My love for Type Design is growing… fast!

I have always been a big fan of letterforms but kept my attention for a long time on lettering, which seemed more natural to me. The non systemic way to work with letters was ideal and gave me the opportunity to express myself. At different times, I tried to get interested in designing fonts but found it really frustrating and not really fun.

But this evolved during the last years. It started with the Adobe Stock project Malamaloo I made with friends and where I had to create a logo but also a font, Maui. When I look at it right now, I find many mistakes and problems to it ^^.

Logo pour Malamaloo
Logo sketch for Malamaloo
Maui Alphabet

But it was a great experience, my first experience with Type Design and also with the fantastic Illustrator plugin Fontself. I really think Fontself helped me liking making fonts where more classic type design software were too intimidating. And to come back to Maui, I plan, of course, to work again on it!

I continued to increase that interest by taking a type design course at the local university, here in Basel. In that course, tought by Matthias Pauwels, I learned the basics, but also discovered a new software, Glyphs. I started working on a black serif font, Merica, which is still a work in progress. I found Glyphs easy to manage but I was too used to work with the Illustrator Pen Tool, so I took me some weeks to get used to Glyphs. That semester was fantastic and if I would have had the money and the time, I would have taken it again, for a second semester and continued to work on Merica.

Merica Work In Progress, spacing and kerning not setup yet.

Then, I started to work with colors and had the idea to create a color font. That was also the time where we were discussing with Fontself on how we could work together. So I decided to create a color font out of my mid century experiments, and to use Fontself for it. That is how Farandole is born. I made a kind of case study for Fontself and the experience was fantastic. Making Farandole, I realized how it could be fun to create a fun font. Really. Creating words with letters you shaped individually was crazy. I could not stop writing words or sentences. The spacing and kerning part of Fontself is so well organizing, that even that part, which is not always easy, was totally fun!

Use of Farandole Regular
Farandole came out this last november. Since september, and after having read Making Fonts of Ulrike Rausch and Chris Campe, two friends from Berlin Letters, I realize that Opentype could be really interesting to use and bring my ideas to life. I discovered the .init and .fina features, which allow you to create special characters for the first and/or the last letter of a word. I had in mind that idea of a kufic font, with a frame around it. And these features could help me to do it.
Work In Progress Basalte font

I then switched back to Glyphs, who has these features and started creating Basalte. It is still work in progress, but I should say 90% done. I am still a bit confused with the Pen Tool of Glyphs but it’s getting better. Parallel to Basalte, I started a new color font, project name right now is Squarish, and this time I decided to not use Fontself as I did for Farandole but Glyphs, to try and see its capabilities in managing color fonts. And it is here totally different because Glyphs works with layers. So each color is a layer and a font style. I will write a blogpost about the differences between Fontself and Glyphs about managing color fonts. But working with layers allows the user to change colors the way he wants. But it is more complex to implement I think.

Early sketches of Squarish project

I also started another project, based on my love for Othmar Motter, Wes Wilson and psychedelic letterforms. The project has no name right now and I only have designed 4 letters. But I am in love already. I have so much fun designing it.

I am not sure how different from lettering it is. There is a lot of repetitive work, spacing and kerning can be really annoying, finding matching letterforms for all letters too. But overall, I like type design and lettering for different reasons. They both give me a different approach to designing letters and having fun. Also, I think I needed a break from lettering. Type Design gave me the opportunity to keep loving designing letters. After my 100 days challenge on Instagram, I had a kind of depressing period regarding to my craft. I was not sure where I was going with doing only lettering. Now I know better and I want to develop more opportunities between Lettering and Type Design. Also, I see now more of Lettering as a service and type design as a product. I want to sell my product, and then mix active and passive income.

I will try to give you news about this evolving situation. I really don’t know where it is going yet, but that is for sure exciting!!

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