Henrik Kubel is a Danish typeface designer and a partner in A2/SW/HK + A2-TYPE, a design studio in London. Many have probably seen his work around town and online, with companies such as The Independent Newspaper, Android and Airbnb having commissioned fonts from him.
Yoke had the opportunity to pose 10 questions to Henrik and find out a bit more about the person behind the famous typefaces.
1. What first initiated your interest in type?
The graffiti movement from NYC, as simple as that! In 1984 the infamous documentary ‘Style Wars’ movie (1983) was shown on Danish Public television, I remember watching it in awe! I was only a kid…
Although graffiti is not ‘type’ per say, it is indeed, in many instances, lettering on a very large scale and this aspect appealed to me instantly.
Today, 30 years later I am focused on creating 100% tailor-made design solutions for our clients by designing our own fonts as an integrated part of our design process.
2. What attributes make a good type designer?
Attention to detail (you got to get those curves right!) and determination to add new and inspiring designs to the world, across cultures and languages!
3. How do you think different kinds of type can convey different meaning?
It’s simple; look around you, we all have different voices, so do brands and products. We need this to distinguish everyday matter, large and small. Here is an example of a small selection of our custom fonts.
4. What are the different stages you go through in your work when creating a new typeface for a client?
A majority of our commissions starts with a brief from the client, followed by a creative process (intense) and a final delivery.
5. How do you see your discipline developing over the next 5-10 years?
We are seeing some great new tools being introduced for creating type, this will hopefully continue – I think the next generation of type designers will also be (to some extent already is) part-programmers.
6. What are you planning for your appearance at agIdeas?
I am going to talk about our custom typefaces for The Independent Newspaper in London, Moscow Metro and New York Times Magazine.
I may share a few anecdotes and quite possibly show very new – yet to be published fonts! Not to forget our very latest font release: www.newtransport.co.uk.
7. How have new technologies impacted the way you approach your work?
I think our A23D typeface is a good example of how technology influenced our design process:
8. What do you think makes your work unique from others in your field?
Designers have different backgrounds and influences.
9. Where do you find inspiration for ideas?
My design is content led in the sense that I work to a client brief. Of course a large collection of historical typeface specimens are part of our office environment and, popular culture like film, fashion and art is an underlying influence.
10. What advice would you give an aspiring designer looking to work in your field?
Work hard. Be nice. Always.
Henrik is appearing at agIdeas International Design Forum on Thursday, 14 May.
About agIdeas International Design Forum
In 2015, agIdeas International Design Forum will celebrate 25 years of design innovation, providing access to leading designers from across the globe in a one-day event to be held as part of the Design Matters Melbourne International Design Week, on Thursday, 14 May 2015.
Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the annual design Forum will bring together 13 high-profile speakers, each handpicked by esteemed Australian designer, Ken Cato AO, to share their experiences, tips and insights behind their ideas and inspirations.
For more info on the event, visit the official website.