It is of great pleasure to me that when I look back at my own career to-date, I was present at the creation of some things that are pretty hot. Like the Typejockeys, for example. Michael Hochleitner is an old student colleague of mine; we were both part of the MATD class of 2008 at the University of Reading. Sometime during the summer of 2007, Gerry Leondas sent an e-mail out to all of us who had been accepted into the course. Before reading any of Gerry’s text, I look at the list of recipients in the email. One of the addresses was to a domain called typejockeys.com. I entered the URL into Safari, and saw a screen that read, “the Typejockeys are coming.” But the site betrayed no other information.
A few months later, Michi explained the concept to me: the Typejockeys were not a company yet, but more of a pact. Michi, Anna Fahrmaier, and Thomas Gabriel had all studied together at a Vienna design school called die Graphische. From 2006–2007, Thomas studied type design on the type]media course at KABK in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, before heading off to England, Michi went to work at an other Vienna company. Anna moved to Germany, to get valuable real-world graphic design experience of her own. Once Michi’s year in Reading was over, the three planned to return to Vienna and start the Typejockeys business for real.
There are things in life that I all-too-often greet with skepticism, and I am embarrassed to admit that I was not sure at the time if Michi’s dreams were realistic. However, I am very pleased to write that I was wrong. In fact, I would wager that, during the last three years, the Typejockeys have proved everyone wrong. Oftentimes, there is much doom-and-gloom in the European design landscape. Even at last week’s TYPO-Berlin, as Christian Bünig presented an AGD survey of graphic designer salaries in Germany, it seemed difficult to say with certainty if an average employee here is making enough money to live independently.
I have been to Vienna, and seen the future. The Typejockeys are living in that future. Working out of a large, glass-fronted office in the city’s 15th district, the Typejockeys make good on their passions. They design and market their own typefaces. More importantly, they have an impressive roster of clients. They are able to bring their love for letters into their work. Clients come to the Typejockeys because of their lettering skills, and their creativity.
After two years of having the best items in the goodie bags, and being present at the conference themselves, the Typejockeys’s presence was palpably absent from last week’s TYPO-Berlin 2011. When I asked Martin Tiefenthaler about this—an instructor from die Graphische who gave a presentation about Austrian type design at the event—he laughed and said that the Typejockeys were too busy working and making money.
This week, the Typejockeys are celebrating their third anniversary. Until Sunday, May 29th, customers can license all three of the Typejockeys typeface families for just €483 (a €207 savings). This is a tremendous bargain. Thomas’s Premiéra and Anuik tap amazingly into the book and display typography genres. Ingeborg does both. In fact, Ingeborg is already one of the most-significant typeface releases of recent years, acclaimed by independent authors, and spec’d by graphic designers and typographers the world over.