Monthly Musing | Your Type Studio
This month we’re lucky to be speaking with Your Type Studio who’ve just released their first series of cards; word up. These free standing typographic words which range from ‘Ahhh’ to ‘Lucky’ have just the right tone of informality for sharing amongst your besties.
The range of 58 cards has been designed so you can even spell out a short sentence. Their bright zingy colours concertina away to provide a lovely opening experience to the receiver. Their playful pop-up nature means their presence feels much more than a simple card!
This new venture is by a talented duo Susana Fernandes and Richard Wilson who’ve worked in graphic design and the fashion industry in the UK – contemporary greeting cards for those who’ve got a message to share! We asked them the hows and whys for our July Monthly musing.
So, how did your backgrounds in fashion and graphic design lead you to starting a company in card publishing?
The defining moment came at the end of 2014 after I’d designed a card for Susana’s birthday. After she’d put a photo of it on social media we started getting lots of ‘likes’ and people either asking us to make one for them or that we should think seriously about putting them into production. I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator, but Susana has a real-make-it-happen attitude, so we decided to give it a go. I don’t think either of us had ever thought about going into greeting cards before that, however our backgrounds meant we had the right mix of skills – I’ve got the ideas and am familiar with the production side, while Susana also has a strong design sensibility but also a knowledge of business and sales which most of us creatives sorely lack.
Typography is defined as the art and technique of arranging type to make written language readable and appealing. What ‘font’ are your cards in? How did you make a decision from the variety of typography available?
It’s actually an old comic book script – not a particularly cool or sophisticated one, but after experimenting with lots of other typefaces we realized that none of them had the personality that this had. One of the key considerations we had in mind while developing the cards was the need to have enough space to write on the back, so it had to be something pretty bold so we’ve have had to fatten this one up a bit!
How difficult was it to pin down the product range of 58 words and colours?
We had been advised that we needed at least 60 words to launch with, however two of our initial 60 ended up being too long for our production methods, hence the weird number. We’ve since launched a range of a further 12 ‘rude’ words (after popular demand), so we’re back up to the slightly rounder number of 70. I think the number and range of cards will always be in flux as the beauty of the cards is that they can reflect trends and changes in slang such as txt speak. And then there’s the potential of other languages which we’re also starting to look at. The colours were a bit trickier to agree on. Apart from the subjective matter of which colours we liked, and what was appropriate for each card, there was also the small matter of finding a paper manufacturer with the right range of colours, of the right quality and at the right price.
How have you built in eco-credentials to your product development and how are you looking to build on this?
All our cards are made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, chlorine and acid free card. We’ve also tried to avoid using any print on the cards (the branding is embossed) which means there are less chemicals involved. Going forward we’re looking at bringing all the production under one roof which will mean our C02 footprint will be much smaller and we’re also looking into sustainable delivery methods and packaging materials.
Who are your favourite artists and contemporaries in the card publishing world who inspire you to think outside the box with your own works?
This probably isn’t going to make us too many friends within the industry, but part of the reason we’re getting into it is because we think there is a bit of a dearth of well-designed cards. There are some exceptions out there – Cut&Make produce some brilliantly innovative and beautiful cards in Berlin, while Paul Farrell is another graphic designer who’s turned his hand to cards with wonderfully simple, graphic illustrations. Favourite artists include Pierre Soulages, Bridget Riley and Felix Berman, although we’re equally likely to be inspired by a product designer or architect such as Thomas Heatherwick or Bjarke Ingels.
The thing we like most about these cards is that typically cards come down after a week because they are no longer relevant, with these, they can be added into a home in some way – they have longevity. These are not just cards, they are items, and can be put in places designed to surprise or make the finder laugh (We enjoyed playing around with them in our home and garden as you’ll see from the photos above).
They could be incorporated into celebratory events, strung up into a punchy garland for a surprise, used for treasure hunts with each ‘clue’ more obscure than the last … we’re sure the creativity of the internet will adopt these in no time… but for now they can just enliven your living spaces with their bright message!