This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

Tobias Frere-Jones

Frere-Jones at the Beyond Tellerrand conference in 2015
Specimen of various typefaces designed by Tobias Frere-Jones for Martha Stewart Living.

Tobias Frere-Jones (born Tobias Edgar Mallory Jones; August 28, 1970)[1] is an American type designer who works in New York City. He was formerly a partner [2] with designer Jonathan Hoefler at Hoefler & Frere-Jones, a type foundry in lower Manhattan. Frere-Jones teaches typeface design at the Yale School of Art MFA program, with type designer Matthew Carter.


He is a son of Robin Carpenter Jones and his wife, the former Elizabeth Frere, and a brother of music critic Sasha Frere-Jones. He is a grandson of Alexander Stuart Frere-Reeves, the former chairman of the board of William Heinemann Ltd, the British publishing house, a great-grandson of the writer Edgar Wallace, who wrote the screenplay for the film King Kong,[3] and a nephew of Vice Admiral Sir Richard Tobias Frere KCB.

After attending Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn and receiving a BFA in 1992 from Rhode Island School of Design, Frere-Jones joined Font Bureau, Inc. in Boston. As Senior Designer for over seven years, he created a number of the typefaces that are Font Bureau's best known, among them Interstate and Poynter Oldstyle & Gothic. He joined the Yale School of Art faculty in 1996 as a critic. In 1999, he left Font Bureau to return to New York, where he began work with Jonathan Hoefler. While working together, the two collaborated on projects for The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, Nike, Pentagram, GQ, Esquire magazine, The New Times, Business 2.0, and The New York Times Magazine.

He has designed over seven hundred typefaces for retail publication, custom clients, and experimental purposes. His clients have included The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Advertising Age and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Whitney Museum, The American Institute of Graphic Arts Journal, and Neville Brody. He has lectured at Rhode Island School of Design, Yale School of Art, Pratt Institute, Royal College of Art, and Universidad de las Americas. His work has been featured in HOW, ID, Page, Print, Eye, and Graphis Inc., and is included in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In 2006, Frere-Jones received the Gerrit Noordzij Prize, an award given by The Royal Academy of Art (The Hague) to honor innovations in type design.

He married Dr. Christine Annabelle Bateup in 2006.[4]


Tobias Frere-Jones’ typefaces include:

  • Armada, 1987–94
  • Dolores, 1990
  • Hightower Text
  • Nobel, 1991–93
  • Garage Gothic, 1992
  • Cassandra, 1992
  • Pythagoras, 1992
  • Proxy, 1992
  • Zoetrope, 1992
  • Horizon, 1992
  • Archipelago, 1992–98
  • Vitriol, 1992–94
  • Cafeteria, 1993
  • Epitaph, 1993
  • Nixie, 1993
  • Reiner Script, 1993
  • Stereo, 1993
  • Chainletter, 1993–94
  • Reactor, 1993–96
  • Interstate, 1993–99
  • Fibonacci, 1994
  • Sum Of The Parts, 1994
  • Rietveld, 1994
  • Supermodel, 1994
  • Niagara, 1994
  • Asphalt, 1995
  • Benton Gothic, 1995
  • Citadel, 1995
  • Microphone, 1995
  • Pilsner, 1995
  • Poynter Oldstyle, 1996–97
  • Poynter Gothic, 1997
  • Griffith Gothic, 1997–2000
  • Whitney, 1996–2004
  • Benton Modern (with David Berlow), 1997–2015
  • Numbers (with Jonathan Hoefler), 1997–2006
  • Phemister, 1997
  • Grand Central, 1998
  • Welo Script, 1998
  • Mercury Text (with Jonathan Hoefler), 1999
  • Vitesse (with Jonathan Hoefler), 2000
  • Landmark (with Jonathan Hoefler), 2000–12
  • Evolution (with Jonathan Hoefler), 2000
  • Retina, 2000–16
  • Nitro, 2001
  • Surveyor, 2001
  • Archer (with Jonathan Hoefler), 2001
  • Gotham, 2000–09
  • Idlewild, 2002–12
  • Exchange, 2002–17
  • Monarch, 2003
  • Dulcet, 2003
  • Tungsten, 2004–12
  • Argosy, 2004
  • Gotham Rounded, 2005
  • Mallory, 2015
  • Conductor (designed with Nina Stössinger), 2018
  • Empirica (designed with Nina Stössinger), 1994–2018

Frere-Jones vs. Hoefler

In January 2014, Frere-Jones filed a $20 million lawsuit against Jonathan Hoefler. The lawsuit was filed following a disagreement over terms of the H&FJ ownership structure. Frere-Jones claims that Jonathan Hoefler originally offered a 50/50 partnership in forming the new company. When talks about completing this supposed proposal fell through in 2013, Frere-Jones left H&FJ. Court documents say that Tobias Frere-Jones technically sold Whitney, among others, to Hoefler Type Foundry for $10 when he co-founded H&FJ.[5]


  1. ^ Dunlap, David W (October 19, 2004). "2 Type Designers, Joining Forces and Faces". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
  2. ^ Brownlee, John (January 17, 2014). "Hoefler & Frere-Jones, The Beatles of the Type World, Are Breaking Up". Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  3. ^ "WEDDINGS; Deborah Holmes, Sasha Frere-Jones". New York Times. 1994-06-12. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  4. ^ "Christine Bateup, Tobias Frere-Jones". The New York Times. September 24, 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  5. ^ "Tobias Frere-Jones against Jonathan Hoefler". The State of New York. January 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25.