Monotype announces deal to acquire Fontworks – an iconic Japanese Type Foundry

Press Release

Monotype announces deal to acquire Fontworks – an iconic Japanese Type Foundry

Press Release

Monotype announces deal to acquire Fontworks – an iconic Japanese Type Foundry

Fontworks’ team, type inventory, IP, technology, and services will join global type specialist Monotype–Monotype’s first acquisition in Japan. 

Acquisition to address increasing global demand for Japanese type design and deliver multiscript typefaces to Japanese creative professionals.

WOBURN, Mass., 19th July 2023 – Type and technology specialist Monotype® has announced its planned acquisition of Tokyo-based Fontworks™, one of the most respected and best-known providers of Japanese type design, from SB Technology. The deal was also announced today by SB Technology, a listed company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The deal is scheduled to close in Q3 of 2023. 

This will be Monotype’s first acquisition in Japan. Under the terms of the deal, Fontworks’ renowned team of 73 designers, engineers, sales, and administrative professionals, along with its impressive type library and its LETS™, Mojimo™, and FONTPLUS™ services, will join the Monotype family.

Fontworks’ extensive inventory, services and team expertise will allow Monotype to address the growing demand for premium Japanese type from creatives and customers around the world, while Monotype’s multiscript and acclaimed Latin typefaces, including Helvetica Now™, Neue Frutiger™, Gotham™, FF DIN™, and Avenir Next™, will support the needs of the dynamic Japanese market.

Fontworks was established in 1993 with a focus on creating a “new culture” through type and has been recognised internationally with prestigious awards from the Tokyo Type Directors Club and International Association for Universal Design. In 2002, the foundry launched the industry’s first ever font subscription service, Leading Edge Type Solution (LETS)™, to make fonts more accessible for designers.  

Fontworks’ type design has helped shape Japanese culture for the last thirty years. Ninety-five percent of Japanese television stations use Fontworks’ fonts, and ninety-eight percent of the fonts used by Japan’s top 10 video game makers are from the Fontworks’ inventory.  

Fontworks’ inventory includes ‘new-classic’ Japanese typefaces such as Tsukushi™—a family of Japanese typefaces that began with Mincho (the Japanese equivalent of Serif) in the early 2000s—comprising serif, sans serif, handwritten and display fonts. Fontworks also distributes high-quality typefaces from foundries across Asia, including Iwata, Motoya, Yoon, and Founder, through LETS.  

Fontworks’ impressive inventory of 260 font styles will become part of the Monotype library, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections of font styles, where it will join thousands of timeless classics, hand-crafted revivals, and original designs from many of the most innovative type designers and foundries in history.  

Akira Kobayashi, 2022 Type Directors Club Medal winner and Creative Type Director at Monotype, said, “We are delighted to announce that Fontworks, one of Japan’s most prestigious type foundries, has joined the Monotype family. I’ve collaborated with Shigenobu Fujita and the Fontworks team for many years, so I know first-hand the depth of expertise and industry insight this partnership will bring to Monotype. Fontworks-designed typefaces have a special place in Japanese culture and we look forward to bringing Fontworks’ type excellence to even more creative professionals in Japan and beyond.”   

Ai Harada, CEO of Fontworks, said, “This acquisition marks an exciting new chapter for Fontworks, thirty years since the type studio was founded. Monotype has an unparalleled reputation as a global provider of quality type solutions, and we are excited to join a team who, like us, wake up every day thinking about type. As part of the Monotype family, Fontworks will be able to better support Japanese customers and ensure Fontworks’ type designs reach new audiences internationally. The international market for Japanese type is growing rapidly – together, Monotype and Fontworks will help accelerate it further.” 

Shinichi Ata, President & CEO of SB Technology Corporation, said “Fontworks is an outstanding, successful company and the team comprises a talented group of professionals. We are pleased that Fontworks will join the Monotype family—a company that truly understands and values typography, technology, and its people.  I know Monotype and Fontworks will continue to innovate, create and champion Japanese typography in Japan and across the globe to support current and future customers.”

Ninan Chacko, CEO at Monotype, said, “I’m delighted that Monotype’s first ever acquisition in Japan is Fontworks—a type studio that’s synonymous with premium Japanese type design and innovation. We live in an increasingly interconnected world where culture and commerce reach seamlessly across borders—so it’s essential that brands and creatives have access to truly global type solutions. We’re going to put Fontworks’ typefaces in the hands of even more creative professionals around the world and bring Monotype’s multiscript and Latin typeface library to Japanese creatives. Under our stewardship, Fontworks’ type designs will be continually updated to reflect the latest advances in type technology—an essential part of our mission to ensure type remains at the heart of creative culture across the world.”  


About Monotype

Monotype creates brands that matter with type, technology, and expertise. The company partners with leading foundries to deliver the broadest inventory of high-quality typefaces in the world for our customers. Monotype Fonts combines the world’s largest collection of award-winning type, the expertise of the most sought-after foundries and type designers and trusted and secure font management—all under a single agreement. 
Further information is available here .  
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Monotype®, Helvetica®, Frutiger®, Helvetica Now™, and Neue Frutiger™ are trademarks of Monotype Imaging Inc. and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain other jurisdictions. Avenir Next™, DIN®, and FF DIN™ are trademarks of Monotype GmbH and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain other jurisdictions. Gotham® is a trademark of The Hoefler Type Foundry, Inc. and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain other jurisdictions.

About Fontworks 

Fontworks maximizes the power of letters and, under the corporate philosophy of “Freedom with letters, more and more,” provides font functions and services suited to the times and environment. In 2002, Fontworks launched LETS (Leading Edge Type Solution), the industry’s first annual subscription-based font service in Japan, to make fonts more accessible and useful. Fontworks has contributed to shortening the distance between people around the world, between people and information, and between people and their creations. 
Further information available here.
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About SB Technology

SB Technology has been at the core of the ICT services business within the SoftBank Group, under the management philosophy of “bringing happiness to people through the information revolution and creating the future with the power of technology”. SB Technology continue to challenge themselves in creating new value-added services with the power of technology. They provide cloud and security-based ICT services mainly to corporations and governmental agencies and utilize these technologies to promote the digital transformation and new business creation of their client companies.  
Further information is available here

Press Contacts 

Charlotte Simcock 
Corporate Communications & PR for Monotype - Global 
[email protected] 
Shoko Sugita 
PR for Monotype - Japan 
[email protected]  

Alice Broughton 
PR for Monotype - USA + UK  
[email protected] 

Harry Green  
ThoughtLDR for Monotype - France  
[email protected]  
Tanja Koschade   
Koschade PR for Monotype - Germany   
[email protected]