Hi, I’m Dan Rhatigan. You can use the links above to dig through the design work, old blog posts, and various other things archived on this site. If you like you can also check out some of the material featuring me shown below, or just get in touch.

TYPO Labs: Variable Fonts Progress Report

Fastest upload ever! I just gave this talk earlier today at TYPO Labs in Berlin. I've barely slept for the last two days, so I'm surprised that I sound so lucid.

Since last September’s announcement of the new OpenType 1.8 spec, variable fonts have been moving from concepts and demos into practical solutions. This overview will summarize the progress made so far on new fonts, the environments that can support them, and what some designers have already learned to do with them.

April 6, 2017 12:16 PM

Source Han Serif: An open source Pan-CJK typeface

When I started at Adobe last September, the Adobe Type team had been hard at work for quite some time on a major project: Source Han Serif, a serif-style family supporting pan-CJK languages. This is a follow-up to Source Han Serif, but pushes the scope a little further than that project, particularly in that it turns out to have been the original story for Frank Grießhammer’s wonderful Source Serif, as well.

I didn’t do much for the project itself other than keep an eye on its progress while my better-qualified colleagues finished what they'd started, but thy were kind enough to let me talk about the work and how it fits in with Adobe Type’s overall mission, which IS my job to worry about.

April 4, 2017 11:23 AM

HOWLive with Ilise Benun

Today's media blitz continues with an interview with me on Ilise Benun’s HOWLive podcast.

In the latest HOWLive podcast interview, Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com and Program Partner for HOW Design Live talks with Dan Rhatigan of Adobe Typekit about the democratization of type and how technology is transforming type with color fonts, variable fonts and the rise of emoji.

March 28, 2017 11:55 AM

SVA Type Lab

For the last few Summers I have been one of the instructors for the SVA Type Lab, a 4-week course in typeface design here in New York. This year, we’ve been trying to promote the course with some cute short videos:

Meet TypeLab instructor Dan Rhatigan @ultrasparky and his typographic tattoos - - #timespacecommunity #typography #typeface #typetuesday #type #typeinspire #typedesign #typematters #typeeverything @svace

A post shared by SVATypeLab (@svatypelab) on

What's your least favorite letterform, the most elegant, the most underrated? Tell us in the comments! Here's how Typelab instructors @ultrasparky and @tobias.frerejones, and @samarskaya answered. - - #typethursdays #timespacecommunity #typography #typeface #type #typeinspire #typedesign #typematters #typeeverything @svace​

A post shared by SVATypeLab (@svatypelab) on

March 28, 2017 11:46 AM

Valenstein & Fatt

While I was in London recently, I helped my pals at Grey London with a film about why they’re taking on the names of their original founders, Valenstein & Fatt, to talk about diversity in the industry.

I was originally asked to talk about the typeface they chose to recapture the spirit of Grey, circa 1917, but as it turned out I was much more passionate about how hard it has always been for immigrants and other marginalized groups to assimilate into American culture, despite the myth of the Great American Melting Pot.

Valenstein & Fatt from Valenstein & Fatt on Vimeo.

(I begged them to re-kern that logotype, though.)

Update: A second video, with my take on Valenstein & Gray’s choice of Century Schoolbook for their re-imagined brand:

Valenstein & Fatt: The Logo from Valenstein & Fatt on Vimeo.

(Read the rest...)

March 28, 2017 11:05 AM

The Blank-ish Page

This talk took place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union as part of Typographics.

Typographics 2016: The Blank-ish Page from Type@Cooper.

My summary from the program:

It can be difficult to explore possibilities of typography when designers—and especially clients—assume certain things are given, when these variables are not hard limits, just conventions. I want to look at the background of certain defaults of our software, to get people to consider them in some context and think about them more critically.

December 1, 2016 10:20 PM

Tailored Typography

Tailored Typography”, a talk I gave at the San Francisco Public Library on March 29, 2016, as part of Type@Cooper West’s lecture series

I’ve delivered some variations of this talk in the past. In fact, I believe the first iteration for it was for Type@Cooper in New York. My ideas about the material presented continue to evolve as I learn more doing various bits of research, but this time I was able to be a little more direct in my discussion of some details now that I no longer directly represent Monotype. (There had always been some legal hindrance in my ability to speak as an employee about the manufacturing activities of the Linotype and Monotype corporations in their original incarnations, neither of which are actually the same entity that operates today as Monotype Imaging, Inc. Don’t even get me started on that.)

The basic premise of this talk, though — the relationship of type production to type design — is a big fascination of mine that keeps going deeper all time time, so I imagine someday there will be other versions of this that evolve even further.

July 19, 2016 10:34 PM

Learning from Letraset

Learning from Letraset”, a talk I gave at Cooper Union on February 22, 2016, as part of Type@Cooper’s Herb Lublin Lecture Series

Letraset and other brands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down type made it possible for students, professionals, and everyone else to design with real typefaces, without needing professional typesetting services. A cheap and easy way to experiment with typography and other graphic elements, Letraset put a lot of care into making type easy to use well, but it also resulted in a lot of ways to use type badly, but with interesting results. With some care and attention, however, it was a great way to develop an eye for typography.

This talk was a look at Letraset’s type and other graphic supplies, showing how they put the tools of professional design into everyday hands. It also looked at how people had to improvise with Letraset, and made the most of the materials at hand.

(Read the rest...)

February 27, 2016 6:58 AM

Now we’re talking

After years of listening to fascinating, chasing interviews with a diverse bunch of smart people on Typeradio, I was really flattered when Donald and Liza asked me to sit down for a chat when I was in Den Haag last March at the Robothon conference.

You can finally listen to the interview here. This is one of a few interviews that I gave before I left Monotype that have trickled out afterwards, and they all feel slightly awkward now that I'm trying to establish my place in the world outside of my old job. I can hear in this one how careful I'm being when I describe the situation, since I was only recently getting past my first attempt to leave, and trying to make peace with the new role that I took on instead.

Typeradio has quite a body of work available now, and it was really great to see the tables turned recently when Type Journal interviewed Donald and Liza about the project.

December 6, 2015 10:29 AM

I have a face for radio

Paper Cuts

Like this site, Pink Mince is another side project that’s been going for so long that its own history is part of why I can’t bring myself to call it quits. I may publish sporadically, but I’m really proud of the eleven issues (not to mention the Minis, the merch, and the far-more-active Tumblr moodboard) I’ve produced across the last 6 years or so.

Despite the body of work, it's rare for a zine get much of a reach, so I don't often get to talk much about what the overall project has been about over the years. Happily, book artist Christopher Kardambikis invited me for an interview on Paper Cuts, an online radio show he hosts, where he talks to zine makers and other DIY publishers about the things they do. It was great to ramble on for a bit, and finally explain what I mean when I say that Pink Mince isn’t just a gay zine, but is also a showcase for contemporary typeface design and vintage lettering that features pictures of dudes.

Sparky in Vienna

(That’s me sneaking a discussion of Pink Mince into a talk on Letraset I was giving in Vienna.)

December 3, 2015 9:22 AM

Passion for Type

My very good pal Doug Wilson did this video interview with me last year, and side from the sound of my chest hair rasping against the microphone, I really like how it turned out.

Unfortunately, it languished a while since Monotype cancelled the initiative this was for. Some things that are out of date:

September 4, 2015 11:38 AM

Tattoo videos

I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but the more time I spend talking about typography to people who are into it, the more people want to know as much about my nerdy type tattoos as they want to know about whatever I'm supposed to be talking about. As a result, I've been featured in a couple of videos that just take a look at my scrawny arms with their interesting markings:

The Alphabet Man

Dan Rhatigan on type...Type on Dan Rhatigan from Grey London on Vimeo.

Just for the sake of reference, here’s a list of my tattoos (as of August 2014, of course):

  1. R from unknown wood type

  2. & from Poetica by Robert Slimbach

  3. ü from Meta Bold by Erik Spiekermann

  4. s from Fette Fraktur

  5. K from the old Krispy Kreme logo

  6. g from Baskerville, based on types of John Baskerville

  7. § from Champion Gothic Middleweight by Jonathan Hoefler

  8. 7 from Century Oldstyle Bold by Morris Fuller Benton

  9. y from Cooper Black Italic by Oswald Cooper

  10. W from Whitney Bold by Tobias Frere-Jones

  11. z from Stilla by François Boltana

  12. r from Maple Medium by Eric Olson

  13. 2 from Ingeborg Block by Michael Hochleitner

  14. w from Actium Black Italic by Gerben Dollen

  15. a from Dolly Italic by Underware

  16. e from Sodachrome (Left and Right) by Ian Moore and Dan Rhatigan

  17. Y from Banco by Roger Excoffon

  18. Å from Leyton by Ian Moore

  19. C from De Little 30-Line 196

  20. H from Calypso by Roger Excoffon

  21. é from Gill Sans Ultrabold (Gill Kayo) by Eric Gill

  22. B from Festival Titling by Phillip Boydell

  23. ø from Bell Centennial Bold Listing by Matthew Carter

August 21, 2014 10:59 AM
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