Black Type Designers & Foundry Owners

Black Type Designers & Foundry Owners

This page is an attempt to answer the frequent question “Where are the Black type designers?” The definition of type designer varies, from professionals who make a majority of their income in typeface design to those who have simply created a single font. This list applies the broadest definition; it includes anyone who identifies as Black and has worked in type design at some point in their career.

Additions and corrections are welcome! Simply send a message via Twitter or email.

Black Type Designers

Black Type Designers

NameBirthplace / Current LocationPersonal Site or BioCompany/FoundryTwitterInstagramFonts In UseNotesSelected TypefacesSpecimensTags
Adebowale Adegoke
Nigeria
madebyDebo
type designer
Agnès Brézéphin-Coulmin
MartiniqueFrance
Born in Martinique. Teaches at the Campus Caraïbéen des Arts. One of the first female type designers in France. Trained 1994–1996 under Franck Jalleau, Michel Derre, and Margaret Gray among other teachers and designed a typeface for the creole dialect, Coolie. Joined ANRT in 1996-97, where she worked on the digitization of Jean Widmer’s Bi-89 (unreleased, designed for the Revolution celebration years before, not used) and continued her previous project. [Sebastien Morlighem via email]
Coolie, Bi-89
type designer
Agyei Archer
Trinidad & Tobago
type designer
Aleme Tadesse
Ethiopia
“an Ethiopian type designer, game maker, and publisher, based in the US, who works in the Ge‘ez script. He doesn't have much of a web presence, but I can put you in touch via email.” — Tiro
type designer
Alonzo Felix
USA
Type@Cooper grad. Offers an Introduction to Typeface Design course on Skillshare.
type designer
Arthur Francietta
MartiniqueFrance
Thaurr Caps
type designer
Baynham Goredema
Zimbabwe
type designer
Blondina Elms Pastel
Barbados
“first black woman type designer … and first type designer from the Carribbean!” — Agyei Archer Founder of Elms and Typote Design Workshops.
Naej, Calina, Dinah
type designer
David Williams
United Kingdom
MA Typeface Design from The University of Reading “Manchester Type has supported Google in their development of multi-script, non-Latin variable fonts including Noto Kufi Arabic, Noto Naskh Arabic and Noto Sans Sora Sompeng for the Google Fonts library.” — Manchester Type Profile in TYPE.
foundry founderfoundry ownertype designer
Denis Moyogo Jacquerye
Belgium
“the Belgian co-leader of the DejaVu font project (free fonts based on Bitstream Vera), the default GUI for fonts on several Linux OS distributions” — Devroye
type designer
Émilie Aurat
France
“just finished a font and body of research on the Afaka writing system” — Agyei Archer
Maroni, Joli-Coeur, Quilombos, Samain, Tituba,
type designer
Fhumulani Nemulodi
South Africa
type designer
Forest Young
USA
He had a creative direction role in Redaction, which was designed with Jeremy Mickel for Titas Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts.
type designer
Frank Adebiaye
France
Founder of Velvetyne.
foundry foundertype designer
Hendrika Makilya
USA
Type@Cooper, Class of 2014. “I'm a multidisciplinary creative with an emphasis on design as storytelling, product design, and art direction. I solidified my aesthetic designing for the IBM team at VSA Partners and went on to create B2B apps and web collateral as a freelance designer. Later, I joined DDB where gained 360 & social media experience as an art director for State Farm, Aveeno, RoC Skincare, Exxon, and Hertz. Recent collaborations have included projects for Apple, Google, Twitter, and eBay.”
type designer
Jaamal Benjamin
USA
Type@Cooper, Class of 2021
Harlemecc, Garvey
type designer
Joshua Darden
USA
Founded Darden Studio in 2004. Sold to Joyce Ketterrer in 2019, still actively designing type. “as far as I know, Joshua Darden was the first, and is still to this day the only prominent black type designer in the world. Let's pause here for a moment and think about the strangeness of that fact. How can it be that no other black person has ever been brought into the culture and offered mentorship in this industry? There is no answer for this that doesn't point toward an ugly truth. It can’t be explained away or disregarded. What does it say about our industry, and the socio-economic and racial dynamics of our world? I wonder how many other Joshua Dardens are out there. What kind of new ideas, perspectives, and styles would they bring to this field if given the opportunity?” — Lucas Sharp
foundry foundertype designer
Kevin Adams
USA
type designer
Kevin Karanja
Kenya
Interviewed on Revision Path in 2014.
type designer
Kombo Chapfika
Zimbabwe
type designer
Kwesi Amuti
USA
foundry ownertype designer
Lomedy Mhako
Zimbabwe
type designer
Marconi Lima
Brazil
foundry ownerfoundry foundertype designer
Marks Salimu
South Africa
Signpainter whose letters were converted to a font by Sunshinegun for Nando’s custom typeface.
type designer
Osmond Tshuma
ZimbabweSouth Africa
type designer
Phenias Machila
Zimbabwe
type designer
Samuel Mensah-Bonsu
United Kingdom
type designer
Seb Garry (AKA Tapiwanashe Sebastian Garikayi)
Zimbabwe
Currently (2020) working on fonts “for as many Afrikan writing systems as possible” [Twitter] Typographics 2021 presentation
Mused, Mutapa
type designer
Silas Munro
USA
type designer
Tré Seals
USA
Oyinkan Karunwiwww.seals.studio
Seals designs typefaces inspired by moments (artifacts and/or stories) in civil rights history.
type designer
Victor Bagu
South Africa
type designer
Wasbigo Obege
Kenya
Working on a font for Lakeside Script.
type designer
Terry Biddle
USA
type designer

What Inspired this Page

The question asked in 2020, with many designers listed in replies, forming the basis of this database.

Talks on Black Type Designers & African Writing Systems

BIPOC Scholarships for Type Design & Lettering Education

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Open for Applications

Letterform Archive offers a BIPOC scholarship in each of its public workshops and the Type West program.

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Deadlines Passed (but may be recurring)

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Typography By and About African Americans