Adam Twardoch

[po polsku] | [auf Deutsch]

I do font technology, multilingual typography, variable fonts, digital text processing, Unicode and OpenType. I manage software development and provide consulting services. I live and work in Berlin and Warsaw. In 2022, I won an Emmy®.


I’m the co-manager of the FontLab team that makes professional software for type design and font development, and I’m one of the co-creators of the FontLab 7 font editor. I supervise the overall form of the products, develop product ideas, coordinate the marketing, write educational materials, give talks and keep in touch with users.

The majority of the commercial fonts in the world, including many of the fonts that are included in operating systems, were made using FontLab apps.

Typographic consulting

Since 2001, I work as a consultant in font technology, multilingual typography, font licensing and marketing. My clients include software companies like Adobe, Corel, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.

I’ve also consulted for font vendors like Monotype, Underware, Tiro Typeworks, Lettersoup, bBox Type, Porchez Typofonderie, and many others.


I co-created MyFonts, the world’s largest font e-commerce site, and was member of their team 2000–2014.

I contributed text and code to the website, developed the back-end for multilingual and non-Western fonts, and served as the support expert for “difficult” technology questions.

Type design and font development

I’m privileged to work with some of the finest type designers in the world. I advise them in technical, multilingual and marketing aspects, I provide design input, and review their work. Below is a selection of projects that I was involved with.

2020 I worked with Ania Wieluńska, Mateusz Machalski and Borys Kosmynka on Półtawski Nowy, a free digital revival of the Polish Antykwa Półtawskiego typeface

2016 I helped Underware create Zeitung Variable, the first commercially available variable OpenType font in the world

2015 I helped Łukasz Dziedzic develop his FF Eggo script font family published by FontFont

2014 I co-designed, with Botio Nikoltchev, the Milka display font family published by Lettersoup

2014 I helped Łukasz Dziedzic develop his Ringo font family published by tyPoland

2013 I worked with Jovica Veljović on the OpenType features for his Agmena font family published by Linotype

2010 I co-designed, with Łukasz Dziedzic, Lato: the most popular independently-made font family in the world (approx. 50 billion monthly and 2.5 trillion total views)

2010 I worked with Łukasz Dziedzic on the Cyrillic extensions of his FF Good font family published by FontFont

2009 I worked with Łukasz Dziedzic on the technical aspects of his FF Mach font family published by FontFont

2007 I helped Łukasz Dziedzic finalize his empik Pro corporate font family

2007 I worked with Robert Slimbach on the specimen book for his Arno Pro font family published by Adobe, and provided consulting in aspects of multilingual design

2003 I worked with Hermann Zapf on the contextual OpenType features for his Zapfino Extra LT Pro font published by Linotype

Polish diacritics

1998 Polish Diacritics how-to: This is a popular, frequently-cited resource that I authored in 1998. This tutorial teaches you how to design the letters ĄĆĘŁŃÓŚŹŻ ąćęłńóśźż. In 2021, it’s been 23 years since I wrote this guide. Some of my beliefs have changed, especially the notion that “kreska” needs to be different from “acute” — no, it can be the same. But the essence of the advice remains the same.

Further resources on Polish diacritics:

Publication design

I occasionally take on publication design projects. Typically, I act as a typographic advisor.

2012, 2020 Journal of Language Modeling: design of the PDF and web versions of a scientific journal published by the Polish Academy of Sciences

Standards and community work, innovation

2022 as a member of the MPEG/ISO Open Font Format ad-hoc working group and of the W3C WebFonts working group, I was among the recipients of the 73rd Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award for the standardization of font technology for custom downloadable fonts and typography for web and TV devices.

2020 I was elected President of GUST (the Polish TeX Users’ Group), a non-profit organization in Poland that brings together typography enthusiasts and the community behind the LaTeX and TeX typesetting software. GUST organizes the BachoTeX annual conferences.

2014 I was among the few who pioneered the OpenType Font Variations format extension that brings expressivity, flexibility, compression and motion to fonts, and I served as invited expert in the working group that developed the spec.

2013 I inspired the effort of the international font community to create the OpenType+SVG font format that allows to bring rich multi-color graphic expressivity to fonts, and I was a founding member of the W3 community group that created the first draft of the spec.

2000-2016 I was Board member of the ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale), a non-profit organization that brings together the international typographic community. ATypI holds annual conferences around the globe.

I made numerous contributions to the OpenType spec, the Unicode Standard, the CSS spec, and other technical standards.

I’ve suggested an early syntax for the CSS Fonts 3 font-feature-settings property, I’ve formulated the syntax for the CSS Fonts 4 font-variation-settings property, and I’ve proposed the font-optical-sizing property.

I regularly publish open-source stuff on Github, mostly fonts and font-related Python tools.

Speaking, teaching, education, writing

I’m a public speaker about typography and digital text. I present at conferences, teach workshops and write essays about type, typography, fonts and digital text — in English, and sometimes German.

In Poland, I teach at the Jagielloński Kurs Typografii in Kraków, I’m a regular guest at the Polish Tok FM radio, and I work with companies and institutions regarding fonts and typography. I co-edited several Polish-language typography books.

1994–2002 I studied business administration and cultural anthropology at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), at the German-Polish border. While at university, I worked as a student assistant for Prof. Dr. Karl Kurbel, chair for business informatics. In 1998, I designed and developed the university website — my design existed until 2006.

This is a small selection of my conference appearances, slides and papers made in English. Below are also some materials in Polish and German.

2020 Półtawski Nowy: digital revival of the Antykwa Półtawskiego typeface by Ania Wieluńska, Mateusz Machalski, Borys Kosmynka, Andrzej Tomaszewski and Adam Twardoch; written and edited texts for the Półtawski Nowy book that accompanied the premiere

2020 What’s new in FontLab 7.2: talk at the ATypI All Over 2020 online conference

2019 Title goes here: intro to the catalog for the exhibition of typefaces designed by people from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

2018 Digital legacies: talk at the ATypI Antwerp 2018 conference

2018 FontLab VI: Variations Includes: talk at the TYPO Labs 2018 conference

2017 Business opportunities and challenges in bringing variable OpenType fonts to the market: panel discussion with Matthew Rechs, David Berlow, Ivo Gabrowitsch and Alexandra Korolkova, moderated by Adam Twardoch, at the TYPO Labs 2017 conference

2017 Make your fonts variable: talk at the TYPO Labs 2017 conference

2016 TYPO Labs 2016 interview: interview with Thomas Phinney, Yuri Yarmola and Adam Twardoch at TYPO Labs 2016

2016 Introducing FontLab VI: talk at the ATypI Warsaw 2016 conference

2015 Typerobics #100: tutorial session for type design using FontLab Studio 5, with Fábio Duarte Martins and Adam Twardoch

2015 Typerobics: Type design exercises: tutorial session for type design using FontLab Studio 5, with Fábio Duarte Martins and Adam Twardoch

2015 How to earn money on typography?: talk in Polish (with English subtitles) at the Element Talks

2015 Basics of Python scripting in FontLab Studio 5: online talk

2014 Color fonts: the next big thing?: online talk

2012 A giant leap? Type on screen is for reading: talk at the ISType Istanbul 2012 conference

2008 Learn FontLab Fast, a simplified guide to creating fonts with FontLab, Fontographer, TypeTool and AsiaFont Studio, by Leslie Cabarga, edited by Adam Twardoch. Los Angeles, 2008.

2007 Arno Pro: interview with Robert Slimbach, published by Adobe Systems in the specimen book of the Arno Pro typeface family

2005 Zapfino Extra. The Making of the Contextual OpenType Features: slides from a talk at the TypoTechnica 2005 conference

2005 Carter: Gracias: interview with Matthew Carter in the Czech TYPO magazine

2005 FontLab Studio 5. Type designer’s delight: font editor review in the Czech TYPO magazine

2005 Typographic perfection with OpenType?: slides from my talk at the EuroTeX 2005 conference

2004 The tenderness of princes being late, The world of Central European diacritics: slides from a talk with Victor Gaultney at the ATypI Prague 2004 conference

2001 Pick(l)ed herring and strawberry ice cream essay from the ATypI/Graphis book “Language Culture Type”, and slides for the same-titled presentation at the ATypI Copenhagen 2001 conference

2001 The “ł” glyph in script typefaces: materials for short presentation, given to Hermann Zapf in Heidelberg, on April 27th/28th, 2001, also see this

2000 ATypI country delegate reports for Poland: write-up of the typographic activities in Poland at the dawn of the new millenium

2000 Typedesign.CE: article for the Visual Arts Trends website about Central European type design

Voice work

2020 I voiced Wilhelm, a rude bulky policeman in the Kafka-inspired game Metamorphosis by Ovid Works (93% positive reviews).

I’m one of the station voices at Poland’s I write and record texts not related to type. Sporadically, I make music appearances.

Concise bio

Adam Twardoch is Director of Products of FontLab. He co-created MyFonts, and has been working as a font consultant for Google, Adobe, Monotype, Corel, Underware. He specializes in font technology, multilingual typography, variable fonts, Unicode and OpenType. Adam co-designed the Lato (by Łukasz Dziedzic) and Milka (by Botio Nikoltchev) font families. He co-edited the OpenType and CSS specifications, and several typography books published in Poland. A longtime Board member of the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) and of the Polish TeX Users’ Group (GUST), Adam also lectures and regularly teaches workshops. He lives and works in Warsaw and Berlin.


If you need a photo of mine, you may use this 2018 selfie or one of these 2016 portraits by Marc Eckardt: one, two or three.

Po polsku

Adam Twardoch. Dyrektor produktów w firmie FontLab tworzącej cyfrowe narzędzia liternicze. Konsultant m. in. Google, Adobe, Monotype, Corel, Underware, współtwórca serwisu internetowego MyFonts. Zajmuje się typografią wielojęzyczną i technologią fontów. Współautor krojów pism Lato (projektu Łukasza Dziedzica) i Milka (projektu Botio Nikoltcheva). Redaktor książek o typografii wydawnictwa, współautor specyfikacji OpenType i CSS, wykładowca m. in. Jagiellońskiego Kursu Typografii. Działacz typograficzny, wieloletni członek zarządów Polskiej Grupy Użytkowników Systemu TeX (GUST) i międzynarodowej organizacji typograficznej ATypI. Mieszka i pracuje w Warszawie i Berlinie.

Wystąpienia i publikacje

2020 Półtawski Nowy: nowa cyfrowa interpretacja kroju pisma Antykwa Półtawskiego; udział w rozmowie podzas premiery i współautorstwo tekstów w książce; zespół: Ania Wieluńska, Mateusz Machalski, Borys Kosmynka, Andrzej Tomaszewski i Adam Twardoch

2020 Typoteka: premiera: udział w rozmowie panelowej podczas premiery serwisu Typoteka.PL i współautorstwo tekstów w serwisie; zespół: Ania Wieluńska, Mateusz Machalski, Michał Jarociński, Borys Kosmynka, Andrzej Tomaszewski i Adam Twardoch

2020 Jaki znak nasz?: udział w rozmowie panelowej o identyfikacji wizualnej państwa polskiego; uczestnicy: Marcin Władyka, Andrzej-Ludwik Włoszczyński, Mateusz Machalski, Adam Twardoch. Część [1] [2] [3] [4]

2019 Warszawskie kroje: udział w filmie promocyjnym Budimex Nieruchomości

2015 Jak wyżyć z robienia w literach?: referat na konferencji Element Talks 2015

2013 Cristóbal Henestrosa, Laura Meseguer, José Scaglione: Jak projektować kroje pisma. Od szkicu do ekranu, wydawnictwo, Kraków 2013: redakcja merytoryczna książki

2013 Jost Hochuli: Detal w typografii, wydawnictwo, Kraków 2013: konsultacja merytoryczna książki

2008 Czym różnią się książki ładne od paskudnych?: wykład oraz slajdy z konferencji BachoTeX 2008

2008 Technologia fontów (slajdy) oraz artykuł

2007 Robert Bringhurst: Elementarz stylu w typografii, wydawnictwo, Kraków 2007: współredakcja merytoryczna książki

2006 Pierwsze kroki w projektowaniu krojów pism: minitutorial z tworzenia fontów w programie TypeTool

1999 Sparing: Porównanie formatów Type 1 i TrueType: tekst pierwotnie opublikowany w biuletynie GUST

1999 O zgodności typografii z konstytucją: tekst opublikowany w Teleinfo nr 35/1999

1998 Zielona gruzińska katapulta: tekst pierwotnie opublikowany w biuletynie GUST poświęcony krojom Verdana, Trebuchet i Georgia

Auf Deutsch

Vorträge und Veröffentlichungen halte ich meistens auf Englisch. Unten ein paar ältere Arbeiten, u.a. aus meiner Studienzeit.

2012 Das Ding von gestern names Webfonts: Referat auf der Konferenz Webfontday 2012 in München

2002 SAP Business Intelligence: Seminararbeit an der Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), sowie dazugehörige Slides

2000 Aktuelle Multimedia-Technologien zur Gestaltung von WWW-Seiten: Artikel für die Zeitschrift „Wirtschaftsinformatik“, mit Prof. Dr. Karl Kurbel

1999 Wettbewerbspolitik und die mittel- und osteuropäischen Länder: Seminararbeit im Rahmen des Seminars „Die Osterweiterung der EU“ von PD Dr. Thomas Eger / Heiko Fritz an der Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)