Original Interview: November 2013

Robbie North

Robbie is a Sydney based student finishing up this semester. He took part in our THREESOME in Sydney this year with Kit Palaskas and Luke Anderson. We chat to him about his love of typography and what he plans to do next…

Where are you studying and when do you graduate?
I studied Communication Design at Billy Blue in Sydney and graduating in October 2013.

What extra curricular activities have you taken part in whist studying to boost you work experience/networks?
Through the last half of the degree I really discovered a passion for calligraphy and lettering as it really suited my skill set I had as a designer. I went to one of the first Type by Hand workshops by Wayne Thompson held in Newcastle with a few friends and was introduced into the more structured side of type design rather then the illustrative lettering which I had been doing. So that lead me to want to know everything I could about type design so I found a bunch of books such as The Stroke by Gerrit Noordzij, The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Binghurst and Designing Type by Karen Cheng and was inspired by their theories on typography. The whole time I had kept a few sketch books and would sketch out some of the forms I saw in order to better understand them.

Then in August I went to Field Trip in Sydney to see type designer Dave Foster speak. Dave showed us some of his drawing techniques, his workflow and the amount of work that goes into creating a typeface, from seeing this it really pushed me even further to want to be able to do this type of work.

Robbie North

Whats your plan for when you finish?
Having just finished I have pretty much just been doing bar work and reading books while working on a few lettering projects to add to the portfolio for when I start searching for a internship at the start of 2014. I’m also going to Japan for two weeks to eat food.

Dream job in Australia?
I’m not sure what my dream job would be, I have aspirations of becoming a type designer and with the lack of type foundries in Australia working for myself seems like the best option in the future. That or travelling abroad to work in The Netherlands, Germany or America sounds great to me.

Robbie North

Where do you go for inspiration?
Being interested in type its easy to find inspiration as its everywhere, good or bad it can still inspire you but one of my favourites would be checking out all the amazing script and type on alcohol bottles. Working in a bar I get caught staring and bottles sometimes, I get weird looks…

Online there are so many amazing people doing great work such as:
Keith Morris, www.keithmorris.com.au
Dave Foster, www.fostertype.com
Dan Milne, www.typelab.co
Troy Leinster, www.typeofday.blogspot.com.au
Kris Sowersby, www.klim.co.nz

Any personal projects you have to share?
During my last semester at Billy Blue I did a logo for one of my projects, Congr and since finishing have been developing it into a typeface. The logo was for a online start up so I thought a san serif face would be fitting. It was inspired by gothic and grotesk typefaces such as National by Kris Sowersby, Akkurat by Laurenz Brunner, Helvetica and Bell Gothic. At the moment the lower case and numbers are beginning to look close to finished with capitals and punctuation still to go.

Robbie North