Type legend, Dave Foster, tells us about how he scored his first gig even before he started his studies, how the Optus logotype job made it easier to explain what he does, and his hopes to finish his first solo typeface next year!
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design? I remember being aware of handwriting quite early. Seeing other kids next to me in primary school writing in their exercise books neatly, or even just with different margins than mine that looked nicer, used to make me a little envious. I used to copy my big brother’s handwriting that covered all of his cassette tapes. From there it progressed into enjoying letterforms in the form of graffiti and then I moved onto using photoshop when I was about 14, left school at 16 to attend design college and then it snow balled from there.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? I went to Billy Blue in Sydney. Back then, around 2003 it was very different, a very small school attached to the side of North Sydney Cricket Grounds. Before I went there I’d actually gotten my ABN and done my first job when I was 14 for one of my brother’s friends who worked at NSW fisheries. While I was at uni I did the odd job freelancing here and there, somehow I landed a gig with the pro golfers association in Australia for a bit which was nice. Nothing glamorous or well paid, but it was good to get my hands dirty.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I give a visual form to language. I do this by creating fonts, drawing lettering and occasionally writing calligraphy. The purpose of this is to help people communicate in the best way possible. Ideally, when they aren’t there to speak to their audience, their message and the typography supporting it looks a certain way to convey the right tone as if they were. In that way it’s a kind of a conduit for them, or an ambassador.
What has been your highlights since you started out? After losing my first attempt, I applied a second time to win the Arts NSW Traveling scholarship and was accepted into the Type and Media masters at Royal Academy of Art in Den Haag. These two things happening in conjunction was an amazing moment in my life. Afterwards, winning the Morisawa Type Design Competition with my graduating project was a cherry on top. Since then as far as client work goes, working with everyone I really wanted to within the type design community has been a huge learning experience that has been hugely developmental and recently doing the Optus logotype was great because it makes explaining my job much easier to people I meet.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months? Along with the typically client work I really hope to finish my first solo typeface and launch my type foundry!