The story of Mentor begins in the early 1970s. It was then that Michael Harvey drew a serif and sans serif alphabet to use for illustrations in his book “Lettering Design.” They were intended to be typical twentieth-century letterforms with no fancy affectations or idiosyncratic details.
Twenty years later, he had the idea of turning the beginnings of Mentor alphabets into a typeface. “I scanned and digitized them,” recalls Michael, “but the results looked too prim, serifs too fine, the whole thing lacked character.” The results were filed on his hard drive.
More time passed until Michael was commissioned to design a book jacket and he began to think about the Mentor alphabet idea again. “The lettering for the jacket was also a classic roman design but it had more appeal, more life, than the earlier renderings,” says Michael.” He returned to the original digitized characters and tweaked them until they had the quality of those he drew for the book jacket.
In doing research for the Neo Sans family, Sebastian Lester confirmed that the principal ingredient of an “ultra modern” typeface was simplicity of character structure: a carefully drawn, monoline form, open letter shapes and smooth, strong curves. To conceive a typeface that crossed the line from modern to futuristic, Lester decided to amplify these qualities. Neo Sans, and it’s companion face, Neo Tech grew out of these design concepts.
- Allan Haley is Director of Words & Letters at Monotype Imaging. Here he is responsible for strategic planning and creative implementation of just about everything related to typeface designs. He is also responsible for editorial content for the company’s type libraries and Web sites.
- Prior to working for Monotype, Mr. Haley was Principal of Resolution, a consulting firm with expertise in fonts, font technology, type and typographic communication. He was also executive vice president of International Typeface Corporation.
- Mr. Haley is ex officio Chairman of the Board of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, and past President of the New York Type Directors Club. He is highly regarded as an educator and is a frequently requested speaker at national computer and design conferences.
- Mr. Haley is also a prolific writer, with five books on type and graphic communication and hundreds of articles for graphic design publications to his credit.