Jeff Kellem

New path and ventures

I'm focused on creating a new life path and lifestyle for myself. My type design firm Slanted Hall has an occasionally updated blog.

Our motto:

Simplifying life.

A few active, key projects:

  • Typeface design and workflow tools development.
    • Plus music notation fonts.
  • Advising and mentoring.
    • Including music performer coaching.
  • Music composition and recording.
  • Vintage dance coaching, choreography, and performances.

Typeface Design

After a 20+ year hiatus, in 2012, I decided to return to typeface design. Earlier that year, I'd been working on artwork, design, and publicity for Danse Libre's big theatrical show Ghostlight Tango. All that detail work on the artwork, posters, program, and ticket design, along with seeing the quality work being done by independent type designers, reminded me how much I enjoy typeface work.

I attended TypeCon in 2012 (my trip report) right before heading to Paris and Moscow for historical dance workshops and met a great community of type designers. I immediately found myself with at least five type design projects in development (which both surprised and energized me). I submitted a quickly designed asterisk glyph for the Society of Typographic Afficionado's (@typesociety) Font Aid VI fundraiser project to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

One of my past projects was a music symbol font, using Don's Metafont (part of TeX) during its early days, along with building tools to help the process. Now that I'm back to type design, I'm looking at workflow tools again and have a few ideas to work through.

Some of the typefaces in development include:

Sample treble clefs from in-progress music notation font designs

My first typeface release in 2013 was 1403 Vintage Mono Pro, a monospace, sans-serif font inspired by the 1960s era IBM 1403 mainframe line printer. The initial focus was the A and H printer chains, but expanded from those 52 glyphs to over 1,500 glyphs to support most languages that use the Latin alphabet. Cyrillic, Greek, and Hebrew support was also added, along with Vietnamese.

In 2016, 1403 Vintage Mono Pro was expanded to 2,300+ glyphs, supporting 160+ languages. Check out the 1403 Vintage Mono Pro interactive specimen site, designed with Kenneth Ormandy.

1403 Vintage Mono Pro typeface specimen site

I talked about Resurrecting Type of the IBM 1403 on Friday, 23 August 2013, 3:25pm at TypeCon 2013 in Portland, Oregon. It's an honor to be among the speakers selected (my bio) for the 2013 conference program [here's a preview]. And here's my TypeCon 2013 Conference Trip Report.

I try to write trip reports for the type design conferences.


For a decade, I was a member of and the Publicity Director for the vintage ballroom dance performance troupe Danse Libre (@danselibre). We recreate social dances from the 1840s to 1930s in formal period attire. Dancers around the world have learned from our choreographies and performances. I'm still a regular guest performer with the Boulder/Denver, Colorado vintage dance troupe Watch Your Step! I performed several choreographies with them and taught at their 10-year anniversary show in 2018, having first danced with them 9 years, earlier. I've also guest performed, sometimes last minute, with swing dance troupe Double or Nothing and fusion dance troupe Decadance.

In 2014, I taught a 3-day Movement Education workshop for 6th to 12th grade teachers on how to social partner dance and teach the dances they learned. I wrote up a 26-page booklet of notes for them to use as lesson plans based on what was taught at the workshop, including general movement without explanation, partner connection practice, one-step, cross-step waltz, swing, and a couple mixers (Paul Jones and Charleston Madison). I'll be working with bay area teachers to expand upon that curriculum and lesson plans.

Commissioned choreographies for theatre include the Stanford Savoyards' (@Stan4dSavoyards) production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Grand Duke and Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie [show program PDF] directed by a favorite director Rebecca J. Ennals at The Pear Avenue Theatre (@PearAveTheatre). Interestingly enough, the final monologue from The Glass Menagerie was my first audition piece as an actor to be part of a creative arts program, ages ago. I also coach dance, privately.

I've studied and performed internationally, including the United States (throughout California, Colorado, Connecticut), Prague, Paris, and Moscow. Some of the dance historians I've had the honor of studying under include Richard Powers, Joan Walton, and Jan Pumpr & Jitka Bonušová through Dvorana Dance in the Czech Republic (& Paris) for vintage dance (19th & 20th centuries); Catherine Turocy (founder/director of the New York Baroque Dance Company) for Baroque; and Sandra Noll Hammond for early historical ballet. I've also studied ballet with Eric Bourman and general partner dancing with Anna Botelho.

A periodically updated list of social partner dance events I like in the Bay Area and beyond is at (@dancecircle). Some of the areas included: Asheville, NC; Eugene, OR; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Southern California; Boulder/Denver, CO; Boston, MA; Connecticut. This list includes vintage dance, waltz, swing, tango, lindy hop, blues, fusion, salsa, cha cha, contra dance, English Regency, hustle, west coast swing, balboa, etc.


I've played music nearly all of my life and am a voting member of The Recording Academy. At Boston University, I helped design and build the electronic music studio (as a supplement to the tape gear and ARP 2500 & 2600) while studying music composition and electronic music in the 1980s. My background includes piano, composition, recording/engineering, producing, tape splicing, analog synthesis, handbells, and voice (former madrigals performer) with hints of guitar, bass, and flute. At the end of 2018, I started to learn the cello.

I used to spend a lot of time in the Boston Music Scene and maintained a list of Upcoming Boston Rock [Music] Shows [no longer updated], starting in the early 1990s (the first web presence covering the Boston Music Scene).

Though I have classical and jazz background in training, one group with whom I played was the (at the time) groovy funk rock band ZONK during their first year (1999—2000) while we put together our first album, To Play Is To Win (out of print, as of 2006). Due to health issues, I left the band.

Since then, I've taken a break on performing. But I've still managed to jam with others, occasionally, created the music practice/recording studio at Tellme, and recorded a piece with other Tellme musicians for one of our annual all hands meetings. I've improvised and created music for dear friends' weddings, performed impromptu two final pieces for fellow dancers at Stanford Jammix when the power went out near the end of the night, and continue to play whatever's in my fingers. I'm planning to make time in 2019 to release new recordings, perhaps even a piece I wrote for a wedding.

I've recently started to jump in on piano with swing bands, periodically, at swing dances. It's been 25 years since I played with jazz bands. Some other projects being explored or in development include:

  • Composing new music for release in 2019.
  • Developing choreography and advising music for the new dance numbers for a musical; to be workshopped in 2019.
  • Collaborate on creating new fusion Opera music compositions.
  • Coaching musicians in performance and songwriting; music director work.
  • Designing new music notation fonts.
  • Consulting on music notation fonts for others.
  • Building new music creation space and tools.


Research Labs

I've worked in IBM's Cambridge Scientific Center and Digital Equipment Corporation's Cambridge Research Laboratory. Within organizations I've helped develop, I've tried to incorporate the culture of research, experimentation, innovation, and collaboration. Some of the projects I worked on included:

  • early security firewall technology,
  • early web relay/proxy application gateways,
  • created initial design and project for one of the first VPN products,
  • two-way active badge system using array of infrared detectors,
  • advised Network Products Group on current/future networking and security products,
  • consulted with the White House on infrastructure.
  • worked with Sports Illustrated on an early, high volume, web launch.


I helped with some organizations, still active today, in their early days and formation.


At various points, I've spent time providing high-end systems infrastructure consulting services to such organizations as Levi Strauss, Walgreens, Exodus, GeoCities, USWeb/CKS, Silicon Graphics (SGI), GNAC, among others.


Tellme is where I worked from 1999-2010. I helped create the operations team and architect the reliable production infrastructure to make Tellme work as a successful business. During the last six years of my tenure, I was part of a small research and advanced development team, creating new technology ahead of existing products. Some of my early NOC monitoring visualization designs (from 2000) are still in use today (2018), even through two company transfers.

It was literally the best company I'd ever worked for. The caliber of people, across the board—from 20+ year veterans to the young adults we hired out of college, from network/systems engineers to marketing to business development—was extremely high. We just didn't compromise on hiring.

Presentations / Talks / Conferences

A few of the talks I've been asked to give or conferences I helped organize include:

  • Steering and Program Committee member for the long-running (30+ years) Hackers Conference for about a decade.
  • Program Committee member for first USENIX Mobile & Location-Independent Computing Symposium, August 1993.
  • Presentations on firewalls, security, networking, IPv6 at DECUS in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
  • Invited talks at USENIX Technical Conference and LISA (Large Installation Systems Administration) Conferences on finding information on the net before the web and search engines,
  • 5-hour Tellme training covering entire architecture from physical through software APIs to operations management and development. To introduce new hires to our infrastructure and culture.

@composerjk Tweets

@slantedhall Tweets

Jeff with long hair Jeff with long hair. Portrait by Rachel Rausch Johnson Jeff after Danse Libre performance Jeff with short hair. Photo by Danielle La Fors Jeff Kellem headshot for TypeCon 2013. Photo (c) 2013 Danielle La Fors

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