Typographic Malaise

Sometimes I get bored of typography. Lately I’ve just seen the same stuff over and over again; the same kind of websites, the same kind of aesthetic, the same letters. They’re on billboards and websites and printed in books, and this rut has gotten so bad that I fear I’ve seen everything that typography is capable of. In moments like these, my gloomiest of graphic design troughs, I start to fear that typography is no longer mysterious and scary or as wondrous as it once was.

I notice this rut in my own work, too!

“Doesn’t this new side project look like your old website?” my partner C says to me one night as she looks over my shoulder, not realizing that this one comment has already become a core memory and is beginning to crush me into a tiny dot of shame and embarrassment that I will never recover from.

Perhaps my lack of creativity—my repetition in theme and style and typography—stems from my inability to find the edge of what’s new and exciting. “Bad inputs, bad outputs,” as Austin Kleon says.

But then there are moments like this one, right now, where I’m watching this talk by Kateryna Korolevtseva from back in May at ATypI Paris. I have a cup of tea in hand and all of a sudden typography is exciting and dangerous and vital all over again. Kateryna’s talk is all about Ukrainian graphic design and it’s given me a royal kick in the noggin. Just look at what’s possible! Graphic design can be just a bunch of letters thrown around but it can also be this: rebellious and punk and fighting for something worthwhile.

Kateryna’s talk says to me: look, you haven’t seen nothin’ yet. In fact, you’ve barely even scratched the surface. Everything is still possible!

There’s so much wonderful work to point at in the talk but I also can’t keep my eyes off of Gart Mono, a typeface by Kateryna. Unfortunately it’s not available just yet as it’s still a work in progress but the moment I can get my hands on this thing I’m going to redesign the hell out of my website.

And oh what a day that will be.