This month, to go along with our fantastic Yellow Design Studio Mega Bundle, we’ve spoken to Ryan Martinson, the type-champ at Yellow Design Studio, to learn a little more about him and the studio he runs with his partner Rena.
Sometimes there’s a font you just can’t get enough of. Skitch is one of those, with personality flowing from every hand-drawn serif. Friendlier than that dog from the next street who got a bit up-close-and-personal with your leg, it doesn’t matter what you say with Skitch because anyone looking at it smiles by default. If the ligatures, alternatives and multilingual support wasn’t already enough for you, Skitch has a selection of borders big enough to fit the whole gang, and they are ready to grow with you, without being too pushy like your 7th grade maths teacher. And for a little bit of fun and fancy, it’s got a set of ornaments too, which will tickle every funny bone within arms’ reach.
When you and Rena decided to set up Yellow Design Studios, what were the main stumbling blocks you encountered? What do you wish you’d known back then that you know now?
We started Yellow Design Studio as a graphic design business, and our early intentions were to grow the business, gain clients and continue on that path. We both loved the creative aspects of graphic design, but client relations and sales were definitely not our strong suit. It can be difficult, thankless work trying to start from scratch and drum up enough business to be successful. At some point we realized that we needed to find a new direction, so we sort of evolved into areas that we were more interested in. Rena pursued her artwork and I focused on type design. While I have absolutely no regrets, if I were able to do it over again I would have started designing fonts sooner.
Wausau is a font which makes it easy to give your design an incredible dichotomy of distress and decoration. With four fantastic levels of faded and a full set of ornamental capitals, Wausau will do whatever you need it to. Find the perfect balance and then rest assured that the OpenType features and double-letter ligatures will stop you from having doubled up distress in adjacent letters.
Most designers work across a wide variety of design work, from branding & logo design, packaging, etc. but you work purely on typography & font design. Do you ever get bored of that, or does has it kept the same appeal as it had initially?
It still has the same appeal. I worked in graphic design for about 15 years before I switched to font design, so I did my share of logos, etc. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it had its drawbacks. I was happy when clients liked my work, but got pretty whiny when they didn’t. Since I started making fonts I’ve never wanted to go back. One of best things about type design is I have no one else to answer to, and that freedom is awesome. And I always try to challenge myself with each new design, so I haven’t felt any kind of boredom yet.
Never before has grunge looked so good. Veneer is a font family which could have walked out of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it’s still smart enough to take to your Nan’s for Sunday Dinner. With three different levels of distress available for this lovely letterpress, choose your own level of dishevelled. And, because it would be just plain rude for it to come all the way from the apocalypse without bringing something for you, Veneer comes with a set of awesome extras ready to decorate your design with all their high-resolution, grungy glory.
What has been your favourite font to work on, and why? And did it turn out as well as you hoped?
That’s a tough call, but I’d say Gist was probably my favourite to work on. It’s my most experimental family to date and I really got into drawing all the alternates. I actually started the family twice. My first attempt turned out too uptight and fancy, and I wanted something edgier. The second time around was just what I was shooting for. When I look at it now I see a few things I could tweak, but overall I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Like that one friend we all have, who fits effortlessly into any situation, Gist looks comfortable and natural whatever the use. With over 600 glyphs per weight, you can have endless fun customising it, bending and shaping it to your specification – and it will just take it all in its stride with the kind of elegant adaptability which dictates who comes out on top in the survival of the fittest. If you’re not convinced of the awesomeness of Gist you can take Gist Light home with you for free, on us – we know you’ll be back for more soon enough.
Have you ever seen any of your fonts ‘in situ’ so to speak – out in the wild, on other designers’ works? What was that experience like?
Yes, I have! It’s always a great feeling and one of the best parts about designing type. Just a couple weeks ago on my way home I saw a new billboard for Miller Brewing with some giant sized Thirsty Script on it. Made my day!
Yellow Design Studio’s flagship font, the one and only Thirsty Script, is a fusion of retro and modern, which, like a paisley patterned Prius, will speed into your life and get the party started. Thirsty will bring its friends, six weights and six sets of shadows, making sure you’ll never need to turn the music off. Hanging from the disco ball to tempt you onto the dance floor is the bold shadow set which you can take home for free to try out – a welcoming glint in its eye as it shows you the contextual alternatives, ligatures, and other OpenType delights you can expect from the full set.
Do you have any advice for budding font designers? What about for anyone looking to set up their own studio?
For anyone interested in trying font design my advice would be just go for it. Commit to finishing a font, try to make it great, put it out there and see what happens. I hope nobody who wants to get into it doesn’t because of fears they might not be good enough or that they don’t know how. All the knowledge needed is just a Google search away. If you can finish one font that’s an achievement in itself, and by the end you’ll know if it’s your thing or not.
If Veneer’s the biker-jacket wearing punk who charms your Nan, Melany Lane is your sweet little sister who’s been there since eight helping to prep the veg. With that adorable charm inherent in hand-drawn fonts, Melany Lane can accommodate for all situations, with a mind-blowing array of OpenType features, such as alternate glyphs, ligatures, swashes, and old style figures. Create quirky combinations with the set of matching ornaments and the free set of seamless patterns. Melany Lane is just so darned nice that she’s everyone’s best friend.
Last but not least, what are your most loved and most hated fonts?
Some of my most loved fonts are Klavika by Eric Olson, Archer by Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Mosh by Eduardo Recife and Battery Park by Rian Hughes. They’re all so incredible, each in their own way. The same list is also my most hated…due to my competitive nature. I’d like to personally say to each of their designers, “damn you for being so good!”
Take your message and turn it up to eleven with the all-caps splendour of Anodyne. When it was growing up, Anodyne misheard all caps as All Blacks, and can often be found charging around with a rugby ball or doing the Hakka to get its point across. It eats standard fonts for breakfast whilst flexing its double letter ligatures and distress variations. Despite this it still gives you control of the reins and allows you to choose through the layers of shadowing and textures to ensure that this team is configured exactly how you like it.
As mouth-wateringly vintage as your favourite leather satchel, Magesta’s four weights could have jumped into your life from a sepia photograph. Bursting with a contagious level of energy and a lust for the modern world that only a time-travelling letterpress font can have, it’s the quirky misalignment and idiosyncratic details which make sure it stands out from the crowd. So well textured you’ll want to rub your hand across it, Magesta’s gorgeous glyphs and OpenType support will be enough to fill any piece of parchment paper you’ve got.
The quality of the fonts on offer in this bundle is really mind-blowing, and every time YDS announce a new release we’re on the edge of our seats to see it, but until then you’ve got until the end of the month to get your hands on this show stopper of a bundle, so don’t wait, get it while it’s yellow.
Get the Yellow Design Studio Mega Bundle now, for only £19 ☞ Save £1,080.