we open 2017 with an interview from our friends at Typostrate, a short Q&A with Ale Paul of Sudtipos. It’s supplemented with a video portrait, and some background on his latest Henderson Slab and Sans typefaces.
Alejandro Paul is one of the greatest typographer of our time from Buenos Aires, Argentina. As one of the founders of Sudtipos, a typography collective and as an art director, he handles clients like Arcor, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, Danone and so on. In addition Ale shifted his efforts to typeface design, creating fonts and lettering for several top packaging agencies, along with commercial faces. Here are the questions that interested us.
A Q&A by Christan Goldemann of Typostrate:
How did you come to typography?
Typography was always the most important resource while being a packaging designer. I found that the commercial fonts where not enough for new products, so I started to create new ones.
What especially do you love in typography?
I love the craft, the details on it and of course I love to see them used by other people.
Can you tell us about your way of designing?
I have different ways but the one I prefer is read, study, think and start to design. I spend too much time reading about history, understanding how technology changed the craft. When there is a custom project I listen to the clients needs first.
What tools do you use for the design process?
Books, pencils, paper, Fontlab.
Where do you get inspired of? What are your idols?
The more I learn about typography the more I want to study. I love the commercial lettering artist from first part of S.XX, the victorian era typefaces and ornamentation and of course the masters of calligraphy from Spain, France, UK or US. As I traveled to some Latin American countries, I found inspiration in the streets, the painted walls, the clothes, the colours an so on.
What is your favourite typeface?
There are a lot that I love but I especially love Bickham Script. From my own stuff a font, I enjoyed too much working on was Affair, but I think Burgues Script is the one that really helped me grow in type. Also Piel Script because I think this is open to more markets and something different than the mainstream. In the end from the last releases Rolling Pen, this is my favourite because it is simple but powerful and I love to do the collateral material with neons.
Please finish the sentence: “In an ideal world, typography to me would be…”
… seriously respected by graphic designers.
Did you ever had crisis or problems in your daily design life and how did you solve them?
Well, sometimes I feel that doing typefaces everyday is a boring routine but when I look outside the window, I feel lucky to work and at least do what I love. Which work is no routine?
I have been traveling around the world thanks to typography.
What is the most joyous or most attractive part of typography for you?
When I receive good vibes from people I admire and when I see somebody using my fonts in a better way I ever imagined.
What comes next?
Who knows? I am in the search of happiness.
with this Q&A of course not all is aid about Ale Paul and his work, it’s merely a teaser. I don’t know about a typographer who’s typefaces have such an amount of personality. Off course lots of the best typefaces have very distinct characteristics, and they become personalities. Just browse through Erik Spiekermann’s ‘Stop Stealing Sheep’ and you get what I mean. But many of Ale Paul’s fonts have a warmth and presence that I don’t see in other fonts. Some of them you could become good friends with, or even fall in love with. When choosing one for a project you might catch yourself mumbling its name, missing him or der when the project is completed.
The typefaces in Sudtipos’ Bluemlein Script Collection take this concept of personality very literally. The collection consists of 32 ‘fontified’ handwritings, having assigned fictitious names to them.
watch this precious little video ’type specimen’ of Sudtipos’ Poem Script, set to Erik Satie’s 3rd Gnossienne. See how well chosen the form of a ‘video specimen’ is for this script. Poem Script must be a ‘she’, and ‘she’ plays her part very touching.
Getting to know the man better, Tomás García of Author’s Bay South made this video portrait of Ale Paul by Tomás García .
Entirely different characters speak from the type specimens of Ale Paul’s recent typefaces, the Henderson Slab and Henderson Sans. Less accent on handwriting, but just as much witness of a search for bringing their unique personalities to a fore.
Ale Paul: A few bold caps drawn by Albert Du Bois for the 1906 Henderson Sign Painter book started me in the direction of looking at how sign painters approached slabs after the industrial revolution. The usual happened from there. My exercise in the early lettering roots of what eventually became the definition of geometric typography ended up having a life of its own. The majuscules led to minuscules, one idiosyncratic bold weight led to six more, and uprights led to italics. What was kind-of-interesting in the early twentieth century persuaded me to make it interesting enough a century later. This of course meant alternates, swashes, the standard baggage that keeps calling my name.
Ale: “Their work is like today’s sophisticated version of ASCII art,” Ale says. “It has an appeal that reaches your higher visual sense and triggers ideas that may not otherwise come to you.”
He engaged another collaborator to help market the Henderson fonts. “Mariano Sigal of Cinco arranged a kind of story about Henderson slab with paper marionettes,” Ale explains.
Ale: “The first thought that crosses a type designer’s mind upon seeing a slab serif is: I wonder what it would look if it was serifless. And so, after building Henderson Slab, I followed my instincts and gave it a sans serif companion.”
For the new Henderson Sans he created a type specimen with Hachetresele Studio from Buenos Aires, a visual language combining modernity with a pinch nostaligia, referring to the origins of the Henderson Sign Painter.
Ale: ”Three different sets of visuals for two sets of fonts that complement each other — not common, but definitely satisfying.”