Before last summer, I had no idea who Riley Cran was. I was one of the last designers on dribbble (at least it felt that way). He reached out to me. We talked process. He even complimented my work, which was unexpected. All of this happened over iChat. As time progressed I realized that Riley was onto something special. He and Tyler Galpin started this little thing called "Lost Type" (maybe you've heard of it). I was instantly intrigued. Riley's passion for typefaces and design in general became contagious. He quickly submerged me in the dribbble community while introducing me to several of his digital friends and peers. I was blown away by the warm reception.
We got our human connection. What started as a fun conversation between he and Linda Eliasen became a way to finally meet some of the designers I highly respect – as well as give us an opportunity to create something together. I am so humbled and thankful to be part of this group of incredible people.
So get ready. This is real.
For the longest time to me, 'lettering' and 'font building' might as well have been the names of courses offered exclusively at Hogwarts. The production of a typeface seemed more like a mysterious form of magic than a tangible practice I could take on by myself.
Then I met some designers who approach things differently. If there isn't a typeface that serves your purpose in a design, don't settle. Just make it yourself. I've only done a little bit of lettering and hardly any type building, so being here in SF to build some type with the guidance and knowledge of the Lost Type crew is going to be such an incredible learning experience.
In preparation for this trip I started to find lots of inspiration in hand painted signs and vintage goodies. People have been creating custom type for a really long time, and if you look hard enough you can find some gems out there, like this Boraxo tin that a friend showed me. Each letter in 'BORAXO' is so beautiful, and the accompanying extended version for "cleans" and "hands" is so wonderfully crafted that it makes me shout curse words.
I found this beautiful script on a cigar box in my grandfather's pantry in April. It contained old coins and arrow heads he found when he was a kid, and when the script on the outside of the box caught my eye more than the treasures inside did, he laughed with surprise as he'd obviously never noticed that script before and never would have thought twice about it in a million years.
I'm really looking forward to working with everyone this weekend, and I will be posting my inspiration and process as we go.
Arriving at this gorgeous house for the first time this afternoon, its been a whirlwind of unpacking bags, getting settled and exchanging thousands of wise-crack one liners with some truly kind and talented folks.
Justin picked us up in his rental car, and we drove across the Golden Gate, ate some amazing food and did our first grocery run. Stocking up on fuel for this marathon of letters.
Knowing most of this crew on the internet for more than a year, it was truly something meeting them for the first time. And I must say, they are as kind and personable as I had garnered from our internet communcations.
Very pleased to be here, and can't wait to get cracking on this font!
Sign find of the day:
I remember Riley sending me a small 120px x 80px jpg containing a few random numbers from an old poster design. He proposed a challenge to excel my creative abilities. "Jim, see these numbers here? I think you should make a typeface outa them." Thus was the creation of Ministry and more importantly, a foundation for friendships I've made over the past year..
It seems only fitting and appropriate that I finally meet all of these friends of mine. Perhaps shake that guy Riley's hand, for what he did for my career in design. As I sit on the plane heading out to California awaiting that moment, I can only think about how lucky I am to be a part of this wonderful community.
For five days, a handful of Lost Type's designers will live under one roof with a common goal – to create a typeface inspired by San Francisco. We'll also be visiting with the local talent and venturing into the city as we search for inspiration. Check back for live updates!
The Buddy System &