Jens Gehlhaar's love of typography began early, when as a child his father gave him a Letraset catalogue. He subsequently studied Visual Communication at the Fachhochschule Niederrhein. For his thesis, he designed two typefaces, Westpark and Blindfish. After six years running his own print design studio in Germany, he moved to America to study graphic design at the California Institute of Arts. As part of his studies, he explored sans-serif Roman letter forms. He graduated in 1997 with a Master of Fine Art.
He spent the next three years as a freelance art director, graphic and type designer, working for companies like ReVerb, Dreamworks, and ESPN. His most important projects include the design of a launch print campaign for Microsoft's Windows 98 and graphics for ESPN X Games. He also created exclusive typefaces for the Steve Spielberg movie, Minority Report.
Between 1998 and 2001 he taught typography, type design and motion typography at the California Institute of Art and at the Art Center College of Design. He then joined Brand New School, a US production company, as creative director. For Brand New School, he co-directed commercials for the likes of Microsoft, Volkswagen, Apple, and Budweiser. He created a typeface specifically for Brand New School - Brand New Sans. Although he has won acclaim for his work - including a Sports Emmy, ADC Gold Medal and an award from the Type Directors Company - he claims that many of his typefaces remain unpublished, and that they aren't popular either.
[LC, December 2009]