Fonts are what dreams are made of. At least for Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones. They are amiable guys who were partnered in a charmed type foundry since 1999, until an ownership issue boiled up into a lawsuit filed by Frere-Jones earlier this year. Maybe fonts have a nightmarish side, too, but you won’t see that in “Font Men,” a 6-minute salute to the pair that is playing with “Art and Craft” at the 2014 AFI DOCS festival. The work, produced and directed by Dress Code (a NYC-based production house specializing in stop motion and live action design), contains nothing on the in-fighting (which post-dated production anyway), and also because, I suspect, the duo won the 2013 AIGA Medal, the highest award by AIGA, the professional association for design (which also sponsored the video, with additional support by the National Endowment for the Arts).
Instead you get a clean and pleasant glimpse at what inspired each of the men to pursue their career paths. When the camera isn’t positioned on them talking, it’s flowing over fonts of different weight, style, width, etc. in various stages of design. Lots of old books and catalogs (which contain words in different, strange fonts). They created hundreds of typefaces for such institutions as Martha Stewart, Delta Airlines, The Wall Street Journal. Their lettering is part of the stone that commemorates the rebuilt World Trade Center. There are some playful graphics that show their process and their philosophy. “Font Men” is fun. And because it is a Vimeo Staff Pick, you can enjoy it free, here.