Born in 1950, in Germany, Hans-Jürgen Ellenberger began designing fonts while still at grammar school in the 1960s. These early fonts were the results of his caricatures, cartoons, and sketches. He also worked on the student newspaper before graduating from school in 1968. Study biology and chemistry at the University of Tübingen followed. He then trained as a science teacher and began teaching in 1975. He also illustrated schoolbooks.
Since the 1990s, he has been interested in computing and digital type design. It was this interest that helped him finish his Elementis font, which he first began in the 1970s. He started sketches for it, but only completed it in 1999 when software came to his rescue. Elementis subsequently won him the Type Directors Club best Type Design award in 2005. His work has also attracted other honours, including an Honourable mention in the 2003 International Type Design Contest, and a Certificate of Typographic Excellence in 2005 from the Type Directors Club.
The majority of his work is in creating handwriting or rough fonts, and they include Albafire, Albatross, Carlin Script, Colibri, Chemsymbols, Chemtools and Offix. He is also credited with the design of the Ampelfrau - the female form that graces Germany's pedestrian crossing lights.
[LC, October 2009]