Soundtracks & comfort zones — Talking with Luisa Baeta

It has been about 20 months since the last interview in this series was published. Since then, many things have happened & a lot has changed. Returning to this format is incredibly comforting to me. The familiar structure, the visual glimpse into one woman’s life, the personal questions that get such honest replies.

Luisa is a person you want to both hear and read. You don’t want to miss a word, since they are all clear and make you think. Walking with her on the streets of Thessaloniki some years ago, I was lucky to find a friend so soon after meeting in person for the first time. The ease and sincerity of her thoughts are very much apparent in this interview. I urge you to find few quiet moments to read, drink something relaxing (hot chocolate? something stronger perhaps?) and let it sink in slowly, along with this interview.

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Expanding on Infini, with Sandrine Nugue

Sometimes, parts of what you write for a specific article gets left on the editing room floor. Those bits might be the most interesting parts, that simply don’t necessarily fit perfectly into the story. Sometimes it’s the predefined word count which is forcing one to leave it out. But the interest stays, and the will to dive deeper into the thoughts and process behind one typeface does not leave. This is the story of Sandrine Nugue’s Infini, a typeface she designed after winning a commission from CNAP (National Center of Visual Arts) in France, and is available for free, to everyone.

I followed up with Sandrine and asked more questions, based on her original replies. This typeface is so nicely explained, with the process shared and great images, that I encourage every reader to take a quick journey into a typeface that is both here and there, present and past, serious and lively.

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Letters in Letters
A chat with Carolyn Porter

If you have been following my interview series here on the blog, you might already know that there is a well-defined structure for those conversations. Today, I want to share an interview done in a different way. It will be quicker, a bit more friendly and not any less personal. Carolyn recently published a typeface and a book, and those two were good enough reasons to sit down and enjoy a virtual conversation about the process.

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“Tu castigo será verme feliz” — Talking with Carga Máxima

An interview with Azucena del Carmen Cabezas León from the Carga Máxima studio at ATypI São Paulo, October 2015


We interviewed Azucena León during the ATypI conference in São Paulo in October 2015, when the Alphabettes blog was barely in its first weeks of life. Azucena and her partner, Alinder Espada, had a stall in the conference market place, where she was composing and selling lettering posters. What immediately caught our attention was the bold, fluorescent and immediate hand lettering, with strong messages distilled from the Peruvian version of Cumbia, the popular music of Colombia. The messages combined references to music, ‘la novela’ (soap opera), but mostly, a sense of pure drama: tu castigo será verme feliz [your punishment will be seeing me happy], el buen amante nunca se enamora [the good lover never falls in love], no se gana pero se goza [you can’t win, but enjoy it anyway], está prohibido estar triste [sadness is not allowed], se sufre pero se aprende [you suffer but you learn] and so on. It was not easy to find a free slot during her busy day, as every ATypI attendee wanted one of her posters. Continue reading

Rush & Flow — Talking with Marina Chaccur

Nina, continuing the Den Haag theme (well, not anymore!) chose Marina to be our next interviewee. Honestly, one of the emails with five chosen questions I sent to Marina started with (quote:) “I want to be your friend!” I didn’t even care what she will think of me, proposing friendship out of the blue. In case you are wondering why I am sharing this with you, just read on and you will probably tell her this as well.

She is full of energy. This energy is present in every line Marina wrote, makes it feel like she is talking to us, telling some of the “behind the scenes” stories. She was so engaged in writing the most whole answers, no ego or vanity involved.
Now, I am not sure what I should advise you to drink while reading the interview. As you will see few lines down, Marina offers some flavorful choices. Either way, I know you will enjoy what she has to say.

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Lifelines & Bright Lights — Talking With Nina Stössinger

In our last interview, Sol chose Nina Stössinger to be the next interviewee. The research and work that is done in the background for this series is truly joyful. But, it’s impossible to compress ​everything I have learned about each interviewee into five questions. I am trying to show a glimpse of the many things each inspiring lady is doing and thinking, and in Nina’s case it was a huge challenge.

The timing of publishing this works perfectly with the week’s events, and Nina herself fits well into conference discussions and talks. When I first met Nina, it was a one-way meeting. I was watching her give a talk at Ampersand conference, and despite the disappointing gender ratio of speakers, I was thrilled to hear another great female speaker. I had much to ask, and her precise answers will surely leave you wanting to read more. So get yourself a sweet or savory treat, preferably of a kind that you can refill your bowl with, and read on:
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Swapping 950 times— Talking with Sol Kawage

After a month filled with inspiring posts written by many of the ’bettes, it’s time to mark Women’s International Day with a new interview. Although I think the fact that there is a Women’s day shows that we are far from reaching equality, I will still use this date as an excuse to celebrate Alphabettes and the connections that we are able to make here. Our next interviewee will touch a bit on gender roles and sewing, which I find perfect for today.

In the last interview, Shelley nominated Sol Kawage. I didn’t know Sol, perhaps because we missed each other by a year at Reading, but I was so happy to get to know her through this interview. I am sure that you will feel the same, so sit back (with a nice glass of wine and cheese!) and enjoy this read.

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Sparks & Seeds — Talking with Shelley Gruendler

Fourth interview, wow! It is now starting to feel like a series, and with each one it is becoming more wonderful to read about these inspiring ladies. Although I am not the one choosing the interviewees (except for the first time), I am loving the choices that go around the globe and around different typography-based occupations. 

This time, Mariko chose Shelley Gruendler. I was waiting for this to happen and I knew it would at some point — I have been wanting to ask Shelley many questions for a long time. So here we are, approaching the end of 2015 and this seems like the perfect time to grab your guilty pleasure, may it be a sweetened drink or a heavy slice of cake and enjoy Shelley’s thoughts, being written so openly:

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In-Between — Talking with Mariko Takagi

For this third interview in the series, Sol chose Mariko Takagi (see here the concept and first interview with Alice). The idea of Alphabettes all around the world was a part of Sol’s reason to want Mariko to be interviewed, “visiting” different continents.

I met Mariko when she was giving a talk in AtypI, and I was fascinated by her ‘Hanzi Graphy’ exhibition. Her research in fields unknown to me made choosing questions for her to be quite easy. For this interview about research, symbols and identity, I suggest to make yourself a cup of green tea (preferably with ginger), read on and enjoy the Autumn/Winter crawling in (depends on where your located, could also be summertime!)

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Orchard of Typefaces — Talking With Sol Matas

For the second interview in our series, Alice chose Sol Matas to be interviewed. (Beware, personal comment ahead) I was instantly happy – my husband is Argentinian, like Sol, and I have heard so much about Buenos Aires (and can even recommend where to eat without yet being there!) that I was super excited to hear what Sol had to say. 

This interview is posted right before ATypI São Paulo, as a small tribute to the type scene in Latin America. So get yourself a nice plate of Argentinian Alfajores or German baked goods, or better yet – both, and enjoy Sol’s thoughts about two places, about type, and life. 

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