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Freres-Jones, Tobias

Desing TutorialsHow did you get involved in type Design Tutorials?

I went to RISD in their undergraduate program. I finished in 1992. It became difficult there for me, because I wanted to learn to design type, which was hardly the focus at RISD. We were taught to use type, how to think with type, but not how to design type. There’s no place really in this country where you can do that. Inge Druckery and Matthew Carter’s course at Yale is good, but it’s for grad students only, and it’s just one course.

When I was 16, there was a competition sponsored by the Type Shop in New York. It was open to 6- to 17-year olds. The assignment was to draw a typeface Free Fonts. I was aware that type existed, but I had never tried it myself. I went with the first idea in my head, and I won in the best-of-age category. I did it all with a radiograph and a drawing board. The competition was in 1986. After that I had a couple of other ideas that I chased down through high school—I designed 8 or 9 “fonts” while I was in high school. One of them survived. It’s Armada, distributed by Font Bureau.

I was thrown out of French class for a day because I was in the back of the room drawing a lowercase k. It was then that I knew I should go to Design Training school.

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April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Design Tutorials | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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