Friends of Type is an incredibly visually-arresting website dedicated to “original typographic design and lettering,” maintained and operated by four creatively gifted friends: Aaron Carámbula, Erik Marinovich, Dennis Payongayong, and Jason Wong. Together, they create and post a majority of the featured work, along with some occasional guest contributors. What started out as a bit of a joke between friends has become one of the best outlets for creative lettering around. They’ve recently launched a great book with Princeton Architectural Press called Let’s Go Letter Hunting – more on that in a future post! Erik and Jason were kind enough to answer questions about being awesome creatives. Follow Friends of Type on Twitter for a good time, or at least, some really great type.
Where are you today?
Jason: I’m in NY at my day job at a company called Paperless Post.
Erik: I’m in SF at my studio, Title Case.
What are you working on?
J: When I’m not at the day job, I’m working on a few “Friends of Type” projects that are in the works. The remaining time is spent chasing after my 2 kids.
E: Collaborating on my first script typeface with my talented pal James Edmondson, which will be out later this year.
What was your introduction to typography?
J: For all of us, we’ve been doodlers since we were young. We’d spend our days drawing the logos of our favorite cartoons to our favorite bands and as our interests began to grow, anything that had letters in it. That was the common bond when we worked together where we quickly became friends.
Are you self-taught or formally educated?
E: The four of us went to art school and have degrees in design. Aaron is the most formally educated in type design of the four of us, having studied in Basel and the Type@Cooper program but type and lettering play a large part in all of our professional careers.
When did you decide to make a career of it?
J: For me it was the decision to go to art school. I didn’t know what graphic design was, but was interested in skateboard graphics and album covers and learning that those were actual careers.
E: I assume all creatives might answer this the same… but it’s when I figured out I could get paid doing the thing I enjoy the most.
What are the kinds of projects you’re most interested in working on?
J: I love the projects where I get to collaborate with the other guys and we can mix up our styles and be inspired by one another.
E: I’ve been on a mural kick lately and have had a couple opportunities to get my hands dirty with paint doing work with some fun clients.
Have you had any big breaks or projects you’re particularly proud of?
J: Every project seems to be a big break. A few years ago, the four of us were staying at a new hotel started by friends of ours and we started an impromptu mural. That mural became part of the hotel’s identity which led to other projects and opportunities for us to collaborate on. The big café wall at BBDO New York was a special experience.
E: We’re also all really proud of the Friends of Type postcard box set we released late last year with Princeton Architectural Press. It’s great being able to see our favorite Friends of Type posts translated into a tangible postcards.
Where are the Friends are currently based?
E: Two of us are in SF and the other two are in NYC, but we all met working together in New York.
Do you have a HQ as such?
J: Erik and I are on iChat everyday with a 3-hour time difference so that little window could be our headquarters.
E: Since we’re on different coasts, I suppose the site itself acts as our HQ. It’s the one place that we can go to and see what the others are up to.
Is there pressure to out-perform one another via the votes on each post?
J: We’re more encouraging of one another that competitive. There’s a mutual respect that exists between the four of us that pushes us rather than a pressure to out do. If anything, we riff and build off each other’s work.
Is the Let’s Go Letter Hunting journal the first FoT book and do you have plans for more?
J: The journal is the first bound thing we’ve put out as FoT. The beginning of it overlapped as we were finishing up the Keep Fresh postcard box set. We do have some more things in the works (which we can’t reveal just yet).
I love that it encourages you go out into the real world and get creative!
J: Seeing things in person really has a different effect than seeing it on screen or even in a book. Can’t stress enough how important it is to step outside to experience and observe how the things work together in the environment.