David Johnson-Davies

David Johnson-Davies is a British computer scientist and journalist.

Early life and educationEdit

David Johnson-Davies was born in London and has three children. He studied Experimental Psychology in Cambridge, and then was a researcher at the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit. Now the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, this is a leading research centre which aims to advance the understanding of human cognition such as memory, attention, perception, language and emotion.

In 1982, Johnson-Davies wrote Practical Programs for the BBC Computer and Acorn Atom, aimed at improving the programming of both these computers.[1]

Johnson-Davies also contributed several ground-breaking articles to the BBC Micro magazine, Acorn User. In May 1986, he explored the infinite graphical potential of Benoit Mandelbrot’s mathematics in "Join the Mandelbrot Set". In July 1986, in "Back to the Roots", Johnson-Davies applied the Newton–Raphson method for finding the roots of an equation to create some stunning images that displayed fractal behaviour. In the October 1986 issue, he wrote "Spider Power" with quantum computing pioneer David Deutsch.[2]


In 1980, Johnson-Davies completed a PhD and then went on to join the computer company Acorn. Acorn had developed the BBC Microcomputer, the basis for a computer literacy project which was run by the BBC. Johnson-Davies was the founder and managing director of Acornsoft, which published computer games such as the groundbreaking Elite, computer languages and the View business software range by Mark Colton.[3][4]

In 1986, he left Acornsoft upon its reincorporation into Acorn,[5] going on to set up Human Computer Interface shortly afterwards,[6] eventually releasing a range of Macintosh-based programs to support BBC BASIC, ROM-based BBC Micro software and connectivity with BBC Micro disks and networks.[7] The company has worked for a number of high-tech clients including Hitachi Europe and Royal Mail.

He then went on to create a Macintosh-based program which helps identify clients’ typefaces. In 2000 he developed this into the Identifont Web site, which is now one of the most commonly and widely used font tools on the Internet.

David then went on to develop Fontscape (copyrighted in 2000) and Fontifier.[3]


  1. ^ Johnson-Davies, David (c. 1982). Practical programs: For the BBC computer and Acorn Atom. Wilmslow: Sigma Technical. ISBN 0905104145.
  2. ^ "Acorn User Magazine Scans". 8-bit software. Retrieved 2 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "David Johnson-Davies". Identifont. September 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "David Johnson-Davies". Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 2 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Acornsoft - back in the fold". Acorn User. April 1986. p. 15. Retrieved 27 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "News in brief". Acorn User. July 1986. p. 11. Retrieved 27 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Little Acorns from big Macs". Acorn User. June 1989. p. 7. Retrieved 1 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)