It is not every day someone you really respect and admire designs a typeface for you - which made yesterday a pretty special day in the Arnett Phillips household!
I make no secret of being a Barry Spencer fangirl. I featured Barry and his work in volume 02 of TypographJournal. I often write about and share his work and thinking publicly for no other reason than I think it is amazing! Which in itself is a damn good reason to cheerlead for something!
Behind the scenes, Barry and I have a monthly video hook up. We chat about each others projects, help hold each other accountable for our self-initiated work and troubleshoot ideas and problems. I really value our catch ups as every time I talk to Barry about his work I feel inspired to up my game with my own work! I also really value his insight and support of the work I am doing.
Grids form a really important component in Barry's creative process so last year when we both undertook a 100 days project. Barry set himself the challenge of creating a sequence of spontaneous grids on 5mm square gridded paper.
At the end of the exercise, Barry had a rich resource of content that needed to exist in a format beyond his 100day experiment. I encouraged him to develop the grids into a tool that could be used by our community and he set out to turn each of the 100 grids into a notebook! Barry began with 5 - the other 95 are on the way - but I selfishly suggested grid number 84 be included in the first batch because it was a personal favourite.
I have had a lot of fun drawing on top of these grids in my copies of the notebooks which was in itself a treat - when I found out that Barry had started work on using number 84 to design a typeface I was excited - when I found out that the typeface also included a nod to me as a thank you for my involvement I was thrilled, honored and touched!
Last night I got to see Nikau Barry's latest typeface inspired by the mechanics of grid number 84 and also my homeland! It is an elegant face - Barry has taken his speculative questioning of what a letter could be to this decorative face but each letterform does still reference the archetype. The A has an Apex, the B two bowls, the C and aperture, the O is symmetrical and the S is traditionally serpentine etc. It's a marvellous, intelligent and beautiful typeface in my (undoubtedly!) biased opinion. You can read more about Barry's process and see the typeface in action here. And you can purchase Barry's awesome notebooks here. (I will share the link when more become available - and stay tuned for a follow-up feature about Barry's thinking and research into speculative typography soon!)