Delve Withrington


Delve Withrington is the founder of Delve Fonts, a type foundry established in 2009 that brings together award-winning letterform designers, while drawing upon his own two decades of expertise designing and developing fonts. After attending the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the pre-internet era of floppy disks and grunge, Delve began as a signmaker. He went on to design type, first at Font-Shop and later at Monotype, where he designed typefaces under Jim Wasco and Robin Nicholas, most notably contributing to Nicholas’ typeface Ysobel. Collaborations continue at Delve Fonts: the foundry’s retail library includes Steven Skaggs’ Rieven Uncial, a Type Directors Club award winner; and Quita, based on the work of prominent calligrapher Xandra Y. Zamora. Custom work for Delve Fonts’ clients include the open-source typeface Overpass, sponsored by Red Hat and Google Fonts; and Beleren, created for Wizards of the Coast’s game Magic: The Gathering. Delve is actively involved in all designs, and is behind the foundry’s most recent release, Tome Sans. In 2018, Delve concluded a six-year role on the board for the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA). Among other duties, he organized the international SOTA Catalyst Award and helped organize TypeCon, SOTA’s annual convention. He also co-founded the San Francisco chapter of Type Thursday with Thomas Jockin. He has been a member of the Type Directors Club since 1997. When not drawing glyphs, Delve enjoys gardening, cooking, and family life on the island of Alameda, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?

The pandemic has had a minimal impact on my workplace as I’ve worked from my home studio since 2008. A positive change: my family is now home during work days. A negative change: Being unable to meet in person with colleagues or attend industryrelated events. In terms of workflow, the mental toll of 2020 has definitely affected my focus and productivity. Still, I’m grateful my family and I are safe and healthy. I expect that video conferencing will be a new normal in the day-to-day work schedule, which I view as a net positive change. While not a substitute for collaborative meetings, it certainly is preferable to business travel.

What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?

With the promise of COVID-19 vaccines, I’m optimistic 2021 holds great potential for all of us, including designers, who hopefully will enjoy rehires and new hires as recovery begins. The recent uptick in designers going contract/freelance or starting a new business will increase as more of them tire of waiting for hire-backs, or for furloughs to end. I think we’ll also see new services from designers who’ve acquired additional design skills during the pandemic.

As a designer, citizen, and human, the past year has given me much to consider. As a type designer in particular, 2020 underscored my desire to create new typefaces — and extend existing designs — to support underrepresented scripts. Especially with increased reliance in online services, the absence or scarcity of a fundamental tool such as a font supporting one’s native language passively denies the voice of an entire culture, while hindering its educational and business aspirations.