BFA 1996, Graphic Design
What do Adidas, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bon Appétit, Entertainment Weekly, Good Housekeeping, GQ, Paramount Pictures, Target Corporation, The Hollywood Reporter, Tiffany & Co., and Time Inc. have in common? At one time or another, each has hired Tal Leming, a type designer and letterer who founded his own type foundry, Type Supply, in 2005—less than 10 years after graduating from the LSU School of Art with a BFA in graphic design.
Tal has come a long way since he designed his first font as a freshman at LSU. After graduation, he worked as a graphic designer at a local firm in Baton Rouge, until a “miscommunication” led to his first official assignment to design a typeface for House Industries. In 2001, Tal moved to Delaware to join House as a type designer and graphic designer, but said he ended up obsessing too much over the graphic design. “I couldn’t just let the graphic design be a day job, and I wasn’t doing as much type design as I wanted.” In 2005, Tal left House Industries and started his own type foundry, where he focuses on designing typefaces for himself and others. “It’s a lot of fun, and I’m lucky to be able to work with so many interesting, smart, awesome clients and colleagues.”
When he’s not designing type faces and lettering, Tal teaches a type design class at MICA. He is also known for pushing the boundaries of type technology. Tal has written OpenType feature code for his friends at House Industries, Commercial Type, and Typotheque, making fonts do things they have never done before. He and a couple of his Dutch colleagues created a universal file format for fonts, Unified Font Objects (UFO), and he coauthored the Web Open Font Format and was part of the working group that moved WOFF through the World Wide Web Consortium’s recommendation process. Their file format was combined with a proposal by Jonathan Kew of Mozilla and the result became the standard for W3C. In his almost 20-year career, Tal has played a significant, often leading, role in the current and future use and creation of type. But it hasn’t gone to his head, and he is proud of where his career started. In 2014, Tal generously donated several typefaces—Balto, Marigny, Ohm, Timonium, and Torque—to LSU’s Graphic Design Student Office.
To Tal, this generosity is quantifiable. “It’s LSU. It’s where I went to school. I’ll give them anything they need.” Read more about Tal in the February 2015 Alumni Spotlight.