To celebrate our talented and diverse membership, the TDC profiles one member each month. For October, we are introducing you to typeface designer, Graham Weber, whose responses to our five questions will let you know what’s going on inside the mind of this gifted young creative talent.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do and where you work
My name is Graham Weber, and I am a 14-year-old aspiring type designer, graphic designer, and art director ferociously studying type and graphic design. This past year, I discovered my love for design and began to learn the craft. I am currently building a studio in my house with an old drafting table, a desk, a collection of type specimens, and many instructional and historical books that have been loaned, given, or recommended to me.
Even though I have few finished projects to showcase, as I am mostly in the midst of works-in-progress, I am extremely grateful to have the honor of being selected TDC’s Member of the Month and know that there are many more deserving designers. So although I’ve included one of my own works here, I am featuring work by designers that I admire and hope to learn from and emulate in the coming years. TDC’s recognition will certainly continue to fuel my passion.
What is your favorite typeface? And why?
In my view, a typeface is defined by its design rather than by its usage—the design is the only aspect a type designer is fully and truly able to control. As such, while many might oppose Helvetica because of its connection to globalization and commercialization, I appreciate the beauty in the strength of its counterforms. However, my favorite typeface is a tie between Quarto by Hoefler & Co. and Eames Century Modern by Erik Van Blokland & House Industries.
Quarto specimen by Hoefler & Co. Generously provided by Jonathan Hoefler and Brian Hennings.
From where do you receive your typographic/design inspiration?
I find inspiration for my typographic ideas, interests, and collections in many different places. Essentially, I am captivated by good type and graphic design wherever I see it, but I draw primarily from my wonderful teachers and mentors to whom I am so grateful. I also adore and am inspired by the many lectures I attend at the TDC and Cooper Union and the myriad classes I take at Type@Cooper, SVA, Parsons/The New School, and FIT. In addition, I frequent many museums, libraries, and study centers in Manhattan, such as the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union and the TDC library, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art, my favorite museum. I also spend a lot of time collecting type specimens.
Interpol Serif specimen by Hannes Famira for Famira Fonts
What is your all time favorite piece of design?
My favorite piece of graphic design is, again, a tie. First, I love the 1968 Mexico Olympic identity because I think it functions well as a piece of design while accurately encapsulating the energy produced at those Games. Secondly, I adore the Apple logo because of the way it utilizes negative space. The field of negative space that surrounds the logo helps differentiate it and build its powerful brand identity. Furthermore, I have great appreciation for the Noordzij cube, its design, and its significance and influence in the field of type design. Finally, I am also a huge admirer of designers who step away from the clean, often minimal design approach and use texture and other creative elements to help solve visual problems.
Friends of The High Line branding by the Original Champions of Design.
Where do you see the future in typographic design and typeface design?
I personally see type becoming more widely appreciated as the current trend of democratization continues, with more and more people gaining access to the tools of type creation. Whether this is positive or negative in the long run, I cannot say; however, as I am largely a product of this trend, my current stance is positive. Without the easily obtainable programs of today, there would be little chance that I would even know that the TDC existed, let alone be awarded such an honor as a member!
Looking into the future, I am eager to try to encourage increasing incorporation of experimental psychology into the practice of type design by analyzing and creating typefaces to benefit individuals and society. Specifically, I seek to work on the research and development of studies that inform typefaces that either encourage certain emotional responses such as happiness (in other words, a “happy typeface”) or help ease certain psychological conditions such as anxiety and dysthymia (a “relaxation typeface”). I hope to help run experiments to test the null hypothesis that there is no relationship between typeface style and human emotional response as a springboard to further research into causal type-emotion relationships. Going forward, I aspire to combine my passion for type with my interest in psychology to enable type to communicate more effectively with the human mind and impact emotions in more positive ways.
Public Theatre branding by Pentagram.
What is your favorite aspect of being a TDC member? / What drew you to become a member of the TDC?
Without a doubt, my favorite aspect of being a TDC member has been the community of people I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with over the past year. I truly appreciate the thrill to have been accepted and treated as an equal member of the community even though I am just a humble beginner. Thanks to the support and encouragement of the TDC, I hope to devote my life to my type design passion and to continue developing my skills so that I might one day join the ranks of the incredibly talented professionals who have already given me such kind and generous guidance and advice. The free pretzels at the TDC events are pretty nice, too.
If anyone would like to see my ongoing work, please find me on Instagram, where I post sketches, WIP’s, scans/pictures from collected type specimens, as well as random type and graphic design stuff. Or visit my Behance, where I post more refined graphic design and type specimens. Also, please feel free to get in touch with me directly via email.