Looking for Character in Type

This year marks my fifth anniversary with Block Club and I can’t help but think about how far I’ve traveled in work style, process, taste and aesthetics since I walked into my interview here, quaking in the shoes of post-grad terror. Taste especially is something that fascinates me as it evolves.

A joke on the creative team is the perpetual poking fun at one another about “Our Boys,” AKA our individual old standbys—the little stylistic things we each hold dear and put into our work, the pet colors and fonts we gravitate towards, the weird FPO photos we choose in concepting. Your boys change seasonally as your tastes evolve, trends come and go and your aesthetics finesse, and I can’t think of a clearer example than my typeface dating history.

I can’t really reconcile with most of my college-era typefaces these days, and I certainly can’t admit them here. Perhaps to distance myself, I performed a swift 180 immediately after and started using only the most basic typefaces. Over the last few years, I had a tendency to strip all of the specialness out of the fonts I selected, wanting them to fit together in the most geometrically perfect ways, becoming homogenous lines of letters that I could use as building blocks without distracting too much from the rest of the elements of the design. Geometric gothic typefaces, perfect circles, square x-height to x-width ratios, were prized characteristics. Many hours were spent fine tuning custom lettering for logos to “fix the R” or increase symmetry (and many more hours spent debating whether the R was or was not in fact a deal breaker for using that particular typeface in the first place).

Somewhere in the last year I started embracing the less perfect side of the sans-serif. Maybe personality wasn’t a distraction after all, but an enhancement, or another voice in the chorus, and I started to seek out typefaces that previously would be dismissed as “too much, too quirky, too wobbly.” And now instead of spending all that time searching for the most stripped down, I spend time searching for the perfect personality.

So, a shout out today to Galano Grotesque, a typeface in the tradition of a more restrained Avant Garde, recently chosen for a fantastic client, whose solid rotundness and weird little bulbous lowercase “a” I had a real soft spot for.

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