Interview with Dave Foster


Dave Foster is a type designer based in Sydney, Australia whose work brought my attention while looking for typography works on Behance. It's really outstanding his ability to work with both digital and traditional as the result it's just impeccable. Today we had the opportunity to interview him and know more about his career and life.

You can see more from Dave on the following links:







1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honour for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for letters and type?

Thanks for having me. I left school early, when I was about 16. I was invited to go to a graphic design college in Sydney where I received a degree in visual communication when I was 19. That course was the point when I began to learn about graphic design, and more specifically typography. I had a great teacher, Peter McGill who introduced me to letters and how to treat them with respect. From there, a curiosity propelled my interested and growth in that area.

Holstee commissioned lettering

2) Which people inspire you?

Since finishing my masters in typeface design at The Royal Academy of Art in 2012, I've been fortunate enough to meet many practitioners in the field of type design and lettering that I respect immensely. My inspiration often comes from my many named and unnamed predecessors as well as my present day colleagues. Over the years many people have had a big influence on me.

For lettering to name only a few, I love the work of Ken Barber, Jon Contino, Erik Marinovich, Alex Trochut, Martina Flor, Rob Clarke, Steven Bonner, Sergey Shapiro, John Langdon and Ian Brignell.

For type designers I particularly enjoy the work and approach of Matthew Carter, Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, Christian Schwartz and Paul Barnes, Kris Sowersby, Fred Smeijers, Jean Fran├žois Porchez, Jeremy Tankard, Jackson Cavanaugh and of course every one of my teachers from The Royal Academy from whom I began learning about type.

Cycling Prints

3) How did you develop your style and how would you describe it?

I'm still trying to figure out what it is exactly that ties my body of work together. I don't know if I really have a style, not one I aspire to at least. For lettering, I just try to do whatever is appropriate for the message. Whatever it is though, I'm always searching for balance and it's extremely elusive.

Lettering to commemorate a 50th wedding anniversary.

4) Describe to us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece of lettering.

Whether it's typefaces or lettering, iteration is my main tool. By that I mean I do it once, then I do it again, and again, changing details and developing it until it reaches a point that I'm happy with it. If I was drawing a word, I usually make a small scale rough, then I enlarge and refine or draw the word again from the start, or trace over the top in ink.

5) What's would you consider the best moment of your career till now and what would be the worst one? Please share with us more about your path.

I know many people tend to dismiss awards as superficial and for the large part kind of pointless. But winning Gold at the Morisawa Type Design Competition was a real shifting point for me. Mainly because my work was validated by four type designers I hold in the highest regard. The cash prize was helpful, but this validation helped me more in deciding to concentrate on type and take it more seriously. It gave me confidence to at least try this path. I'm prepared for it to fail, but at least I won't have any regrets.

The worst moments can seem bad at the time, but in hindsight I'm always happy they happen that way. I missed dream jobs, more than once, but if I'd got them, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. It's all a matter of framing things in a positive way. As a graphic designer, I once worked in studio that made me incredibly anxious and even made me question my competence as a designer. But again, in hindsight, I found this was actually due to their culture, not my ability. But it doesn't change though that at the time it was horrible for me to go through.

Roland DG

6) How do you describe your daily routine?

It's different every day, I just try to work hard consistently. Either way, it's filled with coffee and I generally work late too, when everyone is sleeping. I don't know why, I'm just more productive around that time.

Lettering commissioned by New York based creative, John J Custer

7) What's your favorite media to work with and why?

I love the feeling of oil enamel paint flowing from a fully loaded sign painters brush onto clean glass. That's just something special.

Calligraphy as part of the Desktop Wallpaper Project

8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important.

Do what you love doing. Know why you're doing it. Be nice to people. Back yourself. Be careful whose advice you take on board.

Royal Life Saving Society

9) Tell us five websites that you like to visit.,,,,

Custom lettering for the 2012 Annual Report and meeting of the USGBC.

10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for anyone considering a similar path.

Type design is hard work, only do it because you love it.

Twitter Calligraphy

Written by

Marcos Torres

I'm Marcos Torres, I'm a Graphic Artist from Brasil. You can know more about me at my Website, at my Tumblr or at my Flickr.