Handmade or digital? - Make Helsinki

Handmade or digital?

by: Joonas Kilappa
  •   Creative design •  28.3.2016   •  3 minute read

I have thought about fonts a lot lately. Not the most exciting thing, I know. But bear with me.

As a designer I’m constantly working with fonts and see them regularly everywhere even without trying. We are being constantly exposed to advertising daily and an essential part of those are the fonts. Legibility is crucial if you want to get your message across apart from a few exceptions.

Picture: Some brands really know how to work without any words.

We live in a time where it is possible to have almost any sort of font at your use. Type “fonts” into your search engine and prepare to be overflooded. The range varies from professionally designed premium fonts to iffy free fonts. Don’t get me wrong, there are also fantastic free fonts available as well but most of them are more or less garbage.

So where does this leave us? Millions of different fonts and it still seems we tend to gravitate towards very conservative ones. The reason is usually the same: legibility. And of course that’s ok. But lately I’ve noticed that there have been more and more brave visuals that rely also on beautiful type that is either slightly altered from an existing font or totally hand made. Maybe it’s a natural reaction to the clean and flawless digital fonts that we tend to see so much. A movement to bring something new visually. Or “new” in that sense that customers want something original and unique for their brand, service or product.

Picture: Might not be perfect but it’s wonderfully quirky and interesting to the viewer.

Maybe I’m late to the party but I feel that there’s more and more designers getting in to brush scripting and calligraphy. And that is not a bad thing at all. It can only be a good thing that we hold on to some of that artisan heritage that our line of business had many years ago. One can still see echoes of old masters in the painted signs and ads on the side of old buildings.

Picture: Someone painted those. By hand.

There’s no denying the fact that computers and programs help our day to day work immensely. The process of designing a can be done faster than before. But by relying completely on computers we lose the human touch in the process. That’s why I encourage everyone to grab a pen, brush, marker or whatever you love and getting down and dirty.

Picture: Inspiration can be found anywhere.

Embrace the imperfection and create something worth looking at.



Happy Joe and Almonds:
Photographs by Joonas Kilappa

Painted signs:


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