Samuel Forbes

A big congrats to Samuel Forbes, one of our 30 TDK Awards’ winners for 2018. A Massey University graduate from Wellington, their work was chosen by Alberto from Tres Tipos Gráficos: “He is really deep into trends and experimentation but he also shows a very versatile portfolio. He takes good care in production process and experiments with print techniques. He also shows good layout composition skills, spontaneous handwritten intervention on designs and a very strong typographic palette. He has a strong character and definitely understands very well the rules of disruptive editorial design”. We asked Samuel to answer a few questions for next years TDK Awards’ hopefuls.

What are some of your earliest creative memories, and what lead you into design?

I couldn’t say exactly… and while I’m sure this wasn’t the first. I do remember, at a young age, cutting out logo(type)s from various magazines and pasting them in a sticker-bomb-like fashion all over my primary school workbooks.

These days a lot of inspiration comes from DJ-ing, and in part collecting records: artwork from record labels such as Hyperdub and Modern Love; Trilogy Tapes and Honest Jon’s, for which we can thank Will Bankhead.

I have become interested in the way we contextualise the determinations of sound, and music, through our own sensory capacities and sensibilities. These determinations, and their sonically affective processes, become encoded as atmospheres, ambiances or ‘moods’; this chain of affective reactions auditioning a kind of sonic semiotic. I wonder, as designers, how might we consider a visuality which prioritises these atmospheres, ambiances or moods, over generic visualisations of sound, and music such as spectrograms….or similar.

Any passion projects/collaborations you would like to share?

Early last year I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Poland. Since then I have been slowly developing a typeface based on what I perceived at the time to be ‘intrinsically Polish type’. This examination was based on ethnographic research of the textual genres of this typographic landscape. More specifically, an old book I found in an antique store titled Rocznik Warszawski.

The book lists the names of families who lived in Warsaw from 1959–1963. I was immediately drawn to the type and it’s uniquely handwritten character. This type only existed in the title and appeared nowhere else in the book. So far the working name for this revival of sorts is Górnośląska, the street I lived on during my stay.

Design work by Samuel Forbes The Design Kids interviews Samuel Forbes work-2

What advice would you give students starting out?

While I am just starting out myself… I would say, never compare your self to others. Everyones’ situation is different and other people’s opportunities do not lessen your own.

Also, (and it goes without saying) being a good designer doesn’t make you a good person. But, I think, being a good person will make you a better designer, or at least someone more bearable to work with.

Who are your top five designers right now globally?

In recent times I have been inspired by the likes of David Rudnick, particularly his lecture at the Strelka Institute, French studio Intercouleur, Czech type foundry Heavyweight (Jan Horčík + Filip Matějíček) and Kelvin Soh of DDMMYY here in New Zealand. However my utmost respect goes to friend and mentor Seb McLauchlan. You can check out his typeface Ginto at ABC Dinamo.

Design work by Samuel Forbes The Design Kids interviews Samuel Forbes work-4
Design work by Samuel Forbes The Design Kids interviews Samuel Forbes work-4

Where to find Samuel Forbes online.

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