Typefaces collection

How did you get involved with typeface design? What led you to this practice?
I discovered notions of design, forms and space after obtaining a Baccalauréat in Physics and mathematics, specializing in Architectural Design, in my home town of Oaxaca. Pursuing my academic career in design I moved to Mexico city where I studied Graphic Communication Design at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. This is where I established my first real approach to typography through its applications in editorial design. This then led me to text layout and micro- and macrotypography.
After my studies I quickly embarked on a professional career. It was while working as a graphic designer, particularly my few years in publishing and visual identity, that my interest for typography and type design was confirmed. I became aware of typography’s fundamental role in graphic design, and the possibility of developing my own typefaces.
During a trip to Paris (France) to learn French in 2015 I discovered the Typographie & Langage (EsadType) post graduate course in Amiens. There I studied type design alongside talented teachers and professionals and I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity. I graduated in 2018, presenting Cardone, a type family that I had designed to be used in editorial design.
Since then I have divided my time between collaborating with different companies, foundries and type designers and my own typographic practice, heavily influenced by graphic design.

What influences you? Are there typeface designers whose work you appreciate in particular?
I am heavily influenced by the major trends in graphic design, but also by industrial design, art, architecture, pop culture and music. For a time I was for example fascinated by a certain modern and experimental aesthetic. Observing and rubbing shoulders with all of these disciplines continues to inspire and motivate my research.
During my studies, through practice and observation, my centers of interest became more precise. Nowadays I particularly appreciate the aesthetic of Dutch design that I was able to discover thanks to Charles Enschedé’s book Typefoundries in the Netherlands. I am also fascinated by trying to understand the creative process (and practices) of type designers such as William Addison Dwiggins, Gerard Unger and Ladislas Mandel whose forms and approaches, whose mastery and enthusiastic practices I appreciate greatly. I also really like the work of contemporary type designers such as Sandrine Nugue and Miguel Reyes, and admire their unexpected and refreshing formal audacity.

In your opinion, what is the point of creating a new typeface when so many already exist?
For me typography is a discipline like art or fashion design that, guided by the use of new tools and new technologies, participates to a large extent in defining the soul of an epoch. Typography is animated by various considerations (beauty, singularity, utility, legibility, contemporaneity, etc.) and this allows us to say that, more than a system of rules and structures established to respond to fundamental needs, the creation and design of a new typeface enables us to respond to a particular set of requirements at a given moment.

Is it really possible to create something new in the field of typeface design?
I don’t think that we can completely avoid the things that influence our way of designing, thinking or creating in various ways. I think that this is a challenge and that it constitutes one of the principle motivations of a type designer. Designers try to detach themselves from their references while managing to respond to the different needs and contexts that they are faced with.
I also think that typography allows for an infinite exploration of possibilities that allows one to envisage endlessly renewable forms.

How do you begin work on a new typeface? Do you have a particular process?
Over the last few years I have been looking to improve my creative process and to continue to learn. For each project I particularly appreciate the first steps that consist of understanding the context, needs and constraints and then of freely exploring the possibilities.
This also depends on whether I am working on a personal project or on a commission with a pre-established brief, as the time that has been allocated has a significant impact on the process. This may or may not allow me to envisage multiple possibilities before choosing a direction for the work.
When it comes to working on my personal projects these first steps are based on extensive research and a number of spontaneous and varied sketches. Once I have established the direction for the work I quickly move to digital drawing.
However, with the Cardone typeface I learned the importance of regularly testing and printing my work. This is one of the steps that I enjoy most and one that allows me to precisely define what I am looking for in terms of the type color, the rhythm, the contrast, the essence. It helps me to visualize the use that could be made of a typeface whose contours I am in the process of defining.

What is your relationship with the history of typography? What is your relationship with technology?
I am nourished by both. Historical research along with the use of constantly evolving digital tools allow me to understand and respond to issues linked to the use of typography. Cardone, for example, belongs to a certain tradition because of its particular historical references. The main challenge was to appropriate them so as to then detach myself from them.
The search for a contemporary aesthetic combined with a desire to respond to the constraints of legibility of text typefaces, requires achieving a complex and highly instructive balance.
I really like the developments in technology that we have seen in recent years. I think that this has contributed to the fact that an increasing number of people are becoming interested in typography. At the same time I don’t think that the power associated with this technology in any way determines either the creative process or the result. I think that it allows us to work as a “team”, by associating the particular skills of other type designers.

Why have you chosen to distribute your characters and typefaces with 205TF?
Cardone emerged from an experience completely infused with French know-how as my training in type design began in France.
When I discovered the 205TF foundry, having previously worked with the team behind the project, the choice seemed obvious to me. The pertinence of 205TF’s selections and its position as an independent French foundry was justification enough for proposing my typeface for its catalogue. What’s more, I am delighted that Cardone sits alongside other designs by contemporary designers that I particularly admire and from whom have I have learned so much.

Do you think that typography can save the world?
I like to think that, as Emil Ruder wrote, typography has the duty to convey information in writing. This is probably overly succinct but I do actually think that typography is the cornerstone of communication, and that thanks to its links with other disciplines it definitely continues to make our world more bearable and more exciting.

Do you teach? If so, where, and why does this role of transmission seem important to you?
After leaving school I focused on enriching my own creative process, trying to take advantage of, integrate and build upon each of my experiences. Nevertheless, on the few occasions where I had the opportunity to run a workshop, a lecture or a type crit, and for each collaboration that I am involved in, my main motivation is to convey my passion and my enthusiasm for endlessly exploring typography and its fundamental role in graphic design. I believe that constant exchange, interaction and curiosity nourish and stimulate. I would of course really love to teach in Mexico, my native country, and that would be a wonderful challenge.

What type design project are you currently working on?
At the moment I divide my time between collaborating with other type designers and foundries and a specific typeface project for the creative cycling project NVAYRK (Nueva York in Spanish) that I am part of and that I have been collaborating with since its creation in 2015.

by Fátima Lázaro