Some type designers are seemingly born into the craft. Others find their career in typeface design as the result of a momentous event. A post card – just your garden-variety postcard – was the impetus that brought George Ryan into a life of type.
Born in Rockville Centre, New York, in 1950, Ryan was in his late 20s and working in a print shop when a co-worker flipped a postcard across the print room. The projectile narrowly missed Ryan as he was working on a particularly delicate job. Rather than retaliate this juvenile stunt, he decided to grab a newspaper and head for a quite place to “cool off.”
There was a help wanted ad in the classifieds of the newspaper for “letter drawers” at Mergenthaler Linotype. “The rest,” according to Ryan, “is history – my history.”
After four years of honing his craft, Ryan moved to Boston and joined the then nascent Bitstream Inc., advancing from designer to manager, and then from manager to Director of Typographic Production. Working at the startup for over a decade, Ryan and some fellow colleagues from Bitsteam struck out on their own, forming a new type foundry – Galapagos Design Group.
In 2003 Ryan joined Monotype Imaging, where he works as a senior designer – some of his typefaces families include ITC Kristen, ITC Adderville, Wedding Singer, Oz Handicraft, Givens Antiqua, as well as well as the newly released Koorkin family.