Michael Harvey decided to become a letter carver in 1953, after reading Eric Gill’s Autobiography. He sought out and learned from Joseph Cribb, Gill’s first apprentice, and spent six years assisting renowned stone carver Reynolds Stone in inscription carving.
Since then, Harvey has designed and carved memorial inscriptions in Westminster Abbey, Winchester and Canterbury cathedrals, and carved the great frieze of artists’ names in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London. Harvey has also distinguished himself as a book jacket designer, typographic educator and author, with six books about the lettering arts to his credit.
With this background, a growing interest in type design was inevitable. Harvey has designed typefaces for Monotype (Ellington and Strayhorn) and Adobe (Mezz, Studz, Conga Brava, Andreas and Moonglow). In 2001, he and Andy Benedek founded Fine Fonts, an independent digital type foundry. Fine Fonts has since released a number of typeface designs, including Aesop, Fine Gothic, Tisdall Script, Marceta, Balthasar and Braff The aptly named Mentor is a family of roman and sans serif fonts that draw upon the early influences of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston and Reynolds Stone on Harvey’s lettering.
Since 1992, Harvey has been a member of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins & Medals. In 2001 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for Services to Art, a significant honor bestowed by the Queen during an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
Today, Harvey works from his home studio in the town of Bridport, in Dorset, where he finds time to pursue his non–typographic interests of cycling, photography and drawing.