Briem®Times. A letter to the editor


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   To the editor
From editor

To Mr James MacManus
Managing Editor, The Times

On 25 November 1991, the editor of the Times, Simon Jenkins, wrote a front-page article about a family of typefaces that I had created for the paper. It contains two errors that I’d like you to correct.

The article says Aurobind Patel designed the type, directing a team of helpers. It goes on to say ‘Mr Patel’s work is no less that of an artist for being the product of a team of workers stooping over Apple Mac computers, “mouse” in hand.’

The first error is the ‘team of workers’. There was no team: I worked alone. Type design plays with repetition of a few forms. It would be difficult for one designer to make the letter b and another the d. The curves of the two would probably swell from thin to thick at a different rate. Most of the characters come about in an orderly progression. Once you have the letter n, the h follows and, with small changes, the letters u and m. For me, dividing the work would have been more trouble than doing it myself.

The second error is about direction. Mr Patel didn’t guide my efforts. I usually sent him the results of my work once a week. If he had suggested alterations, the disks that came later would contain revised characters. There aren’t any.

Perhaps I should have written sooner. I was in America, and didn’t see the article for months. And on 16 November 1992, The Times and Mr Patel jointly brought a case against me in the High Court over the ownership of the design. He was a plaintiff, I may add, only for the first six months. On 8 July 1993, the case was amended, making him a defendant. I suspect facts that weren’t available to Mr Jenkins had come to light.

The lawsuit was withdrawn a year ago. The costs are the only loose ends remaining. Now that we’re no longer opponents, I don’t think it unreasonable of me to ask you to set the record straight.

All the best.

Next page: a reply from the editor.