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Ryoichi Tsunekawa

Ryoichi Tsunekawa’s Flat-it foundry is located in Nagoya, Japan. Ryoichi debuted his first MyFonts font family in June and now has 15 families on the website. Machia, a connecting script font with elegant swashes, had been atop our Starlets page for quite a while after its initial release, but now [October 2006] the complementary Machiarge tops the chart. Machiarge is a casual heavier brushdrawn script, meant to be Machia’s kid brother.

Besides scripty fonts, Ryoichi has also created Boycott, a noisy poster font that’s a little rough around the edges. Another new design, Tokyotrail, is inspired by the capital of Japan, one of the world’s largest cities with over 2,000 square kilometers to explore. The font is designed with straight lines running vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.

We interviewed Ryoichi about his background as well as his take on all things type.

Ryoichi, please tell us a little about your background and experience.
I was born in 1978 in Nagoya, Japan. Since my childhood, I have always had an interest in paintings, art and design, especially abstract forms such as geometric repeating patterns. At university, I majored in Architecture. After graduating with an MA, I worked in Tokyo as an architect and engineer.

How did you get started in typeface design?
When doing presentations on architectural designs at university, I always used to worry about what font to use in order to make the presentation more appealing. I did not like using the same font as other people, so I remember every day I used to stare at catalogues from foundries all over the world. Sometimes I would design my own fonts in the end. Thinking about it now, that is when I started to create my own typefaces.

You’ve released quite a variety of typeface designs, from scripty to grunge to futuristic. How do you decide on the kind of typeface design you want to develop?
Being a Japanese person in Japan, I don’t have many opportunities to come into contact with western alphabet characters. There are not that many different types of typefaces in magazines either. Since there are only few inspirational typefaces I come across in Japan, I am compelled to investigate further and research to try to create variations of typefaces. I have so far only released 20 or so typefaces, so I would not specify my style as yet. Typefaces I create depend on how I feel at that particular moment.

Can you tell us the process you go through in designing a font?
When I design a font, I spend some time making a whole series of rough sketches using pen and paper. During this drawing process, a vague idea of the font that I want to create gradually emerges. Then I draw a few glyphs of the font, say ‘R’, ‘d’ and ‘s’. After transferring the sketches to my computer, I begin the long process of re-working them up again and again. It usually takes me over three or four weeks of concentrated time to produce a finished font.

What typeface designs are you working on now? When can we expect to see them at MyFonts?
At the moment I am working on typefaces that are inspired from or evocative of historical typefaces from around the world. There would be a series of about 12 typeface families. I would start releasing them around the end of this year as “xxx modern” series.

What’s your favorite typeface, and why?
I don’t really have a favorite typeface in particular. I am attracted to original typefaces on flyers and hand-painted letters on billboards (for shops and restaurants). Both of them may not be high-quality in execution, but the passion and the thoughts of the creator/writer are manifest.

What font do you never, ever want to see used again?
That would be Helvetica. Of course, Helvetica is a great font, but it became too popular and disseminated too much. To use Helvetica is to be the same as someone else. Also font designers, including myself, need to think about creating a font that will surpass the success of Helvetica, just like some architects outshine Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

Do you work full-time as a font designer?
In addition to being a font designer, I am currently working as a graphic designer and architect.

Thanks, Ryoichi! We look forward to seeing your new typeface designs soon!

This article and interview first appeared Rising Stars October 2006, one of the MyFonts newsletters.

In-depth interview

MyFonts Creative Characters: Ryoichi Tsunekawa (December 2010)

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171 font families by Ryoichi Tsunekawa

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Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.
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Packing five dozen waxy liquor jugs? Must be a typophile.
Kaneda Gothic™ Kaneda Gothic™
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Kaneda Gothic™ Kaneda Gothic™
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42 font styles from $19.99
Fabled reader with jaded, roving eye seized by quickened impulse to expand budget.
Dharma Gothic™ Dharma Gothic™
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Dharma Gothic™ Dharma Gothic™
Dharma Gothic™ Dharma Gothic™
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John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.
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Quiet Sans™ Quiet Sans™
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Seiji Ozawa quit, vexing rabid symphonic folk.
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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.
Compasse™ Compasse™
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John Quincy Adams grew vexed by talk of puzzles.
Design System™ Design System™
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The jukebox music puzzled a gentle visitor from a quaint valley town.
Sheepman™ Sheepman™
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Fixing the razor, J.S. Bach vowed to primp quickly.
Stereo Gothic™ Stereo Gothic™
Stereo Gothic™ Stereo Gothic™
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8 font styles from $24.99
Back in June we delivered oxygen equipment of the same size.
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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
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1 font style from $34.99
Six big juicy steaks sizzled in a pan as five workmen left the quarry.
Sneaker Script™ Sneaker Script™
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14 font styles from $19.99
Big July earthquakes confound zany experimental vow.
Tamba Sans Tamba Sans
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Tamba Sans Tamba Sans
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20 font styles from $19.99
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.
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18 font styles from $19.99
My help squeezed back in again and joined the weavers after six.
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13 font styles from $14.99
Wavy Jake’s fat zebra had Mexican pig liquor.
Dr Slab™ Dr Slab™
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5 font styles from $24.99
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Griffon™ Griffon™
Griffon™ Griffon™
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4 font styles from $19.99
Would you please examine both sizes of jade figures very quickly.
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1 font style from $19.99
New job: fix Mr. Gluck’s hazy TV, PDQ.
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18 font styles from $19.99
Mozart’s jawing quickly vexed a fat bishop.
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5 font styles from $24.99 - some free
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Yummo™ Yummo™
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1 font style from $19.99
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PAG Revolucion PAG Revolucion
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42 font styles from $19.99
Brawny gods just flocked up to quiz and vex him.
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4 font styles from $19.99
Jack amazed a few girls by dropping the antique onyx vase!
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6 font styles from $19.99
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Vincente™ Vincente™
Vincente™ Vincente™
Vincente™ Vincente™
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5 font styles from $19.00
Putin backs away from Iraq zeal; Bush, vexed, jogs.
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4 font styles from $19.99
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Cotoris™ Cotoris™
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4 font styles from $19.99
Whacky pangram quiz flummoxed Steve Jobs.
House Of Cards House Of Cards
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House Of Cards House Of Cards
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12 font styles from $19.99
Back in my quaint garden jaunty zinnias vie with flaunting phlox.
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Clonoid™ Clonoid™
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Clonoid™ Clonoid™
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1 font style from $19.99
Lazy movers quit hard-packing of papier-mache jewelry boxes.
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6 font styles from $19.99
Quick wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim.
Space Colony™ Space Colony™
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Space Colony™ Space Colony™
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3 font styles from $19.99
Now is the time for all quick brown dogs to jump over the lazy lynx.
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1 font style from $19.99
A large fawn jumped quickly over white zinc boxes.
HT Neon™ HT Neon™
HT Neon™ HT Neon™
HT Neon™ HT Neon™
HT Neon™ HT Neon™
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16 font styles from $19.99
Crazy Fredericka bought many very exquisite opal jewels.
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Mid Century Sans Mid Century Sans
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1 free font
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
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Bebas Neue™ Bebas Neue™
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3 font styles from $14.99
Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.
Celtics Modern™ Celtics Modern™

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10 font styles from $19.99
Cozy sphinx waves quart jug of bad milk.
Revolution Gothic™ Revolution Gothic™
Revolution Gothic™ Revolution Gothic™
Revolution Gothic™ Revolution Gothic™
Revolution Gothic™ Revolution Gothic™
Revolution Gothic™ Revolution Gothic™

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1 font style from $24.99
The exodus of jazzy pigeons is craved by squeamish walkers.
Piepie™ Piepie™
Piepie™ Piepie™
Piepie™ Piepie™
Piepie™ Piepie™

Albums

16 font styles from $19.99
Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.
Taro™ Taro™
Taro™ Taro™
Taro™ Taro™
Taro™ Taro™
Taro™ Taro™

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1 font style from $19.99
A good quick jab of a pen may vex Will Shortz.
HT Trattoria™ HT Trattoria™
HT Trattoria™ HT Trattoria™
HT Trattoria™ HT Trattoria™
HT Trattoria™ HT Trattoria™

Albums

7 font styles from $4.99
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Double Dagger™ Double Dagger™
Double Dagger™ Double Dagger™
Double Dagger™ Double Dagger™

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1 font style from $4.99
Six quite crazy kings vowed to abolish my pitiful jousts.
Bebas Neue Semi Rounded Bebas Neue Semi Rounded

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12 font styles from $29.99
How vexing a fumble to drop a jolly zucchini in the quicksand.
Gomme Sans™ Gomme Sans™
Gomme Sans™ Gomme Sans™
Gomme Sans™ Gomme Sans™
Gomme Sans™ Gomme Sans™
Gomme Sans™ Gomme Sans™

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1 font style from $14.99
Lazy movers quit hard-packing of papier-mache jewelry boxes.
Boycott™ Boycott™
Boycott™ Boycott™
Boycott™ Boycott™
Boycott™ Boycott™

Albums

6 font styles from $9.99
The sex life of the woodchuck is a provocative question for most vertebrate zoology majors.
Code Saver™ Code Saver™
Code Saver™ Code Saver™
Code Saver™ Code Saver™
Code Saver™ Code Saver™
Code Saver™ Code Saver™