OH no Type Company.

Who works here?

James Edmondson does most of the design. Jamie Otelsberg handles customer support and project management, and Lynn Barber is in charge of sales and licensing.

So Ohno is James Edmondson and Erik Marinovich’s type foundry?

Erik and I are good buds, and we worked on Viktor Script together. Some people assume that we run Ohno together, but that is not the case.

Why is it called OH no Type Co.?

Spacing, or designing the spaces inside and between letters, is the oft overlooked supremely important aspect of designing type. Though this is popular opinion among the most legit of pros, it can be counter-intuitive (get it?) for anyone new to type design.

When spacing a typeface, the lowercase n is a logical place to start, due to the fact that it has two vertical (or nearly so) stems, and space between them. Similarly, the o will define the space around curved strokes, which is another very important decision to make. In the capitals, the H has those vertical stems with space between, and the O will define the spacing on capital round strokes.

For those reasons, H, O, n, and o are incredibly influential letters when it comes to spacing, and supplying the overall genetic material for a typeface. I was looking for what word or words could be made with those letters, and I stumbled on “OH no.” The name is a reference to proper spacing, and respect for the craft.

It’s also like, “Oh nooooo!!!!!”

I see a problem with one of your fonts, will you fix it?

Absolutely. Yes. Probably, but I cannot guarantee it. At the very least, I can offer a full refund. In almost every situation I’m happy to troubleshoot, and generate new fonts for you until the issue is solved. Please send an email detailling the problem to info@ohnotype.co.

Where do you find inspiration?

This is aimed at students: On one hand, this is usually the most cringeworthy question in existence. Why? Because inspiration is everywhere, and if you’re wondering why some people appear inspired and some do not, it’s often because some people are simply working harder. Despite hypocritically endorsing nine other rules, Sister Corita Kent says, “The only rule is work.” I agree, and think that is much more important than inspiration. Quite trite, but true.

Back to the question at hand. The actual, honest, and boring answer is music, books, photography, movies, art, signs, architecture, dance, comedy, any form of design, nature, real or imagined. The important thing here is that one actively seeks out things they respond to, rather than just accept the things that appear before them on their Instagram Explore page. The more specific your list of influences becomes to you, the more likely you will work with enthusiasm. The more enthusiasm you work with, the stronger the work. The stronger the work, the less you get paid. And the less you get paid, the more bitter you become. Wait, what?

What can you tell me about custom typefaces?

In my absurdly biased opinion, a custom typeface is the single most important deliverable for a brand identity. To put it simply: create the custom typeface, use it on everything, and the identity is done. I think Erik Spiekermann said that first, but I will take full credit from here on out. To put it less simply: brands need to speak in their own voice. Doing otherwise will risk their audience confusing them with others, or simply tune them out because their experiences feel like something they’ve seen before. A unique typeface exclusive to a brand is a magic weapon that cuts through the noise of many companies speaking in the same tone.

Type design is a rewarding, but often complicated and tedious process. Every font on your computer that happily accommodates your use has a story behind it, and a designer or team of designers responsible for its existence. These incredible bits of software are not spat out by a computer, they are hand drawn, and tested by real people before they quietly await your command.

That’s another way of saying, “they cost a significant amount of money, because they require a significant amount of work.”

I am certain a custom typeface is right for me, what now?

The many considerations include but are not limited to:

What glyphs are necessary to include? What languages will need to be covered? What range of styles will create a useful typographic palette for the brand? In what settings will the type be used? In apps? On television? On the web? All of these questions inform not only the cost of the labor, but the licensing as well.

I’m interested in applying to [design school], will you critique my portfolio?

During the course of my time getting started as a designer, many people were very kind to me in offering critiques, and general advice that served me very well. I am of course happy to pass on that tradition, if you promise to do the same.

Admittedly, these emails do not take priority over things like customer support requests.

Do you offer demo fonts?

Yes, through Fontstand. To get demo fonts for things not on Fontstand, you can always reach out via snail mail. I have never denied a request for demo fonts that I received via a handwritten letter.

I need your address so I can send you a request for demo fonts. What is it?

4444 Park Blvd, Oakland, California 94602, US.

Do you offer student licensing?

No, not right now at least. Vulf Mono is priced extremely reasonably at $45.00. That’s a bargain.

Do you play basketball?

No. The last time I was on a basketball team was age 10. Also, I went through puberty much later than other kids, so I never stood a chance in high school.

How tall are you?

6'7", or 2 meters. I like to remind everyone that what is most noticeable, is often the least important.