URW++ is the successor of the company URW (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber — from the founders’ names), in Hamburg, Germany. Under the technical direction of Peter Karow, this company led the world in developing digital font technology. Its IKARUS suite of font digitization tools and file format standards handles fonts as bitmaps, as greyscale (anti-aliased bitmaps), as vector outlines, and as curved outlines. If a typeface exists on paper, then IKARUS is still the choice of many professionals. The program uses the unfashionable puck as input method.
The present company continues to market and develop IKARUS (now running on Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX workstations), as well as LINUS, a logo production tool. The large collection of URW fonts is sold in single font packs, or in bulk on CDs. The company has a very good reputation in Europe for quality and attention to the Central European market.
URW font names often include a letter indicating the usage of the font. The codes and their meanings are:
- T = Text
- D = Display
- L = Laserwriter (former core fonts)
- M = Monospaced
- E = Extreme (extremely wide or tight, very small or big sizes)
- P = Poster (extremely large sizes)
Beginning in 2016, URW++ offers a collection of fonts with broad language support (including non-latin) under the URW++ Global foundry name.