A couple months ago I started receiving emails from Alex Haigh of HypeForType. As is described on the website, “the vision was to create a type foundry showcasing the best in today’s typographic talent, as well providing a platform for keen eyed creatives to find and buy truly unique, hand-crafted fonts to complement their work”. Curious to know more I asked Alex for an interview through email, below is our conversation. …And yes, the pull quote above is from HypeForType’s BAQ Rounded.
Surtees: With your first email back in June you mentioned that you were “frustrated with the lack of quality and original typefaces within the design community” which in turn lead you to start http://www.hypefortype.com. It’s now been a couple months since the site went live. What have you learned in that time that was unexpected? Has the foundry been successful as you hoped? How has the collaboration between yourself and others manifested?
Haigh: I’ve learnt that some things are a lot harder than you’d imagine, and I have also learnt that one of the most important aspects of having an online store is making sure you’re looking after your members. The foundry is taking shape now and getting a lot of interest which is great. The collaboration between HypeForType and the exclusive designers at first was difficult to initiate. The reason for this was because before the launch it was purely a concept, however now that it’s become an idea a lot of people are interested in this and we are getting some very exciting offers for future contribution.
Surtees: Now that you’re on the inside of the typefoundry business as opposed to just another designer purchasing typefaces, what could you share about the business that those that aren’t a part of it know?
Haigh: Well one thing I can share, are some of the plans for the future. As I’ve always said HypeForType will never be a huge foundry with 50/60,000 fonts, it’s not the idea that’s going to work for me. What will work however, is slowly building up a beautiful catalogue of well designed and well put together fonts, and looking at new ways of doing things. I’ve been speaking with some brilliant type designers over the last few weeks in order to build up the back catalogue. I’ve also started to understand that moving forward, keeping things fresh, and helping members is absolutely key in order to progress. A lot of our customers know that this is just the start and they’ve all be fantastic in helping to spread the word, and now that is giving me the opportunity to think of new ideas and new ways to really elevate typography.
Surtees: How do your type collaborations come about? Are you contacting people or vice versa?
Haigh: Initially it was a very trick process to kick things off. A lot of the exclusive designers I was in talks with at the start understood the concept, but from an outsiders point of view, that’s all this was at the time, a concept. Now that’s turned into an idea it’s giving me more opportunity to work alongside some great designers and studios to keep the volumes evolving. What I’m really looking for with the Exclusive Volumes, is something unique. The whole philosophy about the Exclusive Faces is purely to introduce something unique into the type market. A great example of this and currently our best seller by far is Neo Deco, by Alex Trochut. A beautiful complex yet completely unique typeface that’s been a great start for the volumes, and also for setting the standard for future collaboration.
Surtees: In your original email you mentioned that “it’s been the hardest project I have ever single handedly produced, and I found myself sleeping on average 1 – 2 hours a night.” Are you back to a normal sleeping schedule?
Haigh: Well, I still have the dark circles under my eyes, but luckily normal sleeping patterns have returned. I’m still sat in front of a mac for the majority of the week, but how can you complain when you enjoy what you do so much.
Surtees: This time next year where do you hope the foundry will be at?
Haigh: Keeping everything moving forward is always going to be the philosophy behind what HypeForType stands for. With that, upon building the foundry I also thought of a way in which to reach thousands of designers, especially designers who are in education and learning about typography and design. This idea also ties in with a charity in the UK. I don’t want to go into this in too much detail as it’s a huge project, but it is a project which can help young designers to evolve, and also maybe even change the way we view typography in general. I’m hoping to kick this off next year, it will be very exciting and possibly ground breaking if I take it in the right direction. Other opportunities I am also looking into at the moment include a community, large site development, and lateral ways of moving forward.