Richard Lipton has been designing letterforms for more than 40 years. His background as a professional calligrapher has always guided his work as a type designer. Despite the somewhat strict parameters of this discipline, he feels there are no creative limits to the craft of letter-making.
Born in New York City, Lipton was raised as a typical postwar baby boomer urban American kid. He grew up in a small apartment with an annoying older brother – first in Brooklyn, then in Queens – spending more time outside than in. He was a sidewalk rat, playing street games in addition to every sport known to man, and ran round and round his neighborhood faster and faster – like Marvel’s Flash – to see if he could time travel. An Olympic track speed hopeful at 15, he tore his Achilles tendon and the dream vaporized.
As Lipton came of age in the late 1960s and increased his circle of exploration and experimentation, he found himself fully participating in the prevalent countercultural anarchy of drugs and rock & roll. Eventually, becoming somewhat tired and wary of New York City’s inner workings, he longed to escape the social chaos and political turmoil that surrounded him. Attending college in upstate New York provided that chance.
As a studio art major at Harpur College, Lipton was searching for an expressive medium when a design professor dazzled him with a simple but dramatic piece of calligraphy and his fate was sealed. After earning a BA in Design and Photography, Lipton became increasingly interested in type design through his work as a freelance sign painter, calligrapher and graphic designer. This led to a full-time position at Bitstream from 1983–91 and a subsequent engagement at Font Bureau, where he initially worked as a freelancer. Today Lipton continues to serve as a senior designer at Font Bureau, creating original typefaces and developing custom type for clients ranging from small businesses to international news organizations and global corporations.