Friends on video

Here are some talented people from across Europe whom we like as peers and people. Well, not all are peers, some are too famous to call them that. Not only are they excellent craftswomen and -men, they also are spirited thinkers and artists. We collected a program of videos that give a good idea of who they are, and what they do.

Ukrainian twin virtuosas

Jan: “When I was working on my Gestalten book Hand to Type, Alexei Vanyashin — a Russian in Ukraine — recommended to me to include the twin sisters Viktoria and Vitalina Lopukhiny from Kiev (aka Kyiv). I had a look online, and was immediately convinced. Their calligraphy, lettering and illustration showed the wonderful combination of old-fashioned skill and discpline, a contemporary spirit and sarcastic humor that I’d come to love in Ukrainians. Their videos were at times hilarious. We still haven’t met, but a trip to Kiev should happen soon. This video is in Russian, but the pictures speak volumes.”

Bea Davies makes a magazine

Berlin-based illustrator Beatrice Davies designed Teddings, the Fust & Friends dingbat | icon | picture font to complement Minjoo Ham’s display script Teddy. Meanwhile, she is a mother to Samuel, aka Samurai, and about once a month has posted a contribution to her ongoing site Samurai’s Visual Journal. The blog, which describes the joys and anxieties of a young mother and her kid, has won her many fans. In 2017 Bea decided to publish a paper version of the first 5 years. The b/w interior was printed at her art school, Berlin’s Weißensee Academy, the two-colour risograph cover was printed at Berlin workshop We Make It!. The first edition was sold out in weeks.

Rui Abreu in Lisbon

Rui Abreu is one of a small group of Portuguese type designers who make attractive and usable, yet also quite personal typefaces. The quality and originality of his work reflects his context: the baroque cities of Lisbon and his hometown, Porto — as well as their contemporary cultural sensibilities and cutting-edge institutions. Serious and modest, yet with a quiet ambition, he opens up his world in a well-made interview.

Rui Abreu: Gira typeface

Rui has made a very diverse series of excellent videos to introduce his typefaces. Most of his fonts came out at Fountain Type in Sweden. Its owner Peter Bruhn — whom Rui never met in person — did the music for a few of them, before his untimely death in 2014.

Wim Crouwel. A Submarine Channel video

He’s been the chief of Dutch graphic design for decades. In the mid-1960s he co-founded Total Design, the Netherlands’ first (maybe second) design agency of institutional proportions, and in the 2000s had his exhibition in the London Design Museum (and in many other places), he gave an eloquent description of the postwar functionalist school in the film Helvetica, and he designed dozens of alphabets for specific projects, some of which were made into fonts by The Foundry. Jan “One of my best memories is when he gave me a lift from Breda, where we had brainstormed about the new Museum of Graphic Design, to Amsterdam in his fantastic Morgan, a splendid automobile I had adored when a car catalogue geek in my early teens. Such a friendly man.”

Copperplate by Laura di Piazza

Berlin-based type designer and lettering artist Elena Albertoni founded MAKE! Skilled hands, an almost one-woman organisation that sets ups lettering and calligraphy workshops and occasionally shows movies. Among the people she invited were Mike Meyer, Alejandro Paul, Martina Flor, and Barbara Calzolari. This video documenting a calligraphy workshop by Laura di Piazza was shot and edited by Berlin musician and video maker Ellen Czaya. Her jazzy bass flute is part of the soundtrack, on compositions by Borries Schlüter.

Sebastian Lester: Hand Drawn Logos

Jan says: “I’ve always admired real virtuosity in drawing lettershapes, and Seb Lester is one of his generation’s most remarkable talents. He started out at Monotype, where he designed the extensive Soho and Neo families, showing the way to dozens of type designers of lesser originality. Alongside his type design work he begin designing a long series of baroque, immaculately executed digital lettering pieces, which were beautifully printed in colours like silver or gold on black, and sold in galleries. Having left Monotype, he turned to calligraphy, almost growing up in public and developing amazing virtuosity. This is one of the videos in which he demonstrates how good he is. Pure form, cover versions so to speak, but lovely to watch.”