Alberto Romanos career has focussed around creating and commissioning fonts for brands. He believes 'a typeface is the perfect way to simultaneously convey information and personality.'
Alberto worked in some of the world’s biggest branding agencies (Including interbrand and landor). Where he developed an understanding for the power of a good typeface – its ability to both communicate and be a differentiator.
While working on brand development each brief would start with picturing a new typographic style, to set the tone before exploring colour, image, iconography. 'After creating many brand identities and various side projects involving type, in 2014 he realised it was time to focus completely on his true passion: creating high quality fonts.'
His foundry 'Branding with Type's' ambition is to provide brands with unique characters, filled with personality, each with its own voice.
Believing a unique typeface is the key ingredient of an identity system. Branding with Type asserts 'A picture is worth a thousand words, but words are pictures too.' Alberto's passion for letterforms, technical know-how with brand strategy and implementation is proving a winning formula with the business going from strength to strength. Alberto has an illustrious client list including; BP, Ernst&Young, Renault, Sony Ericsson, and British Airways.
The foundry offers multiple services including custom typeface development, branding services, typeface customisation and retail fonts. (Many of which are on sale with 80% off until the end of the month!)
Bw Modelica is a vast family published in January 2016. Alberto expanded the family to include Ultra Condensed, Condensed and Expanded versions for Bw Modelica. (As well as making optical tweaks to certain glyphs in the earlier styles View/try/buy Modelica here https://brandingwithtype.com/typefaces/modelica
Bw Surco (also on sale) is my favourite in the catalogue, Alberto has done a wonderful job on the details in this face... I think it would work brilliantly for editorial purposes with its friendly upbeat characteristics.
I asked Alberto to answer a few questions and to share a little about his journey and processes...
When did you decide to make the leap from agency work to starting your own type foundry?
It wasn't planned! Toying with letters was always present in my career since I remember. When I was studying in London I really enjoyed the type design elective with Paul McNeill and I managed to transform my final project into a type design exercise, to the point my tutor back then suggested me to apply to Reading. That never happened though.
Right after my studies I joined Landor where there was always a chance to draw a logo here and there but for the proper custom font work, no matter how much I pitched myself internally, we were relying on the pros: Dalton Maag, Miles Newlyn, Fontsmith and the like.
In 2014 me and my wife decided to go back to our native home town in north east of Spain so our kids could grow up closer to our families. Then I thought "it's either now or never" so I started drawing Bw Quinta Pro pretty much 3 days after landing and from there it transitioned naturally. During the first year back I continued freelancing both remotely for UK and Spanish agencies, but investing more and more time on my own type design projects. I landed the first commission in January 2015 and towards summer I launched the Branding with Type website.
Getting a second commission and seeing your retail fonts generating a bit of income was the turning point. I decided to call off my graphic design bookings to concentrate fully on type. It was difficult to say no to people that appreciate your work and trust your skills. It was also a gamble because I knew I could make a living with graphic design but full time type design was (and still is to some extent) uncharted waters for me but so far it's paying off. I'm enjoying every minute.
Do you have a favourite tool or process when designing type?
I think there's a lot on my way of working learned from my time at the branding agencies and I borrowed some 'agile' approaches from the web guys I now share the office with. I also try to attend type design workshops at least once a year to learn from other type designers and share ideas. I take what I think works best in a very pragmatic way. Sometimes I feel strong about an idea and I spend a few hours quickly designing a basic character set directly on the computer, then put it to sleep for a few weeks. Some other times I try to set myself a brief or an objective, sketch things in paper first and work on it more consistently.
When you are working on your own, it's very important to find mechanisms for allowing things to ripe, it gives you perspective and allows you to look at the shapes and the system differently. If I spend too many days working solely on the same project, you get too close to it that you stop seeing things; I found that having the ability of switching between projects helps a lot.
When working on a commission everything is much more structured: I first work on defining a proper brief and then pursue constant feedback from the client. That helps balancing the bigger picture while focusing down on the details.
Is there a Branding With Type typeface you're particularly proud of or that you believe is especially successful?
I'm always more attached to whichever font I'm designing at that time but I'm proud of all of them!
If I were to pick one it would be Bw Darius. For whatever the reason I'm attracted a lot by sans serifs, I sketch them almost unconsciously so designing a serif font for the first implied stepping out a bit from my comfort zone. I enjoyed it that much I'm now working on a stencil and a text version for Bw Darius plus a new slab serif that should go live at some point next year (sneak peek below.)
As well as the beautiful work Alberto has in the pipeline to release next year the business is expanding in other directions too. Branding with Type has recently started working with other designers to publish their typefaces.
Chromoxome Pro is a square-ish geometric font family consisting of 5 different weights and 2 different styles (upright & oblique). Thom put his Dutch influences to good use in order to instil the typeface with a distinct modernist personality and a modular gridnik feel, softened by subtle rounded corners.
As well as the the redrawn characters from the original version, it also contains lowercase characters, multiple OpenType features and extended Latin support. The more expressive glyphs are set as stylistic alternates, making the overall typeface suitable for a wide range of situations, rather than just display usage.