Typographic Unicorns: into Arthur Reinders Folmer’s fantastic world

#ColorFontWeek 💝 Valentine’s Edition — Day 3

February 13, 2019

This interview is part of a collaboration between Fontself & Adobe to spread the word about color fonts. Learn more on #ColorFontWeek website & Adobe’s post.

Arthur Reinders Folmer started in the design field as a pre-press worker/lithographer. After a few years splitting his time between his day-to-day job and his personal creative work, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Art in Hague where he broadened his skills in graphic design and found his own niche.

After graduating, Arthur Reinders Folmer’s type practice consisted essentially in experimenting with type. In 2017, he took a step forward and launched his own type foundry along with a trio of fonts. Focused on illustrative and conceptual typeface the foundry named Typearture is a mashup of type, Arthur, and adventure !” Interview below👇

Utopian Initials, a series inspired by historiated initials.

How did you get into type design ?

Typography and calligraphy were an important part of the graphic design course in The Hague, and type design was one of the main subjects. I wasn’t very good at it, but later I started to enjoy creating type, and the type design teachers encouraged me in my experiments. My graduation unexpectedly became heavily type based, I thought it was a good idea to keep going.

One of the reasons I love typefaces is that it’s a voice in a small data package, and anyone can install and use it. I’m always looking for different ways to use this package.

What is your creative workflow for lettering & type?

I’ve find out that it helps me to take my time. I can shelf a project for an afternoon or some days, even if there is a deadline or I can start again from scratch, just to explore possibilities with pen and paper. I like to do a soft reset: go for a walk, or spend traveling time doodling different approaches on a project. Usually this helps me getting a grip on an idea, and the rest flows from there. Afterwards I still have to spend a lot of time on sketching and digitizing the proper shapes, but with the idea solidified, this can go quite fast.

“i”, Magical Unicorn Neue Pro
Pegacorn type — “Magic”

What was your reaction when you first heard about color fonts?

I had seen experiments with color typefaces before, but I got excited when the main browsers and desktop apps started to support color fonts. Designers will say pre-set color palettes will limit designs, but this is an issue that can be solved, depending on the type of color font.

Color fonts give non-professional app users more possibilities to create vibrant typography, without having to use intricate layering. And I see possibilities in branding and campaigns, where the font is often standardized. Even non-design parties would be able to adjust assets this way.

“i”, Magical Unicorn Neue Pro type

Tell us about your inspiration & process to make your color font?

The font is a redesigned version of my older unicorn font, Magical Unicorn. The original unicorns were made as a project for my graduation and Magical Unicorn font was the first typeface I gave a real release. I made the unicorn font for people with a healthy unicorn obsession. Now they could set their texts in the shape they love most!

vs. Magical Unicorn first versionMagical Unicorn Neue Pro

But I felt the unicorns were outdated and needed an upgrade, and more important: more languages needed to be able to type in unicorn! Redrawing from scratch, I ended up with Magical Unicorn Neue Pro. I think it’s quite deserving of that name, as unicorns are quite professional.

What challenges did you face when designing your color font?

Complex illustrative shapes are always a challenge, but mostly need an investment of time. As I already made a unicorn typeface before (and also the Pegacorn Initials), I could focus on different things than just the A-to-Z: How do you keep the other characters interesting, how do you avoid repetition? The punctuation, numbers and math characters had to work well together, but shouldn’t become boring.

Experimenting with different shapes, I ended up with using rainbows, clouds and stars as ingredients for the extra characters. This made a perfect fit for the unicorns world !

What advice would you give to someone interested in making their own color fonts?

Just don’t try to push for too much detail at first so the design remains easy to handle. Low on inspiration? Grab an old design project and create a color font companion for it, or experiment with the type of old movie posters & comics.

Whose lettering would you love to see turned into color fonts?

I’d love to see something done with the amazing chromatic work of Jean Midolle. Part of me says to let it be, as any revival wouldn’t be good enough, but otherwise I’m quite interested in how a complete typeface based on the designs would look.

From left to right, letters from the Spécimen des écritures modernes… portfolio: Gothique Composée; Midolline; Alphabet Lapidaire Monstre; Alphabet Diabolique, Emile Simon fils press, France, 1835. Source : Letterform Archive

Thanks Arthur!

Go ahead and check Arthur’s amazing work!
Website: https://www.typearture.comInstagram:www.instagram.com/typearture/

You can download the font Magical Unicorn for free with its Valentine’s card during #ColorFontWeek on https://www.fontself.com/colorfontweek/#magicalunicorn
And you can also use it for free on your mobile within the Fontself app: https://m.fontself.com/8vU83L3j7T

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