This talk took place on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union as part of Type@Cooper's Herb Lubalin Lecture Series. The recording is made possible by the generous of Hoefler & Co.
How does one generate ideas for new typeface designs? Ben Kiel and Jesse Ragan will discuss the winding roads to two upcoming releases from their foundry, XYZ Type. One began with Jesse's independent effort to revive a neglected 1967 concept by Rudolph Ruzicka. When a OCD Agency found the typeface's perfect application in Dartmouth College’s identity system, the ongoing project gained new focus and motivation. Another typeface began as Ben's graduate thesis project, a bookish serif face that he'd written off as a learning experience. A proposal for Paypal led him to repurpose its underlying structure for Grep, a sans serif for screen reading. Prolonged dormancy benefitted both of these projects, which gave the designers the chance to critically reflect upon and improve the design of each.
Ben Kiel is a typeface designer, an educator, and a partner in XYZ Type. Ben worked for several years at House Industries, with a specialty in solving complex problems at the overlap of design and technology. He received his MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading. He currently teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis and Type@Cooper.
Jesse Ragan runs the small type foundry XYZ Type with business partner Ben Kiel, and designs custom typefaces and lettering independently in Brooklyn, New York. He has served on the board of directors for AIGA/NY and has taught at Type@Cooper (which he co-founded) and Pratt Institute. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, Jesse started his career at Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Notable past design collaborations include Gotham, Archer, and Omnes.