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Markus Itkonen

Markus Kalevi Itkonen
Born December 17, 1965 Rural Municipality of Helsinki (Vantaa)
Doctor of Arts 2012 (graphic design), Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Master of Arts 1991 (art history), University of Helsinki
Graphic designer 1986, Mainosgraafikkojen koulu, Helsinki

Graafinen suunnittelu Markus Itkonen Oy 1987– (owner), core business: book design

Kirjaintyypit ja tyyli (‘Type designs and style’). November 2015

Typografian käsikirja (‘Handbook of Typography’) 2003. 4th Ed. 2012

The Unknown Finnish Type Designs 1920–1985. Doctoral dissertation, 2012

Typoteesejä. Tarkan typografian opas. (‘A precise guide to typography’) 1999

Articles from the field of typography and graphic design 1990–

Awards and special achievements
State Award for Public Information (as a member of a working group) 2009

10 honorary diplomas from the Vuoden kirjavaliot (‘Books of the year’) competition (now The Most Beautiful Book of the Year competition)

The Finnish Centre for Easy to Read’s Sesame Prize 2005, for the design of a an easy-to-read art book

Photo: Pertti Salonen
Written by Markus Itkonen (Kaija Hartikainen, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

A humanist letter and typeface

Today, there must be at least 200,000 different typefaces in the world. If I had to choose, from all of them, one single letter to represent both elegant and practical design, or as a sample to an alien civilization, I would nominate the lowercase a of Gill Sans. It was designed in 1927 by the English typeface designer and sculptor Eric Gill. Gill Sans is a humanist typeface because its forms in part resemble those produced by the human hand and the traditional broad-nib pen: the width of the line varies according to the angle the hand and (imaginary) nib would have assumed if the letter had been drawn or written in one go. Yet when the typeface came out it was quite modern. Even today Gill Sans is regularly listed as one of the ten best typefaces in the world.

The letter a of Gill Sans.


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