Barnbrook originally called this typeface Manson (after American serial killer Charles Manson) “to express extreme opposite emotions—love and hate, beauty and ugliness,” he has said. Its distributor, Emigre, Inc., suggested the name be changed to Mason, as the letterforms also evoke stonecutters’ work, Freemasons’ symbology, and pagan iconography. In its design, Barnbrook said, he was influenced by nineteenth-century Russian letterforms, Greek architecture, and Renaissance bibles; the font also displays many references to popular culture, politics, and typographic history. Mason’s postmodern attitude is undeniable and like Neville Brody’s Blur (also in the collection), Mason emerged during the explosion of digital typefaces in the early 1990s, both products of the technological and cultural influences of the time.
Gallery label from Standard Deviations, 2011.