David Quay was born in London, England, and studied graphic design at the Ravensbourne College of Art & Design. After graduation he worked in various London design studios until he became a freelance designer in 1975, specialising in lettering, logotype and graphic design.
In 1987 he formed David Quay Design in London. Clients included Monotype, H. Berthold AG, and the International Typeface Corporation (ITC). In 1990 he co-founded The Foundry with Freda Sack and Mike Daines, to design, manufacture, and market PostScript fonts.