Gerard Unger

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Gerard Unger
Gerard Unger presentation.jpg
Born (1942-01-22) 22 January 1942 (age 76)
Nationality Dutch
Education Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Known for Typographer,
Graphic designer
Awards H.N. Werkmanprijs
Maurits Enschedé prize
SOTA Typography Award
Piet Zwart Lifetime Achievement Award

Gerard Unger (born 22 January 1942, Arnhem) is a Dutch graphic and type designer.[1] He studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1963–67, and subsequently worked at Total Design, Prad and Joh. Enschedé. In 1975, he established himself as an independent developer. A long-time guest lecturer at the University of Reading, he has mentored many modern typeface designers.[2][3] He lives and works in Bussum, Netherlands.


Unger has developed many typefaces over the years, of which several specially developed for newspapers (usually typefaces with a large x-height and large inner counters), such as Swift, Gulliver, Coranto and Vesta. He also develops designs for magazines, coins, books, logos and stamps.

A large number of Unger's typefaces are available from Linotype and the Dutch Type Library; his more recent faces are also available through the foundry Type Together. He has released new work on his own website since 1995. Unger has designed typefaces for the signage systems of both the Dutch highways (ANWB-fonts) and the Amsterdam metro. His newspaper face Gulliver (1993) is familiar to millions of readers, as it is the typeface used in both USA Today and several European newspapers, including the Stuttgarter Zeitung. His typeface Coranto is the typeface for The Scotsman and the Brazilian newspaper Valor.

In addition to his work in type design, he is active in the field of education. Unger has taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie for over 30 years, and since 1994, he is a visiting professor at the University of Reading at the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication.[2] From 2006 to 2012, he has been lecturer in typography at the Department of Fine Arts of the University of Leiden.

His most important publication is Terwijl je leest (1997) (in English While You're Reading).[4] It later appeared in various languages, and in 2006 it was completely revised and reprinted. In 2004, he delivered the Tiele-lecture (of the Dr. P.A. Tiele Stichting) under the title Veranderend lezen, lezend veranderen (rough translation: Transformed Reading).[5] In September 2013, he received a PhD degree on a new typeface called Alverata, developed by him based on medieval typefaces.[6]

Typefaces designed by Unger[edit]


Unger has received various awards, including the H.N. Werkman prize (1984) the Maurits Enschedé prize (1991) and in 2009 the SOTA Typography Award.[7] In 2008 he received an honorary doctorate from the university of Hasselt, Belgium. In 2012 he was awarded the "Piet Zwart Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Association of Dutch Designers BNO.[8] In 2017 he was awarded the TDC Medal by the Type Directors Club.[9]


  • Gerard Unger, Letters, Uitgeverij De Buitenkant, Amsterdam, (1994) (ISBN 978-90-70386-69-6)
  • Gerard Unger, Veranderend lezen, lezend veranderen, Walburg Pers, Zutphen (2004) (ISBN 9057303256)
  • Gerard Unger, While You're Reading, Mark Batty Publisher, New York, (2006) (ISBN 0976224518)
  • Gerard Unger, Typography as Vehicle of Science, Uitgeverij de Buitenkant, Amsterdam (2007), (ISBN 978-90-76452-67-8), inaugural lecture at Leiden University
  • Jos A.A.M. Biemans & Gerard Unger, Eeuwenlang letters : lettervormen in de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bekking & Blitz, Amersfoort (2012)
  • Gerard Unger, Alverata : hedendaagse Europese letters met wortels in de middeleeuwen, Uitgeverij de Buitenkant, Amsterdam (2013), (ISBN 978-94-90913-40-3), academic dissertation at Leiden University
  • Gerard Unger, Theory of Type Design, NAi010 Publishers, Rotterdam, (2018) (ISBN 978-94-6208-440-7)


External links[edit]