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receives its first article
in PAGE magazine:

2 pages in germany's leading computer design monthly,
january 2001 issue.

PAGE magazine is the first publication to write about typebox.
the german original of this article
can be found in PAGE issue 01.01, january 2001, pages 56-57.

Living in a box

At www.typebox.com, a foundry has gone online that offers more than just fonts

The foundry "Typebox", recently went live, is rolling on two tracks: distributing exclusive typefaces, and offering entertaining and constructive thinking on current type culture. Joachim Müller-Lancé and Mike Kohnke, the two inventors of Typebox, live and work in San Francisco, and tackle a typical designer problem with their web site: "Just as many others, we're graphic designers who love type, have plenty of ideas, and are also able to make them real. But too often, we have to do this on the side," explains Joachim Müller-Lancé, a German who received his training in Basel, Switzerland. "Very often, more urgent assignments push the tedious work for typefaces onto the back burner. Therefore, Mike Kohnke and I teamed up to keep encouraging each other. Meanwhile, our patiently built local and international network has developed considerable potential. So far, designers from the US, Europe and Asia are taking part in this growing community."

Selling typefaces is one of the two objectives that Typebox pursues. Thus, eight unusual but useful fonts can be found in their so-called 'Fontbox'. Currently, visitors can review the typefaces and read the biographies of their creators. From January on, each 'type square' will link to a page with the complete character set and samples. Another link will offer background information; this is where each designer will show sketches and reveal his thinking on inspiration and application of his typeface. Some will also contribute sample artwork for downloading. From Fontbox, users can also access their shopping basket, which will be dubbed 'Shopbox'.

Additional incentive to visit Typebox is offered in 'Thinkbox'. "Our web site intends to become a useful and inspiring bookmark to modern type culture for other graphic designers, teachers, students and type aficionados. For that reason we created this editorial section," explains Joachim Müller-Lancé. Four columns are displayed in Thinkbox, which has developed into a veritable mini-magazine with text and pictures; under "Theory & History" for instance, it is mostly Mike Kohnke who publishes articles on issues of type theory and history. In turn, the section called "Tips & FAQ" is more technically and formally oriented, and addresses colleagues and aspiring type designers. "Viewpoint" invites type aficionados to submit constructive contributions, such as interesting type events. Entertainment can be expected in 'Funbox', where irony has its place as much as funny quotes, cartoons or absurdities, such as the mishaps of using brokenscript that can be observed for the moment.

Updated quarterly, Thinkbox will become a forum for all those to whom type means more than just the 'Fonts'-folder on the desktop. "Whoever submits a contribution that we publish, will receive a free font and a link to his own web site from us," promises Joachim Müller-Lancé. "Of course we're hoping for earnest writing and type designs."

Currently, Joachim Müller-Lancé and Mike Kohnke are living in their Typebox - the project occupies them around the clock. Being independent designers however, they will soon have to commit to other jobs again. So how will they avoid Typebox again becoming a side project? "We consciously discipline ourselves, and set deadlines for the steps at hand," says Joachim Müller-Lancé. "To start this site well is the hardest part anyway. We simply hope to succeed in coming up with a less work-intensive system, so that we can concentrate more on type design."

Yet, both designers will not be spared the task of combing through their own ideas and examining which are realizable. But both agree that this basically means working on themselves, which will benefit them in other areas as well.

Original written by Antje Dohmann, PAGE, Hamburg/Germany