Can you introduce yourself ?
I didn’t attended artistic studies. I have a diploma
in telecommunications but since I really didn’t cared about the matter,
I’ve forgot almost everything. My passion for design came from the fact
that I used to draw. I started drawing as a child and when came the
time to find a job I decided to find a work somewhat related with drawing.
I started working in a typesetting bureau, where I discovered the Macintosh
Why have you decided to design typefaces ?
Well, thinking of it now I can see that I’ve been always fascinated by letterforms. I used to watch in awe Letraset catalogues and I can say that I always loved writing and drawing, and I appreciated letters for their visual appearance. When I discovered FontStudio (which is the program that I still use, despite the fact it doesn’t work on recent machines) I was fascinated by the precision the program offers and its architecture on two layers (background and foreground) allowed construction on the first and design on the second.
My first attempt at designing typefaces was in a geometric
fashion. I designed a typeface partly based on the proportions of Neville
Brody’s Industria trying to convey a more elegant, serif feel.
It wasn’t so original but it’s not ugly. It will be released on a collection
Dirk Uhlenbrock (Fontomas)
has assembled whose profit will go to the international humanitary organization
Worldvision-Germany for a children project. My first serious
typeface has been Ottomat, available from Emigre, whose original
name was Tomazooma. I loved the original name a lot, but we’ve
had to change it for legal reasons.
Where does your inspiration come from ?
can say that it depends from typeface to typeface. However, as I deepen
my interest and embrace more the richness of the letterform (we can
say that I’m getting really serious about working on and about type),
I see a few points that are always present in my work.
On a second hand I love the proportions of classic text faces, like the types of Garamond or Jenson, having a strong roman influence and an influence of the chancery cursive for the italics. So, even in bizarre fonts, I love to incorporate tiny but so important basic rules, i.e. giving rythm to the caps and the lowercases alike (and you obtain this varying the width between one letter and the other, for example), using ascenders that visibly surpass caps-height.
Third, and it might be evident observing my few commercial
releases, I am fascinated by how much you can change the shape of a
letter without losing its identity. This emerges in particular from
the mysterious transitions we find in the history of the alphabet, first
of all the one from uppercase to lowercase forms. In a word, I love
to decide what is uppercase and what is lowercase, challenging the long-adopted
On what project are you working today ? And in the next future ?
I have many ideas, which have to develop in the necessary time. First I’m working to finish two typefaces, Ogilve and Squatront, which are my first typefaces (if we don’t count Fear Unknown) designed entirely on the Mac. However, they are very different. Ogilve will be released by Thirstype late in 2002 and Squatront will be submitted to Thirstype as well.
A desire I have is to start a series of "promotional"
pieces, in the form of a postcard and a specimen folder for each one
of my typefaces, also for the ones already on sale. Thru emigre, in
addition, I’ll do a booklet in their own series about Ottomat,
but this promotion is supported by Emigre with their funds. WhatI’d
like to start doing is specimens, like in the good old days of lead
typography or photosetting, specimens on the history between that particular
face and on how to use it. These are meant to be given only to people
purchasing the typefaces, not for free.
However, most of the essays for the book are still to
be done, and many typefaces in my selection have to be addressed yet.
If anyone with a honest typographical culture and wide-open mind wishes
to contribute, I encourage them to write me.
Can you tell us more about the Italian typographic landscape ?
Well, I usually don’t do custom typefaces for clients.
About contemporary designers I can’t see a lot of people doing interesting
things, in my humble opinion. Just because we’re good friends I mention
Fabrizio Schiavi, whose early releases have been sold through FontShop
and T-26. Fabrizio now runs his own thing (www.fsd.it),
doing web and type design.