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Alex Haigh interview


Hello Alex.

1- Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a freelance senior designer / art director originally from Sheffield. I run a small studio called Thinkdust and also work alongside large digital agencies on large accounts for well known brands.

2 – When did you first notice your interest on design and typography?

It all started when I left school and studied graphic design in Sheffield, back in 2001. Whilst studying I had a part time jobs to fund my way through education. Although not the most glamorous of scenes, thinking back my first ever design related job was my core foundation and introduction into typography. It began at a Sheffield Newspaper. I would finish college and then go to work until around 2 in the morning setting small text adverts for the newspaper. After around 2 months of doing this I found myself beginning to craft. It was quite funny really as I found I wasn’t satisfied, I never am in life. So whilst the other co-workers were typing adverts straight out and saving I would purposely work quicker to spend time on the kerning, leading, and generally just experimenting with type to see what worked. These were the core basics and probably the most important introduction I could of had. Following this like everything else design related in my life, it turned from “attention” to “obsession”.

3 – When and how did you decide to create your first fonts?
BAQ Rounded was the first ever typeface I was happy with. This was originally designed for a french magazine I have art directed over the years called Glo. I started designing type from a serious point of view around 2 years ago.

4 – After your first fonts, when did you decide to open a type foundry?

We live in an era where anyone with a computer and basic knowledge can easily create something, yet actual quality is a completely separate entity. I am sure many others find this problem is also related to graphic design. I respect the days where computers were not around, and design was all in the detail, craft and talent. Unfortunately this technical side opens up the doors to dilution. If you’ve got freehand/illustrator and fontlab you can create a typeface, it’s as simple as that. The real question is, what percentage of the typefaces produced over the past 4 years hold real aesthetic and technical quality? This is one of the two reasons I started the HypeForType foundry, beautiful typefaces, high technical quality, and affordable for designers. As any designer knows if you’ve got a nice print or digital project, finding something that’s got both an aesthetic and technical quality is tough. Finding this for an affordable price, even tougher.

5 – You’ve opened Hype For Type with some fonts from renowned designers. How did they collaborate with you?
We worked together and I basically gave the designers an open brief, which helped to bring the best out of the project. Following this we advised and then took the original designs into the build process.

6 – What are your plans for the future of Hype For Type?

A solid exciting type foundry which doesn’t look at what’s been done, but focuses on what’s not been done and how we can take typography forward for designers.

Alex thank you for your time, any words for those that want to start designing types?

I would say just throw yourself into it, everyone always has plenty to learn, and it’s always with everything a case of working extremely hard, and keeping that drive and focus.

You can see Alex work at www.thinkdust.com and visit Hype For Type at www.hypefortype.com

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