Type Designer Among 2010 MacArthur Fellows; Receives $500K Genius GrantSeptember 28, 2010
The recipients just learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations and reporting requirements and offer fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore.
Matthew Carter was selected for being a "type designer crafting letterforms of unequaled elegance and precision that span the migration of text from the printed page to computer screens." To date, Carter has designed over 60 typeface families and more than 250 individual fonts reflecting a staggering variety of styles, including revivals of classic type as well as eccentric, expressive, and experimental forms.
He has cut metal letterforms by hand in the manner invented over four centuries ago, created enduring works for machine- and phototypesetting, and produced many of the world’s most widely used digital fonts. Carter's recent work has focused on developing highly legible fonts for computer screens, including the small screens of low-resolution, handheld devices. While bringing a deep knowledge of the history of his art form to bear on each new project, he continues to respond to a stream of new developments in communication technology with a thoroughly modern sensibility.
Carter is a principal of Carter and Cone Type, Inc., which he co-founded with Cherie Cone in 1991. He trained as a punchcutter at Enschedé and Zonen type foundry (the Netherlands), was a designer at Mergenthaler Linotype (1965–1981), and was co-founder of Bitstream, Inc. (1981–1991), the world’s first independent digital type foundry. Since 1976, he has been a senior critic at the Yale University School of Art.
The unusual level of independence afforded to fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place and endeavor.
“This group of fellows, along with the more than 800 who have come before, reflects the tremendous breadth of creativity among us,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “They are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields and to society in innovative, impactful ways. They provide us all with inspiration and hope for the future.”
“There is something palpable about these new MacArthur Fellows, about their character as explorers and pioneers at the cutting edge. These are women and men improving, protecting, and making our world a better place for us all. This program was designed for such people — designed to provide an extra measure of freedom, visibility, and opportunity,” said Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.
The inaugural class of MacArthur Fellows was named in 1981. Including this year’s Fellows, 828 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inception of the program thirty years ago.
The selection process begins with formal nominations. Hundreds of anonymous nominators assist the Foundation in identifying people to be considered for a MacArthur Fellowship. Nominations are accepted only from invited nominators, a list that is constantly renewed throughout the year. They are chosen from many fields and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise. A Selection Committee of roughly a dozen members, who also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The number of Fellows selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 20 and 25.
Source: Press release.