Monotype Imaging Inc.



Akira Kobayashi

Akira Kobayashi is a very unusual breed of type designer. Although he lives in his native Japan, Kobayashi excels at designing Latin-based alphabets. He has created fonts for Adobe, FontFont, Linotype and ITC.

In Europe and North America, type design is generally viewed as a solitary craft – individual designers working in isolation on the various stages of typeface design and font production. It’s a very different work ethic for type designers working in Asia. Because there are more than 7,000 characters in a typical font, teams of five to six designers will work together for two or more years to produce a new commercial font.

Kobayashi was involved in several projects like these while working for Sha-Ken Company, Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer of phototypesetting machines. Occasionally, he would design Latin characters and Arabic numerals to accompany the Japanese fonts. As the requests for Latin characters increased, Kobayashi knew he had to have a better handle on the English language. "This is because the books available to me on the Latin alphabet were almost always written in English. Also, I knew that if I wasn’t very familiar with the western alphabet, I could not know if the characters I drew would be acceptable to a western reader."   Page 2


Akira Kobayashi
Akira Kobayashi at work in his studio
Commercial Type Designs

FF Acanthus 1998
Akko 2010
Calcite Pro 2000
FF Clifford 1999
Linotype Conrad 1999
ITC Japanese Garden
TX Lithium 2001
ITC Luna 1998
ITC Magnifico 1999
ITC Scarborough 1998
ITC Seven Treasures 1998
TX Signal Signifier 2002
ITC Silvermoon 1998
Skid Row 1990
ITC Vineyard 1999
ITC Woodland 1997

Type Designs With Zapf

Aldus Nova 2005
Optima Nova 2003
Palatino Nova 2005
Palatino Sans 2006
Zapfino Extra 2003

Type Designs With Frutiger

Avenir Next 2003
Frutiger Serif 2008

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