Hi, I’m DJR.

My name is David Jonathan Ross, and I draw letters of all shapes and sizes for retail and custom typeface designs.

There are already a ton of fonts out there to choose from. That’s why I make fonts that challenge you to set your work apart by going beyond the generic workhorses and confronting the unique visual and technical demands of your text.

I enjoy working in a variety of styles, but I design each of my fonts to solve a specific problem. That specificity is what defines my work, along with a little craftsmanship and a dash of the unexpected.

I’m originally from Los Angeles, but I started making fonts during my time at Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts. Since 2007, I’ve worked with The Font Bureau, a Boston-based type foundry. I live with my partner, Emily, and two dogs, Sophie and Lily.

Custom work

Retail and Custom Fonts

My fonts are merely raw materials, and it is always a rush to see designers use my work in ways that I could never anticipate. I am curious to see how my fonts might be an ingredient in your next project. You can license fonts from me directly, and you can also find them available for purchase at Type Network.

I also love to work on commissioned fonts or lettering, especially when there is an unusual problem to solve. From the nameplate of The Wall Street Journal to the packaging of Hot Wheels cars, I have turned simple ideas about letters and shapes into powerful branding and editorial tools. Get in touch if I can draw some letters for you.

Speaking at BITS 2015, Bangkok. Photo by BITS.

BITS 2015

Lectures & Workshops

I frequently share my love of letters through lectures and workshops. I previously taught typeface design at the Lesley University College of Art and Design (formerly the Art Institute of Boston), and I continue to look for opportunities to visit classrooms and speak at conferences, especially if it involves traveling somewhere interesting!

Events I’ve spoken at include:

Cheviot Capri, Palms, Los Angeles

Other Projects

Retro Script L.A.: In early 2015, Emily Richardson and I decided to document the amazing variety of cursive lettering that we saw all over Los Angeles. We began posting a photo a day to Retro Script L.A., and it has transformed into a resource full of hundreds of images of the letters that shape the city’s urban landscape.

Backasswards: Wild west fonts were my entry point into typeface design, and ever since I have had a soft spot letterforms where the serifs are thicker than the stems. I’ve done some research into this crazy genre, and have spoken on the topic. Backasswards is a little supplement to the lecture I have given.

Python-based tools: A big part of my job consists of making tools and writing code, most of it in Python. I’ve published some of these tools as fbOpenTools, Font Bureau’s open source collection of handy font making tools. On my GitHub page, I’ve published a few tiny projects created for DrawBot, like a conference badge generator and a responsive U.S. flag.

Gimlet and Input


This website makes ample use of my typefaces Gimlet and Input, though you’ll find my other typefaces sprinkled in here as well.

This website is built with Jekyll and a little Python, and is hosted by Digital Ocean. The code was mostly written in Text Wrangler, and set in Input, of course! I received valuable web development assistance from Chris Lewis, who is an awesome person to work with. The examples of my fonts in use are sourced from, naturally, Fonts in Use.

For the most part, my fonts are drawn in RoboFont and produced with the help of a smorgasbord of UFO-based apps and libraries like RoboFab and FontTools.