19 Jun 2019
Founded in 2005 by Borja Martínez, Lo Siento studio is a team of 6 people who works in design projects from the fields of visual identity, packaging, editorial and carrying out personal projects as well. The studio is specially interested in taking over identity projects as a whole. The main feature of its work is its physical and material approach to the graphic solutions, resulting in a field where graphic and industrial go hand by hand, in a constant search for an alliance with the artisanal processes.
Borja will be speaking at the second #tptalks session on Thursday 20 June 2019 at Le Tank. Registration will open on 11 June 2019!
A recovery of craft processes.
The volume and experimentation with materials rarely used in visual communication is one of the distinguishing features of Lo Siento. How do you usually conceive and develop these projects that successfully combine letters and sculpture?
Borja Martínez It is perhaps the most significant point in our work, which is focused on a recovery of craft processes.
The work with materials is very diverse and it always depends on the kind of project in which we are working. The symbiosis between typography and physical material is a constant in our way of processing projects.
Many of your works are closely related to gastronomy and wines. Is it in part a reflection of your personal passions?
We love eating, drinking and enjoying small pleasures that our environment offers to us. Barcelona enjoys good gastronomic health, it is a privilege to have been born here. That is why the typology of projects is in accordance with our tastes. When you work for something that you are passionate about, the results are more compact.
The graphic designer should know the typography as something basic when he starts to study.
Do you remember when you decided to direct your career to the world of letters? What made you choose that?
I think that the graphic designer should know the typography as something basic when he starts to study since it is a fundamental piece to communicate from my point of view. I have always thought of typography as the central axis when narrating concepts or telling stories behind a commission. When I started studying I was very clear that I wanted to focus on typography and know its history and use, that’s why I studied experimental Typography, that’s when I realized the infinite possibilities that existed when it came to communicating with typography.
When you started, who were the teachers or professionals that most impacted you?
I wanted to be a musician (bass player) and I failed, I also tried to study Industrial design, but I was not too enthusiastic about, but then the admiration for the work that my best friend Pablo Juncadella (Mucho) was doing as a graphic designer opened my eyes and made me jump myself into the void, dedicating all my enthusiasm and time to study graphic design at age 27 in London.
He is therefore the reason of my discovery and that’s why I do what I do today. He opened my eyes… I owe him everything.
The teacher I will never forget what I learned from is Kelvyn Smith from the London College of Printing (now London College of Communication), where I learned what it took to be clear about where I wanted to go.
What drives you to make new typefaces?
The constant experimentation to find new ways to express a message through a letter.
What is your ratio of self-initiated typefaces vs. typeface commissions? Which do you tend to be more passionate about making?
None of the typefaces that we make are coming from commissions, they are all personal proposals within the creative process that surrounds the project itself.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up, then I go to the studio and I start to review the projects we are doing through the eyes of my team. Projects are always in different phases: conceptualization phase, production phase, making mock ups, tests and errors all the time… To find the right idea and design for each one.
Do you prefer a permanent/dedicated workspace, or do you like to keep mobile (i.e. cafes, outdoors etc)
I prefer to have a fixed-place and go moving around the orbit of the space itself.
Favourite kind of music to listen to while working? (or absolute silence)
I listen a bit of everything, but almost always something moderately quiet like Bon Iver or Jorge Drexler, for example, although when I’m in a hurry or before a delivery I listen to funk metal or grunge (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains or Rage against the Machine…)
As a user of type, are you always on the lookout for new typefaces? What are some things that grab your eye the most when you are searching? (e.g. marketing copy, in-use specimens, OpenType features, glyph set, language support etc).
Our typographies are physical and therefore we do not usually create and design the entire family, only in some cases. We don’t have technical knowledge of software for creating typography.
But on the other hand, we are very interested in looking at new typefaces, expressive ones, harmonics, sans or serif to compose several of the branding projects we do.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone wanting to become a designer / type designer / art director?
To study the great typographers, the original ones, the creators; to go and find experimentation making craftsmanship with letters; to make and practice some original typesetting, screen printing or even woodtype, printing; and also to draw many letters as possible to better control the typographic ecosystem.
Thank you very much, Borja!
– Interview by Gina Serret.