Nevertheless, a type designer should, at least to some extent, think about the driving forces behind creating new fonts. Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons is a personal interest in letterforms and the desire to experiment with them. Taking the letterforms to the extreme and back and seeking new shapes can even become an obsession. This kind of drive already flourished in the Czech Republic after 1918, when the country became independent and new opportunities became available. New publications, book designs, and graphic arts boomed under the umbrella of nationalism and the quest for Czech visual expression. Increasing confidence and the search for national identity enhanced the evolution of the Czech book craft along with type design. A small group of artists endeavoured to address the present deficiencies and to establish a sovereign Czech style. Names like Vojtěch Preissig, Karel Svolinský, Karel Dyrynk, Jaroslva Benda, and later Oldřich Menhart come to mind. They recognised the demand for typefaces to be able to highlight the intrinsic peculiarities of Czech handwriting. A large part of their endeavour was to create balanced diacritics, so crucial for the Czech language.
A similar motivation can be ascribed to the wave of typefaces created after 1990 in the “new” Czech Republic. Not only was there a need to express the freshly gained freedom from the political regime and its visual uniformity, but it also provided tools for the digital era, after photo composition had quickly become obsolete. The majority of the fonts from this era are no longer used — but this is irrelevant since they influenced the visual environment and helped to create a distinctly different visual culture from the previous years.
New technologies, such as the introduction of personal computing, and the resulting radical change of graphic design and type-making, are good reasons to develop new typefaces. In the case of Eastern Europe, language specific requirements also came into play. In the early 1990s barely any digital typefaces included well-crafted accents. Global markets and necessary language support, together with technological developments, are now more than ever a driving force behind the creation of new fonts. We have high-resolution screens, tablets, e-book readers and many other mobile devices that pose new demands on typefaces. Publications tend to exist in both printed and digital format simultaneously, with portable devices demanding flexible layouts and brand coherence. Here the typeface has to perform well on all the different rendering devices without difficulty or adjustment. The best way to ensure this is to create a bespoke typeface. It is, along with the company’s logotype and colours, a crucial component of the corporate identity. The typeface communicates with the customer on a subtle but important level by conveying the company’s core message and enhancing its recognisability.
There are several reasons for the growing demand of tailor-made typefaces: they share the same language as the rest of the visual program of a company; guarantee the process of exchanging information both internally and externally; and allow for the company’s expansion with no extra licensing charges. In global markets with their broad diversifications of media, having a distinct typeface can be invaluable. This practice, so common in places like the United States and the United Kingdom, has found its footing in the Czech Republic as well, albeit with some delay and a greater need to convince potential clients. There are good examples in the Czech Republic though, and the creativity of Czech designers and students is still growing and flourishing. Indeed, the growth of independent foundries globally as well as the mid-sized firms is a good indicator for the increased appreciation as well as the need for good typography.