Akira Kobayashi studied at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, he began his career as a type designer at Sha-Ken Co., Ltd., a phototypesetter manufacturer, in 1983. In 1989 he left Sha-Ken to study calligraphy and typography in London. On his return to Japan in 1990, he entered Jiyu-Kobo, Ltd. and was involved in designing and digitizing the Japanese fonts Hiragino Mincho and Hiragino Gothic. From 1993 to 1997 he worked for TypeBank Co., Ltd., where he designed Latin alphabets to accompany the foundry’s digital Japanese fonts. From 1997 to 2001 he was a freelance type designer and during this period won numerous international awards for his original typefaces. After completing the design of Latin alphabets to accompany Type Project’s Axis Japanese fonts in 2000, he moved to Germany in 2001 to assume his current position at Monotype, formerly Linotype. As type director he controls the aesthetic quality of in-house typefaces, and has been collaborating with the two preeminent designers Adrian Frutiger and Hermann Zapf to modernize their earlier type designs, creating digital interpretations of classic typeface families for renovation, and designing corporate custom typefaces, besides making his own types. He is a frequent speaker at international type conferences and workshops in Europe, Americas and Asia, and serves as a jury member in prestigious international typeface design competitions.