Dalton Maag – Typography Talk

What lies beneath

I was privileged to have attended a talk on Typography by the company Dalton Maag. We were introduced to Bruno Maag and Tom Foley who talked about some important facts about their lives and their passion for Type. Bruno Maag is originally from Switzerland who had an apprenticeship as a typesetter for the Tages Anzeiger, Switzerland’s largest daily paper, before  becoming chairman of his own company ‘Dalton Maag’.  Tom Foley studied Graphic Design at Limerick University, Ireland, before going to complete a Masters in the subject at Central Saint Martins, London. Foley now works for Dalton Maag as a Creative Director.

Bruno began the talk by giving a brief history of where Type originated and how over time type has been changed and modified to different cultures. I found this to be very interesting and it was clear that Bruno was very passionate about this subject. However what I found to be most interesting was the core of their work, their Custom Fonts, their work on Logo Refinement, Library Fonts and Font Modification.

They started by discussing their work for the company ‘Lush’, and the process behind creating a handmade typeface. Lush hosted a writing workshop and tested out many different handwritings to see which one worked best for that company. Once they had the type they preferred, they asked Dalton Maag to digitalize and refine the typeface so that it would show on their websites and any other online use. Dalton Maag succeeded to create this unique typeface so that their brand identity is recognised globally.

They then went on to discuss their work with Intel, and how they went through a process of re-branding over four years. When Tom first got the project it was clear that the company’s identity was rather dated, so he knew straight away that it needed to be more consumer friendly. Using their research strategy, Ideation, Design Concept, Concept refinement and Execution they started on the project. After learning about the design strategy behind each typeface, I was completely mesmerised. For every typeface they have not only considered the style, but the file size, Kerning, Hinting, how it would look on different forms of technology and even how it would look in different languages. They must also consider that if they make one simple mistake it could cost them a lot of money to fix.

Bruno and Tom finished their talk with some important advice that you should always consider before starting a project or working with a consumer. Even though I learnt a lot from the points, the one that influenced me most was, to always be aware of your target audience. This is something that I was very much aware of  throughout my most recent project whilst creating a campaign for young children. You also need to consider different cultures, especially within Typography, because some countries have different rules of practice for what they can or cannot use.

I have definitely been inspired by Bruno and Tom, their clear sense of passion for the subject made it even more worthwhile. I now have a better understanding of what it takes to create  different typefaces and how much work, time and effort  has been put into the creative process. I feel like I have a whole new perspective on how I see type being used for different brands, and how changing the font of a company can give it a whole new look!



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