About

DJR

Photo by Norman Posselt

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. Whether it’s reinterpreting a forgotten style or solving a typographic problem, I always try to integrate specificity into my work, not to mention good craftsmanship and a dash of the unexpected.

I’m originally from Los Angeles, but I began making fonts during my time at Hampshire College. After working with The Font Bureau for nearly a decade, I started my own type foundry in 2016. Now I live in the hills of Western Massachusetts with my partner, Emily, and our two dogs, Sophie and Lily.

You can license my fonts directly or find them at Type Network, Fontstand, and Adobe Fonts. And if you sign up for my Font of the Month Club, I will send you a new font at the beginning of every month.

Selected honors

Custom work

Custom fonts

I 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.

I am also happy to take on modifications or expansions of my existing fonts in order to tailor them to meet your needs.

It is always a rush to see how designers put my fonts to use, and I am curious to see how they might be an ingredient in your next project. Get in touch if I can draw some letters for you.

Speaking at BITS 2015, Bangkok. Photo by BITS.

BITS 2015

Lectures & Workshops

I always love to share my love of letters through lectures and workshops, and enjoy the opportunity to travel to classrooms and conferences far and wide. I also teach a semester-long course in typeface design at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt).

Selected Lectures

Open Studio

DJR Open Studio

Every once in a while, I like to open up my studio and host an informal hangout in the woods. We drink, we eat, we take walks, we do other seasonally-appropriate activities like sledding and apple picking, and we talk about fonts.

Attendees have given amazing talks: we’ve heard about everything from lettering to machine learning, from responsive design to font licensing, from impostor syndrome to augmented reality.

I’m already thinking about the next one, but I haven’t set a date just yet.

Past Open Studios

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 the 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 own GitHub page, you can find my complete Bungee sources, an experimental variable font, and a smattering of font making resources and DrawBot tools, such as a conference badge generator and a responsive U.S. flag.

Gimlet and Input

Colophon

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 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.