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Though the formal names have over the years from Compugraphic to Agfa Typographic Systems to Agfa Monotype, Robert Givens has essentially been with the same company for more than 25 years. His tenure began in 1975, when after a few years with 3M's Printing Products division, Givens joined Compugraphic's sales department. In the mid-'80s, he moved to the Boston area to assume a role as international marketing manager. Then, in 1986, he founded the OEM type business that has grown to become a worldwide leader in fonts, font technology, and imaging solutions for major printer manufacturers, software developers, and graphic designers.
Although fonts are a critical part of the company's portfolio, his goal is not just to provide the largest selection of high-quality fonts, but also to offer a complete solution of products and services for all imaging needs.
Who's behind Agfa Monotype?
Our story goes back a number of years. Initially, the type division was formed by Don Wile in the early '70s to develop type for Compugraphic proprietary typesetting systems.
In the mid-'80s, I was international marketing manager in charge of electronic prepress products throughout the world. After PostScript was introduced, it became apparent that proprietary type would no longer be a big source of revenue for us. Don Wile came to me and asked if I would be interested in starting an OEM type group to take some of the technology that we were developing at that time and license it along with our typefaces to low-end printer manufacturers. The concept made a lot of sense, and we got started. We already had a relationship with Digital Equipment Corporation providing bitmap fonts for the DEC LN03 printer.
Compugraphic had developed a font scaling technology called Intellifont--which has since been patented--that formed the basis of the OEM business. I inherited about 5 or 6 people, and added a few, to start the business with 13 people. Through a series of fortuitous events including good timing, Hewlett-Packard contacted us in late 1986. HP had just announced that it would not embrace PostScript but would use PCL for its page description language. We started working with HP in 1987 to develop the first scalable fonts for PC printers. The Macintosh already had scalable fonts, but PC printers did not. We developed Intellifont and were fortunate enough to have eight scalable Intellifont faces bundled in the LaserJet 3 printer in 1989. That was the first milestone for our …