Type lessons learned in 12 months.

It’s been a little more than a year since I began my interview series, Typography Dojo, and I feel like I’ve learned so much along the way from typographic masters! Here’s some quotes from my guests that summarize the lessons I’ve learned from them in order to better my typography mindset and skills.


Chat with Chank Diesel of Chank Fonts

Take Notice Of What’s Around You “I am just in a heightened aware state at the time; I’m not checking my email, I’m not checking my phone, I’m just very conscious of my surroundings. And I have found that a lot of beautiful typography is at the tops of buildings, where people don’t normally look, in back alleys, and manhole covers, which is one of my favorites. Just the utilitarian design; on railroad tracks, and graffiti, that most people, on a given day, they're too busy to stop and notice.” Nikki Villagomez, Author & Creative Studio Manager at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP

Process is Important “Take advantage of the digital tools to create perfection. Just knowing you can start with fairly very wobbly. Think of letters in terms of clay that you’re going to sculpt. They don’t need to be fully sculpted before you jump to the digital side of things. At CCA, we do this, we do a baptism-by-fire. In the case of the design studio at CCA, we start by wide-open concepting, insane letter-drawing, with no judgement or no preciousness at all.” Rod Cavazos, Principal at PSY/OPS & Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts (CCA)


So, typography here is very important topic, and the topics of legibility, readability, clarity are really essential here.
— Martina Flor, Berlin-based Lettering Artist

Seek Critique “Critique is really incredibly important. Especially for me, having been self-taught, without any formal education and resources. I feel like we need to do more to go out of our way to seek critique. Because we tend to have this “artist-mentality,” even designers, often, where we feel offended if somebody has something to say about our work that needs to be changed. But you can also give critique and help others. As long as you are giving critique in the spirit of helping others grow, rather than simply being negative about it. It's a really really valuable thing to give somebody and it's always, something we should be seeking out as well.” Joseph Alessio, Typographic Illustrator and Lettering Artist

Discover Your Tribe “Berlin has a lot to do with my career turn, that’s when I started to do lettering professionally. Berlin is a city all about type. It is one of the cities with more of the type designers in the world, so you see type everywhere. There’s meetings every month where you see type nerds sharing their font projects, there’s even a museum, the Museum of Letters. So, typography here is very important topic, and the topics of legibility, readability, clarity are really essential here.” Martina Flor, Berlin-Based Lettering Artist


Chat with Gemma O'Brien from her studio in Sydney, Australia

Show Your Progress “This was one of the first typefaces that I designed. I used to be embarrassed to show this stuff, because I was just trying too hard to impress people, but I’m not afraid of it anymore, but I think this kind of showing of a milestone [is important]. One of the first things that I was learning about type design is stroke contrast; and sort of the difference between the thicks and the thins and where they should go, and where they shouldn’t go. Also, a lot of stuff about optical adjustments, overshoots, those kind of technical things. Also the value of prototyping, I had drawn all of the letters, and when I wanted to make a change to the stroke contrast, I had to go through and change it on every single letter and it was really time-consuming.” Terrance Weinzierl, Type Designer at Monotype

Keep Evolving “I had the mindset that a lot of young designers had, I just wanted to make really cool shit. And over a 22-year period, that’s changed. And I’ve become more and more concerned about how the things that we're doing create change for people. How they impact people’s lives. How they deliver value to businesses. As well as the design of the business itself. And so, my philosophy has become much broader, much more concerned about how all the pieces fit together, and how they influence each other, rather than just the aesthetic, which used to be enough, it's just no longer enough for me.” Steven Ryan, Partner, Design Discipline Lead at R&S Marching Arts

I’m looking forward to another year of Typography Dojo! Hope you’ll join me by following us on Crowdcast or by subscribing to the YouTube channel.