The ArrowType Blog


Notes on type design & development

Hi, I’m Stephen Nixon. I design & develop fonts as ArrowType.

Letters are magic. An alphabet is a small number of characters, and yet it can convey infinite possible meanings. Drawing letters is a beautiful way to engage with language & culture, and making fonts – systematized delivery mechanisms of drawn letters – is a way to create interesting things that others can use. I feel very lucky that I have had some opportunities to learn about making type that is well-crafted and functional. However, I am still just getting started in an expansive field. I have had generous mentors along the way, and it is my goal to share what I learn so that others can learn, too.

Many type foundries have released a wide array extremely informative and helpful blog posts, lectures, books, and tools. Still, there is a lot of room for more information. Not only is the field continually evolving, but technology is advancing rapidly – both within and beyond type.

As a designer, my first forays into code were for the web, using HTML, CSS, & JavaScript. These are topics for which there are a near-infinite number questions & answers readily available through simple web searches. If you Google a question, you will tend to find answers. But, starting in type design, I found it a much bigger challenge to find as much information as I wanted, so I’ve had to come up with new strategies for figuring things out.

I’m an avid notetaker, so when I do learn something new, I try to write it down so I can look it up later if I need to. I’ve tried to extend this habit as a way to do my part to make more information available in type. Whenever I can, I make it publicly available so that it might help others. Sometimes that’s in a public GitHub Issue, sometimes that’s in a forum post, and sometimes, that’s in a blog post. Mostly, I just want to make sure there are a few more answers when other designers (or myself, in the future) search with questions.

In this spirit, I have approached this blog a little differently than might be typical for a type foundry. I have set it up as an open-source project, so others can learn from my code, point out errors, and learn from my in-progress posts. Some of my posts will be formal: explanations of new type releases, refined explanations of design theory & methods. But, most of my posts will be less-formal explanations of things I’ve learned and think others might find useful.

Here’s to seeking & sharing knowledge!


This blog’s source is public at Wondering how I did something or what posts I’m working on? Come on over and take a look! Spot a typo or have a question? Feel free to file an issue!

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P.S. You can also find me on Instagram and YouTube, where I tend to post font news and design knowledge lot more frequently.