Interview #01The Power of Fonts, as Shown by Evangelion

Fontworks Inc.

From Cradle to Grave - Text Follows a Person Through Life

There are many fonts offered by Fontworks like Matisse that are tied to specific products and given nicknames, like “Eva Ming.” It’s a special characteristic that these are loved not only by pros but by fans of the work. A recent example fresh in people’s minds is Raglanpunch, which is used in the title of anime Kill la Kill.

Mihara:“Giving a font a nickname is something that originated with Eva. It’s allowed us to be able to introduce ourselves as the ‘company that makes the Eva font.’ We’ve had some new hires who type in Matisse on the computer on their first day and get excited, saying, ‘Wow! It’s the real thing!’ We’re that kind of company. [laughs]”

Shibata:“Ever since Eva, our fonts have become more common with TV stations. So one of the curses of the job is seeing our fonts even when I’m watching TV. It shakes me up and I don’t calm down until I see someone else’s font [laughs]. At the Kyushu Institute of Design, I came in contact with an array of techniques related to images. I did phototypesetting, I cut and pasted raw 16mm film with a splicer... And so on, so there were many parts of Eva with its independent mindset that I related to for a long time.”

Mihara:“I think the fact that Matisse has spread among fans also tells us something. One of the driving forces behind the creation of Eva was the mentality to try anything yourself. This is my own personal opinion, but I think fonts will go on to become something more personal, and not just something belonging to designers. For example, I think the day will come when a teenager will use a prepaid card and buy their own font for a small price. Back in the days of movable text when each of the tens of thousands of characters were carved by hand, I don’t think that could even be imagined.”

Shibata:“From the time they’re given to you at birth to the time they’re carved on your gravestone upon your death, characters follow you through your entire life. They will continue to infiltrate every field and the market for them will always be active. And it’s a time when you wonder how many producers in Japan have become aware of that potential. As a trailblazer that has expanded the anime business into many different areas, Eva has really shown us a lot of possibilities. The basic philosophy at our company is to never say you can’t or it’s impossible, but to always look forward, and I think Eva is the same way. We want to keep sticking to that from here on.”

The company’s web page has a feature on Raglanpunch, which gained attention from the anime TV series Kill la Kill. The page even includes comments from director Hiroyuki Imaishi and has drawn visitors to the company’s website who have provided a lot of feedback.

New hires often try out Matisse EB on their first day.

This is a graphic from the Evangelion Exhibit held in Ginza in ‘13. Well-known book designer Shin Sobue handled the art direction and used Fontworks’s Chikushi B Old Mincho font.

The photograph shows an unpublished book recently put together by Shin Sobue that uses a font by Fontworks. When developing fonts, they often get in touch with well-known graphic designers like Shin Sobue and seek their advice.