Last month I had the honor of creating the graphics for Designing without Borders, a three-part lecture series hosted by AIGA NY and the TDC. The design process was a collaboration between myself and the event organizers; Caspar Lam, Juan Villanueva, and Lynne Yun, which led to an ambitious undertaking of designing with a dozen languages. This experience was equally rewarding as it was challenging. It inspired me to continue pushing my understanding of typography by going beyond what is linguistically familiar.
My connection with the Peter Pauper Press cookbook series started during the first years I was living in California.
I recall the first time I found a book from the collection was at the Recycle Bookstore in San Jose, CA — one of the best second-hand bookstores in the Bay Area. During the years living in California I found so many great books in this bookstore and they also have two great cats.
The first book I got was Simple French Cookery. I was in awe: from the colour combination to the type choice and the effective and simple illustrations.
Finally done?! — Not quite yet! My new typeface Bridge is still work in progress, under construction so to say. Nevertheless, I would like you to get a sneak peek at my final project I was working on at the masters program TypeMedia at The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK), The Netherlands.
As 2017 closes out, I, and I think many others, are reflecting on the weight of everything that has happened in the previous twelve months. It was a year raging with political and climate-inflicted disasters throughout; filled with frustration and feelings of hopelessness. Despite this (or perhaps because of this, as a means of avoidance or way to channel positive energy) it was also personally an incredibly productive year.
Professionally, I started leading a new team in Germany, taking on the responsibility for guiding the design direction for some of the best icon designers around. That, in addition to the brand team I was already leading, would have been enough to call this a good year. But outside of work, teaching Typography 1 at California College of the Arts was the most rewarding endeavor.
Students learn best if they enjoy and love what they do. Besides all the learning and assignments, I regard it as essential that they develop passion and joy for their profession. Suffering becomes visible in design, while the joy of creation lets the outcome (no matter whether type, book or graphic) look light, simple and natural.
Some students struggle to develop this joy in the context of class assignments. I have been teaching at a women’s college in Kyoto, Japan since April 2017. And it is sometimes hard to judge whether the young women are actually enjoying their studies or not. Sometimes, we require input from an outsider, as well as a situation that is out of the ordinary. So we held a workshop on a Saturday, run by the Japanese design studio Dainippon Type Association, to trigger the passion of the students.
This past weekend, I made the most amazing brunch. I wish you could have seen it. But you didn’t. And you can’t. Well, you could if you looked at my Instagram, but imagine you couldn’t. (No cheating!) And also, imagine me after brunch: Sitting on my bed after my friend left, looking at the table (because, yes, I live in a studio apartment where the place that I sleep and the place that I entertain brunch guests are the same thing), stuffed and sleepy, debating whether to nap before or after the dishes…
I looked at the table with great satisfaction, basking in the glow of my impeccable culinary prowess and Grade A hostess skills. Foods that were once organized in straight lines and circles were now crooked and strewn—half on, half off the plate—mixed together, piles emaciated. Bread crusts pushed to the side of plates, crumbs proudly littered where our mouths had been. Cups coated with half-dried coffee and champagne, some with tiny pools at the bottom of the last sip we didn’t need.
If you had walked into the room and looked at the table without any prior knowledge of what had taken place before, you would have known a delicious brunch had happened there. Without ever having seen a scrap of food, the evidence would have given away that a feast had occurred, an experience, a moment that mattered. People were nourished and felt something and then went on with their lives. This is what the most important typographic memory of my year—Hell, probably of my entire career thus far—is like. Because although I can’t tell you about the project or any of its details, I can show you the table afterwards. I can tell you the story.