Tobias Frere-Jones

Tobias Frere-Jones was born in 1970 in New York, and is noted as having been an artist since youth. As a son of an advertising copywriter and print buyer, he was surrounded with all forms of letterforms all his childhood, and his adolescence years saw him between the galleries of Manhattan and the dockyards of Brooklyn. At the age of fourteen years, he began exhibiting paintings, sculptures and photographs in New York galleries.

By the time he entered Rhode Island School of Design, type design had displaced most other interests. He graduated, receiving a BFA in Graphic Design, in 1992; and began full-time work for Font Bureau, where he was a Senior Designer for several years. In addition to his numerous contributions to the Font Bureau retail library and custom work, Frere-Jones made three fonts (“Reactor”, “Fibonacci”, and “Microphone”) for Fuse, a journal of experimental type design. He spent seven years at the Bureau and was mentored and directed by David Berlow, and also created typefaces; namely, “Interstate”, “Poynter Oldstyle” & “Gothic”.

interstate Frere-Jones, Interstate, Font Specimen, 1993

Frere-Jones joined the faculty of the Yale University School of Art, in 1996, teaching typeface design alongside Matthew Carter. In 1999, he returned to his native New York, leaving Font Bureau and joining a friend, Jonathan Hoefler, at his company (which was later renamed, Hoefler & Frere-Jones Typography). They served clients from varied fields, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, Esquire, Apple, IBM, HP, Kodak, Sony; and also did work for Nike, Gucci and the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

sept-09 Frere-Jones, GQ Magazine, Magazine cover, 2009

He is the founder of Frere-Jones Type, and is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading type designers. His work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2006, The Royal Academy of Visual Arts (in The Hague) awarded him the Gerrit Noordzij Prijs for his contributions to typographic design, typography and type education. In 2013, he received the AIGA Medal in recognition of exceptional achievements in the field of design.

Works influenced/inspired by Frere-Jones

the_cardigans_by_tordo-d20byrx Luis Enrique Cuellar Peredo, The Cardigans, Wallpaper, 2009

aligned_and_centred___akkurat_by_nekohdot NekohDot, Aligned And Centred – Akkurat, Digital art, 2009


Frere-Jones Type. (2015). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from

Končal, P. (2010). Tobias Frere-Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from

Tobias Frere-Jones. (2015). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from


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