Robin Nicholas

Portrait: Robin Nicholas
Robin Nicholas (r.)
Robin Nicholas / Linotype GmbH

Robin Nicholas

Long-standing director of typography at Monotype UK

The challenge for me is to design typefaces that meet functional requirements while maintaining elegance of form and good design cohesion.

Robin Nicholas speaking about his work

Born in 1947 in Westerham, in the English county of Kent, Robin Nicholas was hired by the London-based Monotype Corporation in 1965, a company that was at that time still largely known as a manufacturer of typesetting machinery. He began his career at Monotype as an apprentice in the company’s type drawing office, which he went on to manage for a period of 10 years, starting in 1982. He was subsequently promoted to head of typography of Monotype UK, a position he held until his retirement in 2012.

As a creator of typeface, Nicholas’ name is primarily associated with the Helvetica variant Arial, which he developed at the beginning of the 1980s. The font became the standard typeface of the Windows operating system, thereby reaching a massive global audience. He considers the SAS Scandinavian font to be among his best creations, a typeface that he developed for Scandinavian Airlines. He has also provided typographical solutions for international corporations such as Opel, IKEA and British Airways. The Nimrod font, a newspaper typeface which Nicholas created back in the 1970s, was used by the British daily The Guardian over the course of a ten year period. In 2009, together with Alice Savoie, he created Ysobel.