Mason began life an as exploration of European architectural history. It draws upon a rich multitude of influences, from the gardens of the palace of Versailles, through Grecian temple porticos, Renaissance bibles and gothic church windows. The typeface also displays many references to popular culture, politics and typographic history.
The naming of Mason has a somewhat controversial history. It was originally named Manson, after the serial killer Charles Manson, to express extreme opposite emotions — love and hate, beauty and ugliness. However, after some complaints and a suggestion from distributors Emigre, the name was changed to Mason as the letterforms also evoke stonecutters’ work, Freemasons’ symbology, and pagan iconography.
In 2011 Mason Sans was one of 23 digital typefaces included in the permanent architecture and design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has become one of our most recognisable and widely used typefaces, including by such companies as the BBC and Walt Disney.