The E-Mail Interviews: James T. Edmondson

EDMONDSON1

Hi all! We’re back with the second in our series of e-mail interviews. Sorry it took so long! As it turns out, people are just as anti-social digitally as they are in real life. But out of the ashes of silence rose a burning phoenix of insight and information: James T Edmondson.

If you aren’t personally familiar with James’ work (you probably are and don’t even know), then get ready. James is responsible for several of the beautiful typefaces found on at the Lost Type Co-op, a pay-what-you-can font foundry for personal use fonts. These typefaces have become extremely popular and prolific, appearing in many venues of high-profile advertising and design work.

So without further ado…

From: James T. Edmondson
To: Command G

1. How do you create a concept for a typeface? Where do you begin?

I usually begin with very rough sketches on graph paper in my sketchbook. From there I move to more refined drawings that I scan and import into FontLab.

2. What kind of tools and software do you use for creating a typeface? Do you have any tips for designers who are interested in making their own typefaces?

Everyone’s workflow is different, I’m currently in a transition from FontLab to a UFO workflow. For designers starting out, I recommend taking a look at Glyphs.

3. Which typefaces and designers have inspired your type designs?

This is a hard questions, because it feel like every piece of type or lettering I’ve ever looked at has influenced my work. House Industries has been a constant source of inspiration for years. It’s a dream of mine to get to that level of quality someday.

4. What are your methodologies for transferring hand-drawn letters and logotypes to a clean digital format? How do you transfer physically created designs to the digital realm without the inevitable imperfections of the hand coming with it?

Drawing is an art form, and tracing drawings with Bezier curves is an art form as well. Drawing might be more important, but I take pride in my vectors as well. It is a time consuming but enormously enjoyable process. When I was little I would play with legos for hours at a time. Drawing curves feel very much the same to me.

5. When a typeface becomes popular, do you think that it’s integrity can be damaged? There’s no doubt that several of your typefaces have become widely prolific due to their easy obtainability through Lost Type. Do you worry that any of your work might get worn out?

Yes I do worry about that, but at the moment I’m just pleased that people are finding them useful. My only objective at the moment is to improve as much as possible. Seeing other people using my fonts exposes mistakes within them and makes the next release higher quality, so ultimately, I think it’s a positive thing.

6. Which are your favorite and least favorite letters to design?

For scripts I love F, S, L, 2, 5, and 7. Weird, no lowercase in there. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lowercase, but those are more fun to write than to draw. j has been a lifelong favorite.

For sans stuff I like R, a, and g. The sterling is just a thing of beauty.

Thanks for the questions, and please let me know if you have any more.

Best,
James

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