Laura Worthington is a hand-lettering artist, calligrapher, and type designer who has published more than 80 typefaces. She is a pioneer in the production of collections, or families, of different display styles, which work together to evoke a particular aesthetic. Laura’s work has been featured in numerous publications, and her type designs have received awards of excellence from Communication Arts, and featured in year’s best lists in Typographica and MyFonts. We’re so pleased that she joined us for our mini-interview series, 4 Questions 4.
How did you get into the business of type design?
I consider my current career to be a merger of two things: I’ve been into calligraphy and lettering since I was quite young, and before I became a typeface designer I was a graphic designer for about 15 years. So type has been an extension and continuation of both. Calligraphy gave me my foundation, an intimate understanding of the structure and form of letters, and taught me how to create them with natural media tools. Graphic design provided me with an understanding of digital tools, how typefaces are used, and how to develop systems.
What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
I’m really liking what’s happening in the display type world with hand-lettered fonts. I think they’ve become so expressive, unique, and innovative. The barriers to entry into type design are relatively low, as type design software becomes more affordable and so many new distributors come on board to resell typefaces. There’s been such an explosion of interest in lettering in the last couple of years. It’s inspiring to see, and it’s been a boon to the type design industry, especially in the realm of display type.
Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
I would say Charcuterie. I designed it back in 2013, and took a huge risk in doing so. Very few collections were out at the time, and the concept of a collection was still very new. I showed it to several of my friends, and got a very underwhelming response from most of them! They were confused about what I was trying to achieve. It made more sense to them once Joe Newton, who designs my type image specimens, began putting together the images for the collection. Still, I had a lot of doubts and second thoughts, and many nights when I wanted to either change course or pull the plug on the idea all together. Today, though, I’m glad I went ahead and released it. It was very well received, and I think it answers a major challenge that designers face every day: trying to coordinate various font styles, and bring in illustrative elements that complement them. With a collection, that work is done for you.
Describe your dream project.
My dream project would be to work with a small group of graphic designers on a type design collection for a specific client. I’d love to get to see how they would test and use the fonts, and collaborate on improvements based on their feedback. I think I could learn a lot from that. It’d be fun!