We had the chance this week to interview Andrei Robu one of the leading typographers based in Bucharest, Romania and Bankok Thailand. As founder of Typeverything, Designers go to Heaven and Calligraphi.ca he worked for agencies like Leo Burnett and more around the world. Here is what he has to say about working, life and typography.
1. How did you came to type? What is your artistic background?
It was just a few years after the communist system fell in 1989, and I remember asking my father, who was a captain in the commercial navy, to bring me rap mixtapes to listen to. Through music I discovered the other elements of hip-hop, like breakdancing and graffiti. I used to trade for foreign rap magazines with the other kids. These mags would have a few pages with graffiti and I was just mesmerised looking at them, trying to decipher these hieroglyphics. It was just all I did every day. I redrew them and then try to write my name. It was awesome!
So my way into typography was through hip hop. I understood that every big graff piece it’s structured around the artists signature.
So I kept practicing for some years until my handwriting got better. And today calligraphy for me it’s still about that: the flow of the letters and the balance.
2. Why do you love typography?
I guess it was love at first sight. Like a highschool sweetheart. I’ve found what I love to do and made it my profession.
It’s like meditating with your eyes open. Each stroke of pencil is pure pleasure. The sound of the paper. Don’t get me started.
3. Can you tell us about your way of designing?
After more than a decade in this business I got to have some experience with people. I have my own rules on how to avoid this new wave of unscrupulous speculators. So the first thing is to ask for an advance. Especially with new clients with whom I don’t have a work history.
4. What tools do you use for the design process?
Pencil and paper. Coffee. Travelling.
5. Where do you get inspired of?
I probably have a collecting disorder. As you probably already know, I can’t stop creating blogs. I figured if I keep collecting images, the least I can do is share them with the world, so others can be inspired. That’s the reason behind Typeverything, Designers Go To Heaven and Calligraphica.
The web provides a big-brother-ish eye into every magazine, city, or old ephemera collections you can think of. From there I just do as a kid: I look at stuff and try to redraw it. If you do that, don’t post it on Instagram as your work, that’s a big No No.
6. What is your favourite typeface?
I’m a script guy, so I’m more into the vintage looking script type used for old shop logos or stuff like that. Anything swashy.
I’m not devoted to one typeface, I’ll just pick the right one for the project.
I enjoy looking at Lubalin’s body of work. His typefaces are just delicious.
7. Please finish the sentence: “In an ideal world, typography to me would be…”
In an ideal world, typography to me would be… exactly how it is.
8. Did you ever had crisis or problems in your daily design life?
Ofcourse. Who doesn’t?
We all have turning points and doubts and have to take steps into the unknown, but that’s the beauty of it all.
At the beginning of my career I had to work for 16 hours/day to pay rent. I got screwed for huge amounts of money by friendly clients. I used to work for an agency. I used to own an agency. I used to be so stressed when going to work. If you’re patient you’re going to learn how to deal with any type of situation and change it to your advantage.
9. What is the most joyous ot most attractive part of typography for you?
Type lettering. Finding the perfect balance between letters and swashes. That’s my rush. I can spend days studying one word. Writing it in every style possible just to find the perfect shape for it to illustrate the right emotion.
10. What comes next?
Work wise I have no idea. I’ve almost finished designing a new typeface. I enjoy painting from time to time.
I’m actually living the dream. I get to work for 5-6 months and then travel for at least two. I’m usually based in Bucharest but I’ve been living in Bangkok for the past 6 months. I’m going to Bali for one month and then going back to Europe. And I’ve been happily doing this for two years now. Got to see Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines. So next is – more travelling.
Life is good.
Thanks to Andrei Robu for the deep insight that typography can also be born of hip hop and come to a balance within the years. We love your idea that it is a blance for the eyes. It really is and that’s why we love typography and to present you people working with this profession because they love it. Spot his awesome work also in Instagram and keep on creating!