INTERVIEW

Naar aanleiding van mijn werk op Behance, werd ik begin juli benaderd door een journalist van The New York Times (zegt hij) voor een interview op Artfulclub.com. Die kan je hier bekijken. Hieronder heb ik het interview geplaatst zonder plaatjes (maar mét website links). Dat leest wat prettiger.

 

– What was the first typeface you fell in love with?

Hard to say; there are so many of them. I’ve been doing graphic design for over 20 years now, including my time as a graphic arts student. It might have been Franklin Gothic back then, but I’m gonna go for Liza by Underware. A beautiful script. I’ve always liked Liza, but after Bas Jacobs showed the process of the design (I believe it took 9 years) and the amazing interaction between the characters, I fell in love with Liza. It was like getting to know someone better. Note that my (Shortlife) logo is set in Liza. And once I wrote a (bad) Valentype for Liza.

– What are some of your proudest projects ever?

I guess the stuff that’s on my website and Behance. But I’ll quickly mention a few. Family first, so I’ll start with the birth announcement of our youngest son on which his brother has a star role on the cover. The new event we’ve done, called MAD Fest (MAD stands for music, art & design). I recently surprised myself on some lettering I did of a Joan Jett quote, which I just added to Behance. Since february or march this year I started working with two great professionals (photographer and copywriter) on a project called ’Het Verborgen Ambacht’ (The Hidden Craft, www.hetverborgenambacht.nl) where we collect stories of people in our region who exercise an extraordinary but often forgotten craft. It’s a fun side project I’m really proud of. And I really like my anniversary booklet in which I’ve put so much work. It celebrates my first year as an entrepreneur, so it means a lot to me. I gave them to my clients, family & freinds as a ’thank you’. I’ve still got some left if somebody’s interested. And I’m really satisfied with some of the latest identities and posters I’ve done.

But to be honest, I feel as though there still better things to come. I try to make everything I work on to be something I can put straight onto my website, if you know what I mean. Or Behance for that matter.

– What do you think of Apple and their approach to design in general? How does their industrial and web design compare to typeface design?

I can’t nor couldn’t work without Apple. It’s one of the tools a designer uses. It’s been that way ever since I decided to become a graphic designer. And lucky me, ’cause I get to work on their great and good looking devices that keep getting better (and hardly ever crash).

– Can you briefly describe what the current process is like for you to create a new typeface and where do you get your inspiration from?

It depends on what the client is looking for and what’s best appropriate for their company or product. The typeface you’re using must reflect the right feeling about whatever it is you’re designing. Then there’s readability, shapes, sizes and so on. So every time it’s a new quest for that right one (or more), either I’m sketching, flipping through my extensive font collection or going through MyFonts.com

But as far as my lettering goes; I’ll keep sketching different ideas, different styles till I’m onto something. Sometimes it comes quick, sometimes I have to work hard. But I’ll keep going till I’m satisfied. After that I’ll scan the best one or two drawings and either trace them in Illustrator or use the (rough) Photoshop file. And even than I’ll keep working on the details.

I get my inspiration from anything anywhere; blogs, google, instagram, books, the street, shops… But mostly from designers I admire. It’s the same when you’re a musician or a football player; you try and be as good as your idols, but as you do you can only develop your own significant style.

– What was one of the most challenging typography problems you have ever had to solve?

First of all: I don’t consider them being a problem, because I love typography so much and have been doing this for quite a respectful time. I just see them as challenges. Recently I tried to find a distinctive typeface for a logo that had to represent both something chic and shabby, which was about fashion and food. And it also had to fit the person behind it (someone I just met). After a long search and many sketches, in the end it turned out to be something simple. That’s one of the fun moments of the process; when something tough can be solved with something simple. (Not to be mistaken by: something easy)

– Where are some of the areas where typography is improving and where do we ned to see more growth?

Good question. Things keep evolving and improving (or not) at a ridiculous speed nowadays. I love people who stick to their game no matter what. But you’ll always have bad design around whether it is graphic or industrial. Most of us designers are no geniuses, you know. But I sure hope everyone’s doing the best they can and making an effort with every job they take on. But even so, there will always be bad design around. Which is good. It’s great actually! It makes my work stand out. Clients can see the difference and appreciate the work of a professional. Appreciate the time, energy, efforts and expertise. And love, if you will.

– How do you view the state of typefaces in the mobile world?

I think it’s great! Don’t forget; a few years ago we didn’t have the abilities, the quality and variety you see (and are able to use) today.

– Taking into account small sizes, aliasing and browser font rendering machines, which fonts do you thin should be used for body text on the web?

Oh, I don’t know; Sentinel, Gotham, Dolly, Quadraat, Transat

– What's the most overrated font in the world? 

A lame answer: Comic Sans. But wouldn’t it be a nice challenge though to design something where Comic Sans makes perfect sense, where it actually makes the design and the font look very cool? Who’s in? At the primary school of our son they use it for their news letters. It’s dreadful, but it’s good to see and know there’s a world out there where a lot of people haven’t got a clue what typography is or what a typeface can do. They haven’t got a clue what designers do and some really don’t give a shit. It keeps your feet on the ground.

– Let's talk a little about the creative process and how you work, can you describe your ideal work environment?

Have to have good music (Ray LaMontagne, Springsteen, Glen Hansard, The Black Keys, Amos Lee, Ron Sexsmith, The Beatles, Sharon Jones…), a cold beer or some sweet spirits with ice, a sharpened pencil and enough paper. I work best late in the evening, when the day is done. No distractions. Kids are vast asleep, tv turned off, my wife is doing whatever she feels like and we both enjoy the music. I can go on and on during moments like that. Really loose myself. I love hours like that. But most of the time I work office hours of course, just like everyone else. Which is no problem. As long as I have fun working, the ideas keep coming and clients give me as much freedom as possible.

– Which typeface' styles do you think will be the most popular in the near future and why?

At the moment vintage typefaces are hot, so we’ll probably be moving to something of the opposite. Isn’t that what happens every time trends shift? As much as I enjoy the vintage stuff — I love old stuff — I’m also looking forward to the next thing. Getting rid of those X cross logo’s first. Enough already. (check: http://yourlogoisnothardcore.tumblr.com)