Straight from Estonia, the guys from HandMadeFont give as all access to their studio and tell us a lot of special details about their incredibly typography and font work done by hand.
Who hides behind this studio that creates such awesome typography and hand made fonts?
The names behind HMD are; Maksim Loginov and Vladmir Loginov. We are brothers that have been working in graphic design for ten years. We grew up altogether with our parents, until we became 20 years old and we adopted oneself to each other. Nevertheless we are different. We have different interests. Maxim likes to word in a 3D, anime, japanese dolls. Vladimir likes modern art and photography. Vladimir in indulge in documental movies and lately he gained some prizes on a several filmfests. Despite of the fact, that we are very different, we easily find common language. In a HandMadeFont project, we didn?t determined any limits for each other. Everyone does what he wants and that got to be respected.
The names behind HMD are; Maksim Loginov and Vladmir Loginov. We are brothers that have been working in graphic design for ten years.
How the idea of creating all kinds of hand made fonts started?
Very often we had to create unique fonts for different advertising campaigns, posters, tv-ads etc… And the final result, after putting so much effort into it, would only last for a month or two. We felt sorry that no one would ever see those works again. So we decided to give them a new lease of life. That’s how the idea of HandMadeFont came up. We’ve completed the alphabet and the process turned out to be so exiting that we ended up with loads of new fonts.
the process turned out to be so exiting that we ended up with loads of new fonts
Where all these great hand made fonts get created?
For now on we work together in a big advertising company AGE McCann (Estonia). Studio locates in a Tallinn center. We have beautiful views to the old town from the studio windows. There are 25 persons in the studio and a very creative atmosphere. For example, in the studio we have a hookah, playstation, ping-pong table… You can always have a break and relax or play. We collect nothing, but we buy and read a lot of different books, as a designer ones, or fiction. But this is not a collection. This is just a way of life.
in the studio we have a hookah, playstation, ping-pong table… You can always have a break and relax or play
Do you believe that the atmosphere you work in can influence on the actual work?
Of course, the atmosphere in the studio is 50% success. And maybe more. The process of the birth of ideas is very difficult to organize. Especially when it is necessary that ideas are born every day. It's very good when in the studio you do not feel like at work. And when the work becomes a favorite thing that you just pleased to do.
the atmosphere in the studio is 50% success
You guys have done endless number of different and very unique hand made fonts. What inspires you the most to keep creating all these different fonts?
If we only knew, where they come from (especially the genius ones), we would be very rich. But in our case it is more simple. “In the beginning, there was a word...“. Every object has its own name. Every word consists of some letters. It means, that every word implies some shape. For example, imagine a pencil on a table. We take a lot of pencils and compose a word "pencil“. This is a beginners level. But, going further on, if we compose a word "painter“ using the same pencils, then we receive the shape of the word "painter“, which expands itš sence.
We’re all surrounded by the lots of different things, which can be made into a font. Often we follow our instincts rather than just logic in choosing something. It’s like a man scratching the name of his beloved on some tree never thinks what font he’s using. Same with us. First we make something, than look at the result. Sometimes it’s no good , but usually we are happy with the first choice. It has more integrity and the spirit. The quirkiness of our fonts and the raw feel to it is important to us. It has energy.
We never think, how anybody can use our prints, because it is a dead-end. We do not deal with a conveyor manufacturing. Sure the project we launched is commercial, but in the very beginning we assumed to cooperate with magazines and advertising companies, not just selling a variety of ready prints. Of course we like to sell our jobs, it is interesting. But we are designers, not top sales managers. We like to create something new. At the moment we cooperate with several magazines, composing unique headlines. We are always open to new offers.
Every object has its own name. Every word consists of some letters. It means, that every word implies some shape
After you get the first idea for a new font and you decided to go ahead with it, do you have a set process that is always used in order to create the whole font set?
Usually, we start with one letter. Then we compose a word to see how the letters look altogether. If we like it, we continue with it. If we don't, then we start from the very beginning. Sometimes one letter making lasts too long, so we refuse to continue. It doesn't mean that we afraid of difficulties. We just do not want to have it in a routine way.
We just do not want to have it in a routine way.
How long does it usually take?
It all depends on the material we use to create a font. Basically we use anything. Hammer, matches, scissors- anything that cuts, saws or whatever. Every material requires a different approach. Take liquids, for instance. It’s hard to create a model from liquid- it has no shape. Our job is to find a right shape for it. You see, it’s not easy to apply standard terms of typography to describe what we do. They are not classic fonts, everyone is used to. We’re not exactly the specialists in this field, it’s hard to be a specialist in squeezing letters out of ketchup or cutting forms out of loaf of bread. We try various things and methods and share the results with people.
One of the hardest was the "red caviar" one. We wanted to take some pictures of red caviar first. But this was such an expensive and tasty product, that it didn’t make it to the session. We’d eaten all of it and had to recreate it in 3d. It came out even better than the real thing. When we earn our first million we’ll use black caviar for a font.
it’s not easy to apply standard terms of typography to describe what we do
After making so many different fonts, do you have any favorites or a special one?
Our favorite font is the one made by our mother. It’s the red knitted letters. Our mum knits. So we’ve asked her to knit the letters from the sketches we’d made. She did the whole alphabet in two days. We couldn’t have made anything like that in a hundred years. It’s really special to us.
Our favorite font is the one made by our mother
Are you guys working on any project we should know about?
We have plenty of ideas. Currently we are in a process of creating some 200 new fonts. Almost anything can be made into a font. We have a few ideas about using people and animals in our work, and this requires a totally different approach. So far we’re not ready for it. Maybe some day.
We have a few ideas about using people and animals in our work
Thank you very much for the interview, you guys are great. I'll leave the last words up to you.
Incidentally, this October is the birthday of our studio. We are one year old and this interview is a good gift.