Almost to the day five years ago Bruno Maag asked me in a job interview about my five year plan. Just out of university with just a few freelance type design assignments on the horizon I told him truthfully that I didn’t have a plan for the following five minutes, let alone months or years.
This seems like a good occasion to catch up with some people who graduated and started their careers in type design at the same time. Elena, Kimya, Marina, Sol and I will talk about our past five years, about our careers, where we come from, where we are now, what we wish someone had told us five years ago and when the things we learned started to fall into place.
We would like to invite you to join our webcast on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 10am (GMT). The session will be recorded and will be available online afterwards.
We hope it will be useful for students and recent graduates to hear how others coped by showing a few examples of what starting a career in this industry can look like and for them to be able to ask their most burning questions.
If you have any questions about how to get your foot into the type industry, please send them our way beforehand or post them during the live webcast.
Bianca Berning, London
I took the decision to apply for a masters in type design in a prison in Norway in 2009. Together with other students from KHiB, the art academy in Bergen, we were in the midst of a workshop with inmates. I talked to a guest lecturer, Anthony Quinn, a ceramic designer from London. He asked why, of all the places in the world, I wanted to go to *Reading* for my masters and I replied that I’ve already lived in the Netherlands, so I might as well try a new country. (Little did I know.) I’m now leading a team of engineers and designers at Dalton Maag, a London based type foundry. I’m not entirely sure how that happened.
Elena Schneider, Húsavík
Everything was just fine. I was working with some of my best friends in our own studio, doing cool graphic design for mostly good clients. But something was brewing. And I decided to go to Reading for the type design master – without really knowing what to do with it afterwards.
But things started rolling after graduation and I did my best to keep them going. I enjoyed working as an independent type designer until I had to cut back for a baby and also my boyfriend’s business. It took a little while to get back on track. But now I am collaborating with great people, creating cool typefaces and logos for really good clients!
Kimya Gandhi, Mumbai
Sometime during my bachelor studies, I took a liking to type design and letters in general. However I was not at all aware of the vast field of type design that existed beyond the walls of my Institute. To pursue this growing interest and for my love of Europe, I decided to apply for an internship with Linotype in Germany. The internship was great, as it validated my interest in type design and I met many wonderful designers that I learnt a great deal from. Linotype offered to release my project (DIN Next Devanagari), and that was exciting because I might have been the first woman (from India) to release a typeface commercially on an international platform then.
I now work with Rob (my husband) running our type foundry Mota Italic. I enjoy traveling and teaching when I’m not busy moving pixels. I believe there is great potential to change and improve the type design learning environment in India and encourage vernacular design.
After graduating I gave myself two years to decide if I wanted to be a type designer, it’s been 5 years since and I’m very happy I did.
Marina Chaccur, Den Haag
I started working in the type industry in 2004 when I spent months adjusting curves as an apprentice at Just in Type. In the same year I started attending type conferences, which in time lead me to be a board member at ATypI 2010–2016 and organize a few editions. After drawing letters and teaching for a few years, I applied to Type and Media at KABK to properly learn type design. After graduation in 2011 I moved to Brazil, but Den Haag called me back. So from my home office here I work as a freelancer and at Type Network.
Sol Matas, Berlin
I left Buenos Aires with a type design degree in my hands, having been the first person to receive that degree in my country. Until that moment, in Argentina one could find many self-taught type designers or only a few who had had the opportunity to study abroad.
I moved to Berlin. I started trying to develop typefaces in my new city, while at the same time I was still running my graphic design studio in Buenos Aires from here.
Designing typefaces won the internal battle in me, so I came back to my hometown, closed the studio and went back to Berlin to design Cyrillic, Devanagari and Latin fonts (until now I have been working mostly in commissioned Libre fonts).
Having been in Berlin for 3 years, there are still two things I miss from Buenos Aires: the unique environment of the public University and teaching.