In this installment of 4 Questions 4, we’re featuring Jackson Cavanaugh, a young freelance graphic designer, independent type designer, and the founder of OkayType, a type design studio in Chicago.
1. How did you get into the business of type design?
I started out as a graphic designer who really only cared about the type. Every project I worked on became totally focused on the typography. Sometimes I was able to convince my bosses to let me draw new letters. Eventually I decided to make a real typeface. It took three years to design Alright Sans, which immediately made me a full time type designer.
2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
Graphic designers seem to be moving past the super-clean, corporate sans-serifs. You know trends have expired when the low end catches up with the high end, and everything looks the same. Instead, I’m seeing an increase in more interesting designs. Typefaces that are still able to put in a full days work, but are slightly off-kilter and interesting. Designers are looking for more expression and authenticity, and this is opening the door for some people doing really interesting (and great) work.
Some of my current favorites:
3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
I’d have to say Harriet. I think the design is pretty good, but mostly it is because I’m constantly amazed by the work being done with it. Websites, magazines, books, brands, just lots of good work. The second most rewarding thing to a type designer is seeing customers use a font really well. The first most rewarding thing is being able to pay rent.
4. Describe your dream project.
It’s a little cheesy but I dream about working with my favorite hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings. They have a historic brand, one of the most timeless in sports. They’re also building a fancy new arena in a city making a big turnaround. I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to look at the typographic atmosphere surrounding that team. I actually have nightmares about going to a game at the arena and seeing all the signage set in a boring hockey cliche like Agency Gothic, or something lazy like Clarendon. Hey, Red Wings people, send me an email and let’s do something worthy of the team!