We dive into the making of TYPEONE Magazine Issue 04 in this behind-the-scenes interview with Designers Alice Sherwin and Harry Bennett (Studio Ground Floor) and Editor-in-Chief Amber Weaver.
ZLM: Firstly, why a Femme Type issue for TYPEONE #4? What about this moment in time felt important in relation to women’s contributions to type?
AW: As many know Femme Type was the humble beginnings of our brand, it’s been a massive driving force in what I do and how I approach the rest of our business. Essentially I just wanted a way to continue championing and uplifting the typographic contributions of women and non-binary folk that weren’t just digital. The magazine was the perfect format to do this through, so I hopped at the chance.
ZLM: What do you want readers to take from this issue and how did this translate into curating the content for each section of the magazine?
AW: If I can achieve anything, just evoking the pure excitement around the craft of type and graphic design really. I wanted to share the incredible talents that I had discovered since the publication of our Femme Type book, uplifting their voices, journeys and work to help them get discovered by professionals that may choose to work with them, OR, upcoming young designers who discover new exciting role models that they can relate to, and use as their own driving force. Also education. I get a lot of ‘how tos’ whether I see it in comments, direct messages, or emails, so the content included useful resources that would help develop one’s skill set in type. For example, Johanne Lian Olsen runs through her process of how to design a typeface and create a font. Sharing that knowledge with the current and next generation of creatives is something I also love doing too.
ZLM: What are your personal highlights from this issue as Creative Director & Editor-in-Chief?
AW: Without a doubt, the font directory, I could generally stare at that section forever. Curating the list of typefaces had another layer to it other than just my passion for typefaces, but to help fill a gap, to create a single space where professionals and students could find typefaces designed by women and non-binary folk (which will soon be digitized on the Femme Type site too), to help bring diversity and inclusion to the wider areas of the industry through the community, not just our platform.
ZLM: What about typography drew you in initially & how do you think the stories of successful women in the field help to open up the space for the next generation, in your experience?
AW: I was always a creative kid, who loved to read and escape into different worlds. I was good at art, and because that was the thing I was best at I pursued it and the rest is history. What perhaps draws me in about type is the type (pun intended) of person I am, I’m quite a straight-talking and literal person when it comes to communication, and that’s also how I like to digest messaging too. Don’t get me wrong, I love illustration and design and observing the deeper meaning images have to it, I totally respect it, but I like the message to be right there in my face, set in a big display font.
As for opening up those success stories, I think observing people who look, sound, or perhaps come from the same walk of life as you do instills that ‘if they can do it, so can I, it’s within my reach to achieve that‘ mindset, and that’s is a very, very powerful thing.
ZLM: What was the vision for the look of this issue & how did you approach the design of this issue?
SGF: As with each issue of TYPEONE, every time we come to tackle the next issue, we are looking to evolve the design we had before, completely changing some aspects of the identity – such as the spot colour and typefaces – to best fit the theme of the issue.
With TYPEONE #4, we were very lucky to be working with the wonderful Jennifer Whitworth, who brought a new set of eyes, a fresh perspective and her meticulous graphic design skills to the magazine. Together, we designed probably the most radical changes issue-to-issue that we’ve ever done.
#4’s identity sought to bring the hidden characters of design software to the forefront, embodying the ‘Femme Type’ theme of the issue, commenting on the lack of diversity and accessibility within the industry and utilising TYPEONE as a space to champion and celebrate women and non-binary designers. With this in mind, we opted for Kalice (Margot Lévêque), Tempos (Samara Keller) and New Edge (Charlotte Rohde) as this issue’s striking typefaces, all from contemporary women type designers. We took this a step further for the design of #4’s cover, whereby we handed over the space to four women, each with their own distinct practice and voice.
ZLM: Tell me about the 4 cover designs.
AW: With every issue, I always want to have something that makes it different from the rest, including the previous issues. With issue #03 it was the fold-out cover with gritty paper stock to evoke the feel of a graffiti wall. With issue #04, the focus of the magazine was to uplift women’s typographic contributions, so instead of 1x cover, we commissioned 4 (since it was issue #04), to champion as many women as possible.
ZLM: Lastly, why do we need more women in typography & what will people who are looking to grow in the field gain from this publication?
AW: Personally I think that having a balance of genders working in one space is incredibly beneficial. We all bring our own unique value, and with us, we collectively help avoid uniformity, keeping the industry’s outputs dynamic, relevant and interesting.
Those who read this issue will first, learn about all the fantastic folks we’ve discovered, and uncover their processes and creative practices. Secondly, they’ll be able to extract value from the resources we’ve included, I hope aid the development of current and upcoming creatives’ typographic skillset, to upgrade themselves and their careers.
ZLM: Thank you, Amber and Studio Ground Floor!