Jack Yan & Associates
Wellington, New Zealand
Visit Jack Yan & Associates
Jack Yan & Associates (JY&A) was founded in 1987 as a design company specializing in typography. It began offering commercial type designs in 1994, positioning itself as a foundry with traditional, usable designs. It is Australasia's leading font company.
Jack Yan, who leads the font team, has had a life-long passion for font design. He cannot point to any one inspiration for his fonts but says, "The ideas come from almost anywhere. If I'm lucky, there's a notepad nearby." Customers provide an important source of ideas, and upcoming releases have been developed with JY&A customer input.
The process from beginning to end can take months. First, the font, which exists initially as rough drawings, is researched alongside the thousands already on the market. It is important that the design is new. Although some people might think that there is little room for creating new fonts, Yan disagrees. "Playing with serifs is like playing with musical notes. There's no end to what you can do. It's about manipulating the elements of characters to come up with a new mood and a new expression."
Once the research shows that the font is commercially viable, it is redrawn in a final format, then scanned. The scans are imported into Fontographer, where they go through an exhaustive editing process. The JY&A team puts in 3,000 kerning pairsthe adjustment of space between two charactersin some fonts. For one font, the entire production stage can take six weeks.
Yan considers himself lucky that JY&A fonts haven't been the subject of mass piracy like his competitors' works. "We have been affected, but New Zealand law protects our designs through copyright, so we've suffered far less piracy. It's annoying to see that our American competitors aren't offered the same level of protection for their efforts."
Return to Insight index