Andrew Footit: Absolute Passion

South African-based ADC Member finds his reward in doing what he loves


It’s a brand new week of ADC and Monotype‘s Typography & Lettering Month!  April may be cruising along at a rapid pace, but we still intend to showcase as many ADC Members who make their mark with letterforms as we can. Whether they’re designing brand new digital fonts for the world to use, or they’re creating free-flowing calligraphy to adorn a wall, these artists know that there is more to written words than just their meaning.

Many creatives in the ADC community are quite adept at hand lettering, but it is a rarer breed of artist who designs fonts to be used by others. We begin this week with a Johannesburg-based ADC Member who has found success with both. 

Andrew-Footit_pictureANDREW FOOTIT
Typographer / Designer
Johannesburg, South Africa



Where did this crazy adventure in lettering all begin?

Apart from art at school, my family are all quite creative in various different ways. There was always something being created in the house when i was growing up, especially crafty kinds of things which everyone contributed to in their own way.

What made you realize that you wanted to make a career out of this, and what convinced you it was even possible?

Typography became more of a focus for me in the last five years or so. I love branding and I think my love for typography started with creating logotypes/word marks. I started exploring typography more and more and became a little obsessed with studying letterforms and various typographic styles.

I think when you are a creative and a particular field of design fills your mind and your time and you have an absolute passion for it, you know that this is the direction your career must take.

I am a self taught designer so for me type design has been a journey oaf learning through books, magazines and browsing the internet. I think its something I will always be learning new things and experimenting with.

“…when you are a creative and a particular field of design fills your mind and your time and you have an absolute passion for it, you know that this is the direction your career must take.”

How would you best describe your style in a sentence? Do you fight against having a telltale style, or do you embrace it as your brand?

I have tried sticking to a certain style, but I feel that it can sometimes be a bit of a cage, so I am quite happy not to have one specific style. I enjoying experimenting and trying different techniques and taking that into different projects. I think designers are caught up with have one specific style these days, early in their careers but I would recommend trying out different things before. Unless you are 100% happy with going forward with that style.

Walk us through your usual creative process. How do you know when you’re “finished”?

I usually kick off with drawing out very rough layouts and ideas, then take things into design. More often than not I work in black and white and build on from there.

Sometimes type can look more beautiful when its kept clean and simple so I tend to keep copies of my progress along the way. That way I can go back to earlier versions if things start looking to fussy.

When I create a font I create it with the designer in mind constantly and I like to have a theme around that font. I’ll do research for the name, the style of letterforms i.e american, vintage, serif, and even a period in time, I’ll gather references and start drawing up the characters. I like the fonts I produce to feel like they have a specific use and to make the designers life easier it must not just be another font!.

What is your favorite ‘practical’ typeface, one for everyday use? What about more decorative typefaces?

My favourite practical everyday typeface is probably Gotham. It’s versatile, clean and simple.

When it come to decorative typefaces this is the category in which a lot of my own fonts fall under. I tend to create my of custom type if I need to use a display or decorative font. That said, any of Sudtipos Type foundry’s more decorative typefaces.

Who wins in a fight: serif or sans serif?

Sans-serifs for me, they have more “heavy” weights and more “black” belts.

“Wait, what is that you do again?” How do you explain what you do for a living to people who aren’t in creative fields? What’s the thing they can’t quite grasp about it?

This is a constant, and the explanation varies for each person. The one thing people always ask is how can you create a new font? There are so many already!

“The one thing people always ask is how can you create a new font? There are so many already!”

Tell us about your favorite project to date. What set it apart from everything else?

My favorite project to date has been my font family Hudson NY. I enjoyed creating the font, and it was a great success, reaching #1 in the Hot New Fonts and getting into the my bestsellers list during its release.

What would be your dream project/assignment/client? What’s something you’ve never had the opportunity to do thus far, but would kill for that chance?

I would love the opportunity to create a typeface for a brand like Nike, whether its for one of their sponsored sports stars or a team they sponsor. That is a dream project!

What is the most difficult thing about making a career out of what you do? How do you get around that, and what advice would give to others facing similar challenges?

To not get sucked into the trend and to create fresh type and typefaces that offer a unique set of characters. Don’t get lost in the sea of sameness!

What other creative outlets do you have? Where else do you find inspiration?

I enjoy branding and Identity design and I also really enjoy furniture and product design, although I haven’t really made furniture. It’s something that really inspires me and I suspect I will try my hand at it in the, future, maybe collaborating on some products.

Which professionals do you look up to the most in the typography/lettering world and why? Have you had any creative mentors?

There are so many typographers out there that inspire me! When it comes to typography we have some huge talent in South Africa like Jordan Metcalf, Luke Ritchie and Dani Loureiro to name a few. Others such as Luke Lucas, Sawdust UK, Ben Johnston and Like Minded Studio and Ligature Collective are always an inspiration.

My inspirations in typeface design are Ryan Martinson from Yellow design studio, Sudtipos, Font Fabric, Decade Type Foundry and Lian Types are all very inspiring type foundries/desingers

When all is said and done, what do you love most about being a typographer or letterer?

Just the chance to do something you love is very rewarding in itself. When I release a new font it’s a prospect of what that font is possibly going to be used for. Seeing it on a book cover, in a mobile app or in a magazine is rewarding.

Typography & Lettering Month takes place throughout April, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!