Typography/Lettering April 22, 2016
by Lauren Festa
Happy Friday! It’s the end of the week and a week until the end of the month. For us, that means the end of Typography & Lettering Month at the ADC. Our friends at Monotype have helped us showcase our talented ADC Members who create some of the best typography and letterforms we’ve ever seen (thank you!). It’s been an exciting month for sure, and we’re forever grateful to all of our participants. For the rest of our community, be sure to keep an eye out for when your craft will be highlighted and stay tuned for things and themes to come.
Alex Trochut makes brands better through art (which is basically our M.O.) and makes any typographer want to be better (which should be your new M.O.). His secret? There isn’t one. Or any for that matter. Instead, the magic comes from making mistakes, experimenting, and finding what he calls the ‘happy accidents’. For Alex, typography is a lot like body language, a non verbal communication he uses to seek and seduce poetic visuals. Which is a good thing, because creatives and the rest of us humans are (happily) accident prone, solidifying the create-relate relationship that springs from great art. Scroll down to read our Q&A and peep Alex’s images.
A lot of people in the design community — ADC and beyond — look up to you. We want to know: Why are you so good?! More specifically, maybe you can tell us a bit of your background: professional training, the lesson that sticks and your exposure to design.
I studied in Barcelona and Berlin, and started to work as a freelancer in 2007. Four years ago I moved to Brooklyn. I like to define myself as a digital craftsman. I express myself throughout the needs of each project and try to put all my heart in it. I don’t think there are any magic secrets to success. I think hard work will always be what pushes things forward and having fun with it will always translate into good stuff. I think enjoying what you do is the best part of this job but also one of the big challenges for any creative.
What is a project you have worked on that is a favorite of yours or something of which you are most proud?
I think the best is always yet to come. Your worst enemy is your comfort. I try not to look back at my work with too much nostalgia or care because everything can be improved.
Can you take us briefly through your creative process?
I don’t like to have a system. I like to get lost in the process. Whenever possible, I like to change the methodology and try to put myself into a new “playground” where I can discover new things, looking for a happy accident in the process. That surprise and excitement always transfers into the results.
From software to soft skills, what are your must-have tools?
The more the better. Each tool and technique strengthen certain results for different parts of the process or purposes on each project. Any creative nowadays combines so many different tools in order to better personalize the results, as using only one software can dictate or limit the outcome. I think from a pencil to 3D technology, any tool is great to know in order to gain more control towards what is in your head and how can that be materialized.
Serif vs. Sans Serif: Who wins?
Isn’t it more about picking up the right suit for each occasion?
Of all of your accolades and awards, what are some of your favorite memories?
Being nominated to a Grammy for the packaging of Alagoas this past February has been definitely an unreal and very happy memory I will keep forever.
For the typographer novice, is there any advice you would give?
Follow your intuition and let your personality speak up in the process. Learn the rules so you know how to break them.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered in having made this a viable career?
Any career is a sequence of experiences that create a learning process. The biggest challenge is to keep this process alive and keep yourself ready to adapt to changes.
Sky’s the limit: what is your dream client or collaboration?
I would love to work more with brands or clients that seek to create a feeling in a poetic visual way. Rather than being very literal to specific content, as those results in the end become finite and short in interest. I’m down for any field, music, fashion, culture…
How would you describe your style?
I don’t think I have a very defined style. I’m attracted to many visual languages and I like each project to dictate its needs and looks, but I don’t look for straight forward clarity on my ideas. I aim to seduce with images and seek to create a feeling in a poetic visual way. All this inside a functional frame that works and adapts to clients needs.
How did you come to hone your talent and create this very expressive style of typography?
I guess like any other creative that loves what he does. I’m kind of addicted to see how the things that live in my head can be translated into images. Experimentation is key. Making mistakes is the best way to find something interesting and fresh. I think it all comes down to that in a way: getting lost in something you love, and letting the path define you as you walk on it.
Can you explain how typography functions on two levels? Between seeing and reading?
Letters behave non verbal communication. You get so much of a person by their body language without hearing a word. Letters work the same way without the meaning of the text.
Is there a source, book, website that you return to that you would recommend for other typographers?
I love all Doyald Young books; such a great legacy to all future letter designers. I also think Ivan Castro’s the “ABC of Lettering” is a great book for any designer that wants to learn the foundations of lettering.
Who is producing work in your orbit that you are loving right now?
So many amazing work around that fuels me everyday. These names are just the first that come to mind from a very long list. I find it impossible to remember them all.