About

The importance of text in our everyday lives is indisputable. Many of our daily interactions having real social, political, commercial, academic, civic, and cultural impact occur through text. In each of these interactions, whether on or offline, we absorb information in text as both content and presentation. The style of letterforms, as part of this presentation, affects the content’s impact. It creates a visual voice, helping us determine words as informal or official, friendly or aloof, delicate or imposing, traditional or trendy.

As such, letterforms are designed to inform, influence, and convince.

The design of clear, distinctive type and lettering involves so much more than drawing letters; the result must engage our visual associations, speak our languages, and perform within the technology we use, and ultimately reflect the value of our message.

My studio specializes in creating digital typefaces, fonts, logotypes, and lettering for designers, design agencies, and foundries who build brands and project visual voices. My experience in both the aesthetic and functional aspects of letterform design allows me to advise, translate ideas, and collaborate throughout the design process for reliable results.

I bring form to concepts with a thoughtful and consistent approach in three ways:

 

Typeface design

Designing a new lettering system comes from a need to express a distinctive tone of voice to a particular audience. Doing this properly requires translating this tone into the graphic qualities of form and counterform through proportion, contrast, and rhythm. This includes

  • designing complete alphabet styles for Latin and other scripts, notably Cyrillic, Greek, and Hebrew
  • expanding existing typeface designs by creating new weights, widths, grades, and companion styles
  • upgrading typefaces’ character sets for relevent symbols, sets of figures, small capitals, ornaments, and swashes
Trade Gothic Next specimen
Iskra one-line specimen

Font development

Creating a stylized repertoire of digital letters is only half of the work; for these letters to be useful to graphic designers and typographers they need to be converted into working fonts. Depending on client needs, the process can include

  • preparing existing drawings and combining them with appropriate parameters for making functional font software (mastering): metrics, character codes, outline integrity, as well as other information necessary for consistent, cross-platform performance
  • adding optimizations for comfortable on-screen reading in typical publication sizes (7–24 points)
  • improving functionality through OpenType features
  • testing font files for consistent performance in target applications, operating systems, and devices
Font development, QA

Custom lettering

Bespoke typefaces are but one solution for representing visual voices. Company names, initials, and slogans can be skillfully developed into logotypes, signatures, monograms, and stylized compositions to form sophisticated elements of an identity. My approach involves

  • researching graphic vocabulary and trends
  • combining hand-lettering and calligraphic techniques

Working in these three roles gives my studio a wide perspective of the entire design process, empowering each client to project their persuasive and distinctive message through clear, unique typography and lettering.

Are you an agency or design professional looking to develop a distinctive visual voice for your branding or design concept? Let’s get in touch.

Biography

Tom Grace is a leading independent typeface and lettering designer based in Lausanne, Switzerland. He holds a Master of Arts in Typeface Design from the University of Reading (UK) and has been creating and optimizing letterforms professionally since 2003. Tom has designed and developed over 850 separate font styles, many of them for Cyrillic and other non-Latin writing systems, and has published retail typefaces with Monotype and TypeTogether. He also teaches, lectures, and consults on typeface design and development.

Tom’s work has earned awards and distinctions for excellence, reinforcing his reputation as a go-to specialist for designers, design agencies, type foundries, and their clients, in Switzerland and around the world.