Upon graduating from Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Akira Kobayashi began his career as a type designer at Sha-Ken Co., Ltd. in 1983. After working for six years at Sha-Ken, he went to London in 1989 to study calligraphy and typography. On his return to Japan in 1990, he entered Jiyu-Kobo, Ltd. and engaged in designing and digitizing the Japanese fonts Hiragino Mincho and Hiragino Gothic until 1993. From 1993 to 1997 he worked for TypeBank Co., Ltd., where he designed Latin typefaces to accompany the foundry’s digital Japanese fonts. From 1997 to 2001 he worked as a freelance designer and won numerous international awards for his typefaces.
After completing the design of the Latin alphabet to accompany Type Project’s Axis Japanese fonts in 2000, Akira moved to Germany in 2001 to assume his present position at Linotype GmbH (currently Monotype GmbH). As type director he controls the aesthetic quality of in-house typefaces, creates digital versions of classic type families, and develops corporate fonts, while designing his own typefaces. He has also collaborated with the two world-renowned designers of Adrian Frutiger and Hermann Zapf to modernize their earlier type designs.
Akira is a frequent speaker at type conferences and workshops in Europe, Americas and Asia, and has served as a judge in prestigious international type design competitions.
? U&lc Type Design Competition, Best in Category and Best of Show: Clifford (1998)
? Linotype Library’s 3rd International Digital Type Design Contest,
1st Prize in the Text Category: Conrad (2000)
? Type Directors Club TDC2 Award:
ITC Woodland (1998), ITC Japanese Garden and ITC Silvermoon (1999), FF Clifford (2000), Linotype Conrad (2001), and Palatino Sans (with Hermann Zapf, 2007)
Akira Kobayashi studied at Musashino Art College in Tokyo from 1979 to 1983, and six years later followed up with a calligraphy course at the London College of Printing. Akira’s type design career began at Sha-Ken Co., a phototypesetting manufacturer, until 1989. His next three years were at Jiyu-Kobo, Ltd. where he designed the Japanese font Hiragino Mincho and 6-weight Latin variation Hiragino Roman for Dainippon Screen Co. From 1993 to 1997 he worked at TypeBank Co., where he designed Latin alphabets to accompany all 17 of their Japanese fonts.Since 1997, Akira has worked as a freelance type designer, and won a plethora of awards: The 1996 Morisawa Contest awarded him an Honourable Mention for his Socia Oldstyle. He won the Type Directors Club’s first type design competition in 1998 with ITC Woodland; Best of Category and Best of Show with Clifford at the first U&lc type design competition; and the Gold Prize of the Linotype Contest 2000 for his Conrad family.Akira has now become Type Director at Linotype Library GmbH in Bad Homburg, Germany.