MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2010 (#43)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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120 MacDirectory FONTLAB > THE WORLD LEADER IN FONT SOFTWARE "FontLab is the world leader in font software. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Linotype, and many others use Fontlab software to create and edit fonts." — My knowledge of FontLab was zero when I placed a call to Ted Harrison. Ted is the North American part of a partnership between himself and Yuri Yarmola, located in St. Petersburg, Russia. Their home offices and all the design work take place in Russia. Ted handles the marketing end for FontLab, which has an office in Port Angeles, Wash. MacDirectory > Ted, tell me about FontLab…. Ted Harrison > FontLab was started up by my partner Yuri Yarmola and myself way back in 1993 I think it was. Basically he does the development side of the business and I do the marketing, finance and administration stuff. He is Russian and he had developed a product way back then that was sort of the precursor of the present FontLab Studio. They wanted to sell it somewhere outside of Russia and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. So to make a long story short, he continued developing and I continued selling and we eventually became profitable after about four years. New products kept cropping up and pretty soon we had a whole line of products that do things with fonts. The original product, sort of our flagship, was our font editor that allows people to design and create new fonts and to edit existing fonts. Let's say someone may need a Yen sign in a font that doesn't have one or they may need an italic in a font that doesn't have a real italic version – or bold or other symbols in a particular font. Whatever they need to do to a font our font editor is going to pretty much do it. The product was primarily PC in the beginning and after about three or four years we expanded into the Mac. It has been Mac and PC for over a decade now. MD > My readers probably know a lot more about FontLab than I do but who is Ted Harrison? TH > Not much to say really. I sort of ran into Yuri through a mutual friend at one point. He knew that Yuri was looking a programmer looking for someone outside of Russia and he knew that I had some business credentials with a MBA and he got us together. My background is quite spotty, or checkered I might say. I started out my undergrad as an electrical engineer and then I switched my major, while getting a lot of computer programming during the engineering phase, I switched my major to biology and became a medical student. Went on to medical school, got my degree and went on to do graduate work in emergency medicine, was a specialist in emergency and critical care for twenty-five years. I went back to school – after about ten years out in the real world I went back to school and got my MBA and it was shortly after that I met Yuri and we started up FontLab. MD > So this has become your life's career. TH > Yes, this is my day job. After 25 years in emergency medicine I sort of retired from clinical practice, FontLab had gotten big enough by that time that it was giving me a satisfactory income so I didn't have to practice medicine to support myself anymore so I just sort of switched jobs – switched careers at that point. MD > Ted, what one point would you like to get over to our readers about your product? TH > We bought Fontographer Macromedia 10 years ago and we have been in the process of upgrading it and trying to get a new version out and that is finally going to happen. Either the end of … (September) or sometime in October so by the time this interview gets out there the new version of Fontographer version 5 should be hitting the streets. Macromedia hadn't done much with the product and it has been almost 14 years since it was upgraded. We know that lots and lots of people still use it and we provide tech support for it. It had gotten really old and out of compatibility. The newest version will be completely compatible with all the OS and it will have a number of new features I think people will like also. MD > Thanks, Ted. You can find FontLab at . WORDS BY LEE GRIGGS COMPANY PROFILE

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