Laura Worthington interview
Laura Worthington Interview by Fontmatters presenting the Charcuterie type platform
Laura Worthington (lauraworthingtontype.com) doesn’t need to be introduced to our dedicated audience – she is a renowned artist with her remarkable work in typography and hand-lettering. Origins, Recherche, Samantha Script – these are some of the best examples of Laura’s work. All of them became best-sellers because of their originality, flexibility and authentic look. Her latest impressive and sophisticated work – the Charcuterie font platform – was the reason to make our very first interview with Laura Worthington. We tried to think of interesting and different questions that will give you a different point of view to her marvelous work. Enjoy!
Tell us what is the story behind – how did you decide to create the Charcuterie Type Platform?
Last year I came up with an idea to create a handwriting super family – it would contain several weights, widths and styles and all be based on one primary design, as most super families are. The idea stemmed from the sketchbooks I had kept over the years. From elementary school on, I would take elaborate notes, using various handwriting styles to illustrate my thoughts. I realized that this style/concept could be fun and useful in the course of advertising, packaging, and so on.
I spent a lot of time filling pages full of handwriting to bring this idea to life. As it started coming together, I began to realize that although the concept was interesting, the design itself was, well… boring!
However, I felt that there was merit to the original concept – it just needed to go a different direction. Focusing on only one primary design was part of the problem, the other part was not having enough personality.
I conducted more research on times when hand lettering styles were commonly mixed together in advertising, and it brought me to the early 1900s.
I still wanted it to have a handwritten/hand lettered look and feel to it, so I filled up a pad of graph paper with loads of old timey writing styles with my favorite fountain pen, scanned it in, and the rest is history!
I worked on all of the designs at once (something I had never done before, I typically work on one design at a time to avoid distraction) to ensure they were all distinct from one another, yet related.
Do you think it is correct to describe the Charcuterie as “type platform”.
Absolutely! I’ve also heard it referred to as a collection, system, suite, kit and even gathering. But I like Type Platform… thanks for that one, guys!
Charcuterie represents the typography of early 1900s. How do you feel related with those times?
I grew up in a house built in the 1920s and surrounded by antiques and other vintage items. My mother had a collection of catalogs printed during that time period and I loved how they did advertising back then.
You have created a sophisticated type system – are you going to turn this into your own manner of work and do you believe that creating type system is the future of modern type design?
Good question! I hadn’t given it much thought until now, as I wanted to see if the concept would be successful or not. I had my doubts as to how it would come across, especially since distributors limit the initial font preview to one design, and this one has 13 designs. I worried that the other designs would get lost. So I decided that I would let the marketplace determine the success of the concept. It’s good to take risks!
It seems to be selling well now, so I probably will design other type systems in the future!
Did you know that the Charcuterie is a dream-come-true for every ordinary designer or you thought of this right when you got started?
That’s so nice of you to say that! I was a graphic designer for 15 years before I became a type designer and so I pull from my experience in that world when designing type. I often think back to how I used type, what was helpful to me, what I wanted more of in a font, and so on. I loved having access to a pre-set collection of elements that were specifically designed to go together – it made laying out a page so much easier and the design more cohesive.
Do you think that Charcuterie will let designers who don’t have special skills in typography and calligraphy act like professional type designers and lettering artists?
To an extent, yes! Charcuterie takes the guesswork out of finding fonts that complement one another in a layout.
There is a movement of revival these days – do you feel like part of it and are you happy that your work allows people to get closer to they roots, crafts and arts?
There has been a recent draw back to the days where most everything was handmade and one-of-a-kind. I think this nostalgia is a rebound effect as now, most things are mass produced. Most people have a desire to own something that is unique and hand crafted – to express ourselves and reflect the individuality that we all possess. This is as true with physical products as it is with type. Although all fonts are handmade, some carry through the hand-crafted look more than others, and so they have a special appeal, as does Charcuterie.
What will be your next strike, Laura? Tell us some more about your future plans.
I like to experiment with different styles, so it’s hard for me to say until I sit down to sketch and/or hand-letter my next creation. I think my next design will be a big, fancy, flourishy script though, but we’ll see. Expect another addition the Wallflowers series soon and I’m planning on doing more in the ways of adding decorative elements to all of my fonts too.
Our final question – do you believe that every font matters?
Interview by Fontmatters, ©2013