We have a stunning group of speakers and guests sharing with us this year at TypeParis. We wanted to find out a little more about each of them, so have presented them with a series of questions which they have generously taken the time to answer.
Ian Party is the founder of Newglyph and had designed the complete typographic catalogue for the foundry. His early typographic work can be defined by such prestigious fonts and projects as TheW, SangBleu, Suisse, Romain, NewParis, Vogue, Esquire, Dubai Public Transportation, The RealReal and eBay. Born in Lausanne in 1977, Ian Party started his professional career as a sign painter, later study graphic design at ECAL, then at the type and media program (KABK). He established Swiss Typefaces in 2005. Winner of the Swiss Design Awards in 2005, and Type Directors Club in 2013.
“Graffiti pushed me to be very experimental, to find my own style.”
— Ian Party
How do you think your initial career as a sign painter and your passion for graffitis have influenced your work as a type designer afterwards?
Ian Party I started doing graffiti when I was very young, so it had a big impact on me and my work. It pushed me to be very experimental, to find my own style. I later did a traditional sign painting apprenticeship. This was a very challenging experience, technically speaking it was very difficult. I learned to reproduce and understand curves and lettering design. Window painting and sometimes with gold leaf. I learned to be quick and precise thanks to this experience.
“The so-called Swiss style is still thriving.”
— Ian Party
Is there any way to clearly recognize a contemporary Swiss type design? Which aesthetic feature might be essential to show Swiss personality? After its golden age, does the so-called Swiss style exist anymore?
This is a very interesting question, and I will respond to this question as a practicing professional and not a researcher. From what I see design is very international now, it would be difficult to know if a specific design was created by a Swiss designer. But at the same time, the so-called Swiss style is still thriving. We can see designers internationally being influenced by Swiss design. With that said, Type design in Switzerland itself is a mix of Franco/Swiss and Germanic influences. I’m personally more inclined to a Franco/Swiss style, I’ve been influenced and inspired by French type design history a lot with designers like Fournier, Grandjean, Vafflard and many others. You can feel in my work more of the French type history than the pure Swiss history.
“You can feel in my work more of the French type history than the pure Swiss history.”
— Ian Party
During your creative process, do you draw on paper before switching into the digital workflow?
I rarely draw sketches manually before I start designing digitally. I go straight to drawing digitally most of the time.
What drives you to make new typefaces?
Contemporary graphic design drives me to create new typefaces. Ultimately my goal is to design tools/fonts that inspire graphic designers to develop their projects with.
My goal is to design tools/fonts that inspire graphic designers to develop their projects with.
What do you do to evade yourself from work?
I’m a big fan of cycling, and lately I’ve taken up mountain biking. It’s a great way to clear my mind, but also get inspired.
And what does an ordinary day look like for you?
A typical day for me involves me getting up early, I design for a few hours, then around 11am I go out for a bike ride. I usually design 7 days a week, between 6-9 hours a day.
Thank you very much, Ian!
– Interview by Gina Serret
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