Typography/Lettering January 21, 2015
How do you all like ADC and Monotype’s Typography Month so far? From the sounds of things on social media, you’re enjoying the heck out of this 2015 kick-off. But don’t thank us, thank the many contributors from all over the ADC community!
Just like last year’s Photography Month and Illustration Month, ADC Typography Month features a daily Typography Spotlight, highlighting ADC Members and Young Guns who love working with words and letters. Some of the names are already famous within the design community, while others will be new for you to discover, but all of them are card-carrying ADC Members from around the world.
Our next artist in the Typography Spotlight is based across the pond in the United Kingdom — not in the huge design scene of London but rather in the small city of Barnsley, Yorkshire. Nevertheless, he’s creating big things in his corner of England, and has even worked on a number of projects for ADC itself.
Where did your interest in typography begin? It’s generally not something kids in kindergarten aspire to be. When did you discover that you could actually make a living out of it?
I’ve always found it quite interesting looking back at any visual representation of language – using a mixture of basic shapes to communicate is quite fascinating really. But in terms of professionally, the last few years are when i’ve taken a real interest in type and lettering.
How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?
Everything i know, from the type work, to the branding and digital work we undertake at DMSQD is self taught. When i tackled two award nominated pieces of furniture i had no education and in all honesty, any clue in what i was doing. But you fall back to your gut feeling and instinct, which really, is the core of your creativity.
How would you best describe your style? How did you foster that style? Do you tend to lean towards one type of lettering?
I’ve deliberately stayed away from having a set style, purely because i like the varied approach and experimentation.
“Some people just ‘don’t get’ art and creativity. With lettering, you can communicate creatively to any audience”
Walk us through your usual type design process.
Everything starts on paper, purely because some projects we will build and photograph, some will be hand drawn and some will be completely digital, starting out on paper allows us to plan out what the best approach will be.
What is your favorite ‘practical’ font, one for everyday use?
Avenir. It always seems to sit well with everything and is very easy to read both on and offline.
Do you have a favorite letter of the alphabet when it comes to experimenting with design?
Ampersands are my favourite to experiment with, as there’s so much variation in the shape and structure you can do with it.
Who wins in a fight: serif or sans serif?
Serif – they have more sharp bits.
The obvious difference between an illustrator and a letterer or typographer is that the latter works mainly with words and letters. Name a not-so-obvious difference between the artforms, one that certainly applies to you.
I think particularly with typography, there has to be a solid base and structure to start from, given that the alphabet doesn’t change. This for many projects, means starting from a very similar point, only to end in completely different result.
What other artistic passions do you have? Where else do you find inspiration?
I love to experiment with photography, and mix that in with my work. In terms of inspiration, it’s cliche, but it really is everywhere.
Which professionals do you look up to the most in the typography/lettering world?
Louise FIli, Rob Clarke & Steven Bonner to name a few, the list is endless really; there’s a lot of great talent out there.
What is the most challenging thing about your career?
Because a lot of our work is quite experimental, figuring out how to bring an idea to life is always the most difficult part, as there’s no tutorial to follow as such.
At the end of the day, what do you love most about being a typographer or letterer?
Some people just ‘don’t get’ art and creativity. With lettering, you can communicate creatively to any audience as it’s very relatable.