.

Mark Andresen (USA)

Bob Aufuldish (USA)

Jonathan Barnbrook (England)

David Cabianca (Canada)

Rodrigo Cavazos (USA)

Barry Deck (USA)

Eric Donelan (USA)

John Downer (USA)

Xavier Dupré (France)

Elliott Peter Earls (USA)

Edward Fella (USA)

Martin Friedl (Germany)

Sibylle Hagmann (USA)

Berton Hasebe (USA)

Frank Heine (Germany)

John Hersey (USA)

Jeffery Keedy (USA)

Nancy Mazzei and Brian Kelly (USA)

Zuzana Licko (USA)

P. Scott Makela (USA)

Conor Mangat (England)

Miles Newlyn (England)

Claudio Piccinini (Italy)

Christian Schwartz (USA)

Rudy VanderLans (USA)