It’s no secret that Rick Banks is something of a HypeForType hero round here. The multi-faceted designer and brains behind London’s cutting-edge Face37 Studio, Rick has enjoyed an exciting year of book deals, new fonts and big design adventures.
When we last spoke with Rick he had just unveiled the much-admired Ginger Rounded, and now another Banks creation, F37 Jan, is set to arrive at HypeForType, it’s high time we checked in once more with one of our favourite designers …
Hello there Rick, and welcome back to HypeForType. The last time we chatted, you were feeling pretty positive about the state of typography, praising a surge in new independent foundries and seeing all kinds of companies commissioning their own bespoke typefaces. Have you noticed those trends continue, and is your enthusiasm still riding high?
Yes, the enthusiasm is thankfully still high. I’ve been seeing some really great bespoke work happening for huge clients, and within my own client base I’ve just completed the design of an icon/dingbat font for Lloyds Bank. Over 100 icons were produced to complement their current styling. That’s a great job for a designer to work on as it’s quite a different skill-set than drawing letters alone.
The response has really been great and I would love to collaborate with Milton Glaser again, maybe on his 1970 Einstein font!
Earlier this year you published a niche and fascinating book with Craig Oldham about the banned art of the football undershirt slogan. How did that cool project turn out?
The book has been a great success for us. The reception to is has been amazing. A major highlight was seeing it on the Soccer AM show where Robbie Fowler played a game to guess each of the celebrations pictured in the book. There are still a few copies available to buy, and it would make a great Christmas gift by the way!
In our last HypeForType interview, Ginger Rounded was just being unveiled to the design world, and now it’s time for us to share the stunning new F37 Jan sans serif with our followers. Can you talk us through the genesis of this particular font and how it has been developed?
The name ‘Jan’ is for the German typographer and book designer, Jan Tschichold. When I was studying at university, I heard a lecture on Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, a font designed for the AT&T telephone directory. I loved the way that the huge ink traps and large counters dramatically improved the readability of the lettering. This particular kind of technical drawing ensured that the characters would survive the method of high-speed printing on poor quality paper. I was inspired by both this and by Jan Tschichold’s untitled sans serif font. Early on in his career, Tshichold loved geometry and I used this as an inspiration for my new font Jan.
What do you think previous generations like Jan Tschichold would have made of the expansive digital world of fonts today?
Well, strangely enough Tschichold totally abandoned all his Modernist principles later on in his career, so I have no idea!
What’s next on the agenda for Face37?
We have a new font named Jagger which is getting released in January, along with a F37 font foundry website. So definitely exciting times.
Thanks to Rick as ever for his enthusiasm and inspiration. If you want a little Banks magic in your designs, why not check out our full range of F37 fonts, and especially why not treat yourself to the perfect synthesis of digital and vintage that is F37 Jan.