Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Jonathan Hoefler: Typography legend on type history, philosophy, and entrepreneurship

Jonathan Hoefler: Typography legend on type history, philosophy, and entrepreneurship

Episode 91 of the Design Better Podcast

No transcript...

Chances are you have a few fonts on your computer designed by Jonathan Hoefler. Since 1991, Apple has included Hoefler Text on every Mac. Ideal Sans, Knockout, Archer, Verlag, and Sentinel—are a few more of Hoefler’s well known typefaces —each is steeped in history and timelessly beautiful. It’s no wonder that Jonathan was featured in the Netflix series Abstract, which explores design and creativity, as he is truly a typography legend.

As part of our series on design history, we talk with Jonathan about his typographic influences, his philosophical views on the value of presentation and why he views entrepreneurship as an invitation, and some of the themes in his work like “Unfinished Business” and “Conservation and Preservation.”

This is the first episode of our 10th season of Design Better. We’ll be continuing our exploration of design history and the creative process, but also adding new themes like how we can design a better future, and the secrets of living a more creative life, with guests like potter and designer Jonathan Adler.


Jonathan Hoefler (pronounced "HEFF-ler") is a typeface designer, typographer, writer, and inventor, and the creator of some of the world's most influential fonts such as Gotham, Knockout, Mercury, Sentinel, and Hoefler Text. He founded the distinguished type foundry Hoefler&Co in 1989, which he sold in 2021, after publishing more than eleven hundred original tyepfaces. He's currently enjoying a sabbatical, and writing about typography and visual culture on his website,

Subscribe to DB+ (50% off)

Subscribe to DB+ to get episodes a week early and ad-free. Plus, every month, you're invited to exclusive AMAs (Ask Me Anything) with big names in design and tech, from companies like Nike, Netflix, and the New York Times who will answer your questions directly.

Early bird subscribers get 50% off for the first three months. Visit to learn more and subscribe.

Visiting the links below is one of the best ways to support our show:

Methodical Coffee: Roasted, blended, brewed, served and perfected by verified coffee nerds 🤓. We have our very own Design Better roast at Methodical, grab some here to fuel your creativity:

American Giant: Makers of the best hoodie on the planet, their clothing is American-made, ethically produced, and built to last. What more could you ask for? Save 20% off your first order with American Giant using our promo code DESIGNBETTER at checkout.

Uplift Desks: For people like us who spend countless hours at our desk, ergonomics are an essential consideration. A standing desk from Uplift Desk can help you avoid the negative effects of sitting all day by improving circulation and reducing strain. Design Better can get a special deal by visiting Use the code DESIGNBETTER at checkout for 5% off your order. Free shipping, free returns, and an industry-leading 15-year warranty. They’re a great company.

Gusto: We’re big fans of Gusto, who make it easy to run payroll, set up healthcare and other benefits for your business. They’ve made setting up the HR infrastructure for Design Better a breeze. Gusto is also one of the best designed SaaS tools out there.

Design Better listeners get 3 months free once they run their first payroll - Go to to sign up.

We would love to learn a bit about you and your listening habits to help us improve the show and partner with the right sponsors who make things relevant to your life. We're giving away a 13" Macbook Air with the new M2 chip to one lucky respondent to our survey who will be chosen at random. Just complete this survey to be entered to win! One entry per person please.

If you're interested in sponsoring the show, please contact us at:

If you'd like to submit a guest idea, please contact us at:

Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”