A2-Type partners, Henrik Kubel and Scott Williams win the Grand Prix from the Tokyo TDC for the suite of custom typefaces they designed for the relaunch of The New York Times Magazine. A2’s comprehensive typographic system isn’t the only new lettering on view, the magazine’s design director, Gail Bichler commissioned Matthew Carter to re-draw the masthead, adding a new and masterly air of lightness and modernity to the heraldic blackletter forms.
The magazine’s editor, Jake Silverstein, wrote about the relaunch in February, ‘Just as crucial to this latest reimagining of The New York Times Magazine as the print makeover is the idea that it shouldn’t be confined to print. In the next year, you’ll be seeing more of us outside the bundle that lands on your doorstep on weekend mornings.’ Read the article in full here.
The redesign has translated beautifully from the printed page to the magazine’s website – A2’s typographic system can be seen in full in every feature – from mouse type to headlines.
Henrik Kubel of A2-Type is the recipient of Knud V. Engelhardt Memorial Award, 2015. The award ceremony will take place in the Design Museum Danish Design Workshop on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 from 17.00 to 18.30.
The Board of Trustees write: ‘The letter, for Kubel, is an elemental form. The consistent focal point in his work is font drawing and layout. A font designed for a specific project always gives a new original identity and character for the specific task — no matter whether the scale of the finished project; be it a small stamp, a book, a website, an institution’s visual identity, a poster or a total exhibition design…. Kubel‘s design solutions combine a certain brash directness and boldness with a refined conceptual framework, strong design details and a strong relationship to the project‘s content.’
The Knud V. Engelhardt Memorial Award is one of the few Danish scholarships named after a particular designer and is given to a different contemporary design practitioner each year. The scholarship is named after a deceased Danish design pioneer, Knud V Engelhardt (1882-1931). It was founded in 1932 and has been given annually since 1933, to a designer who ‘has proven to possess strong design skills, preferably in the areas that constituted the core of KVE ‘s work: street furniture design for the home, tools, letterpress, type and textile design.’
Creative Review has profiled A2-Type & New North Press’s collaborative project:
‘A2-Type and London print shop New North Press have created a 3D-printed letterpress font. With a film about the project premiering at London Design Festival next weekend, we spoke to graphic designer Richard Ardagh and A2’s Henrik Kubel about the process…
‘The word ‘letterpress’ usually conjures images of vintage prints and wood type, but A2 and New North Press’s letterpress font looks almost futuristic — made out of pristine white “chemiwood”, the wire-frame font was 3D-printed by an architectural model maker.
‘A23D will be available for use at New North Press’s letterpress workshops and the studio is selling specimen posters on its website from Wednesday. Filmmaker Adrian Harrison has also made a film about the project, which is premiering at a free screening at the V&A next weekend (September 13), as part of the London Design Festival (details here).’
Village member foundry A2-Type won a 2014 Yellow Pencil award from D&AD for their lovely and comprehensive typographic programme for British newspaper The Independent.
A2 writes: ‘We designed a compact suite of inter-connected fonts that share the same underlying structure. In addition to the three master sets — serif, sans and condensed — we also crafted a complimentary hairline display font designed specifically for headlines that formed the inspiration for the paper’s masthead. The typefaces were crafted separately from the masthead however, and feature wide flared serifs and ‘ND’ ligatures.’
Henrik Kubel of A2-Type just released beautiful italic styles for his lovely typeface, Typewriter. Henrik writes: ‘When we moved into our studio in 2000 an original Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter was left behind. We used a typed proof from the machine to make a digital version as our ‘default’ studio typeface.’ We’re really excited to see Henrik’s expressive italic interpretation of his initial Typewriter roman styles.
Outsiders, designed by Henrik Kubel of A2-Type, is a stylish slab-serif face with an accompanying italic that is ideal for use on packaging, editorial design, online content, signage & advertising campaigns. A family with plenty of of flavour.
Creative Review has written-up the excellent redesign of UK newspaper, The Independent. They write: ‘The Independent revealed a new look today, the result of a three month-long project from designer Matt Willey and the newspaper’s in-house design team.’
‘“We knew quite quickly what we wanted the paper to look like, it was very organic,” says Barber. “We looked at the Antwerp face in the early stages then talked to Henrik; he started pushing it around and customising it. It’s the first time we’d actually talked about getting a whole family of fonts custom made — and taking everything back to a family of fonts became essential. The majority of the identity for this comes from the typeface. We started from a very basic framework and built in the details and flourishes of interest.”
‘The changes themselves are less a redesign and more a complete overhaul, thanks in part to the new set of typefaces designed by Henrik Kubel of A2/SW/HK and A2-Type, that are worked through the newspaper. Designing from the type up has meant that the way each page works has been rethought, restructured, and, in particular, de-cluttered and simplified.’
‘For the type, Kubel has produced a set of custom drawn typefaces for use across the whole newspaper — an Indy Serif with italics (light, medium and bold); an Indy Sans (light, bold and heavy), an Indy Sans Condensed face (light, medium and bold) and an Indy Hairline, a version of which is used in the masthead.
‘“The fonts have been designed to deliver everything from delicate headlines, to hardworking text settings, down to very small point sizes for factual information and listings,” says Kubel.
‘The final font set comprises 14 fonts in total, divided into four sub-sets and a special Numbers-only font. Each of the fonts share the same underlying structure and basic framework which means that, although they differ in look, style and weight, they do feel the same — a real family.’
Henrik Kubel will give a lecture on recent fonts at TDC, Type Directors Club in NYC. The talk will focus on his work as a partner of London based design and typography studio A2/SW/HK + A2-TYPE — specifically the history of Transport Alphabet and Kubel’s close collaboration with Margaret Calvert on the design of New Transport™. Henrik will also discuss the custom type programme A2-Type just completed for the redesign of UK newspaper, The Independent.
On June 4th, Eye Magazine’s Type Tuesday event at St Bride Library in London featured designer Henrik Kubel talking about his work as a type designer, including his collaboration with Margaret Calvert on New Rail Alphabet and New Transport, and his ongoing partnership with Scott Williams in the design practice A2/SW/HK.
Emily Lessard, art director of The Aperture Foundation writes: ‘The Aperture Foundation has been at the center of photography for decades. We gave it a facelift in honor of its 60th anniversary. The brand was completely rebuilt: new logo, identity system, ephemera, and website.’
Reconstructing the Aperture logotype
Jeremy Mickel writes: ‘I worked with Aperture (the photography foundation, exhibition space, and magazine) to redraw their original logo. None of the existing Futuras were a good match, so I did a faithful reconstruction of the logo from an early issue.’
Reviving ‘Aperture’ magazine
In Februrary 2013, Aperture magazine relaunched with a stunning redesign by Village members Henrik Kubel & Scott Williams through the graphic design arm of their firm A2/SW/HK who collaborated with art director Emily Lessard to restore Aperture to its former glory. The resulting magazine, with its newly oversized pages, glossy objectness and all around gorgeous type (the magazine features Regular and a forthcoming A2-Type serif release) + image is stunning. On the redesign, the Editor writes, continue to assert itself as an object, through its tactile presence, dynamic typography, and high-quality reproductions — all housed in an elegant design geared toward both reading and viewing.”
A geometric sans! with its basic structure inspired by some of our favourite hot metal fonts: Memphis, Karnak, Stymie, Scarab and Paul Renner’s Futura — Regular started as a slab serif font in late 2011, however I soon realised that it wasn’t going to bring anything particularly new to the faces already available on the market so my design was placed in a drawer.
This weekend A2-TYPE—the type foundry set up in 2010 by Henrik Kubel and Scott Williams’ design studio A2/SW/HK—posted a wonderful and surprisingly touching video on Vimeo. I Can’t Draw Animals… shows type designer Henrik Kubel hand lettering his own narration, explaining why he draws type. The video was produced as a final piece of work for his presentation at Typo London 2012 ‘Social’ a little over a week ago. With this video Kubel wanted to show the audience what he means by drawing type by hand.
Thousands of you stepped in to play art director on our 2010 and 2011 Handmade issues. And a very good job you made of it too, using specially tailored online software to create unique covers to be printed and posted (magazine included) to your door.
This year, for Handmade 2012, the hard work was done for you. We asked our graphic designer and illustrator friends—dozens of them, in fact—to design a series of covers for the August issue. But we didn’t just want to include our own choices. Calling out to the Twittersphere, we invited your creative direction too, asking you to name your preferred cover star and tweet them a brief.
The result is a grand edit of 30 works of art, created with you in mind by the likes of Alan Kitching, Quentin Jones, Anthony Burrill, Tom Hingston, Rob Ryan and James Joyce.
Six leading and emerging voices in the field of type design talk about problems central to their work. Each speaker will address a burning question concerning the design, use, culture, technology, or business of fonts and typefaces. The event is moderated by Ellen Lupton & Cara Di Edwardo.
DB: why did you decide to specialise in typography?
HK: it’s similar to adding your signature to a piece of work and it’s a unique way of creating bespoke design for clients that wish to stand out.
DB: besides yourself and scott how many people work in your studio and how do you go about dividing / sharing the work?
HK: we are 2 people and we do all the work. A2/SW/HK is a design studio and part of our philosophy is to design new typeface for every project we work on…
Martin Salazar had the opportunity to meet Henrik Kubel at a Type Director’s Club event in 2011, and has been an avid follower of A2’s work ever since. Salazar, a designer at ESPN The Magazine, recently caught up with the A2 founder to talk fonts…
Q: Why did you decide to start up a type foundry within your design studio?
We have developed type for all of our clients since we founded our design studio A2/SW/HK in 2000. Part of our philosophy is to design a new font for each job we take on. We decided to start releasing our fonts commercially in 2009 after seeing the commercial success of our font New Rail Alphabet, which I developed in collaboration with Margaret Calvert, another reason is that we have had an increasing interest from other designers and agencies to use our fonts.
Henrik Kubel was inspired by 16th century samples found in the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp and his design evolved over ten months as he traveled between the Belgian city and his home in London. The typeface has a good color (the Medium weight makes for rich, dark text) and a familiar feeling, with a structure that is traditional but also leaves room for personal interpretation,such as in the contemporary proportions. Kubel applies many of his more unexpected ideas in the italic with its brave angle, double-story g, and magnificent ampersand. But in the spirit of a true text face, most of these details don’t call too much attention to themselves.
Antwerp is a 16th-Century typeface with contemporary proportions. The design is a free spirited amalgamation and interpretation of the all inspiring archives of type on display in the Museum Plantin-Moretus in the Belgium city Antwerp—hence the font’s name. The typeface was developed as part of Kubel’s studies at the Expert class Type design 2010–11 at Plantin Institute of Typography.
We are so pleased to welcome A2-Type, a division of London based design studio A2/SW/HK established in 2000 by Scott Williams & Henrik Kubel. Scott and Henrik were elected members of Alliance Graphique Internationale, AGI in 2007 and in 2009 Henrik was appointed visiting lecturer at Royal College of Art in London at the School of Visual Communication. In 2010 Kubel was awarded the prestigious 3-year artist and designer working grant from The Danish Art Foundation. In 2011 New Rail Alphabet developed in collaboration with Margaret Calvert won a design excellence award in Letter.2, 2nd Type Design Competition of the Association Typographique Internationale, ATypI.
A2/SW/HK is an independent design studio based in London. Formed by Royal College of Art graduates Scott Williams and Henrik Kubel in 2000, their impressive portfolio has won them international recognition. Over the last decade they have created numerous typefaces that fill the needs of the wide range of projects the duo have been involved with.
In the autumn of 2010, Henrik Kubel and Scott Williams founded A2-Type as a means to publish their typefaces, allowing them to rework their custom type projects into retail releases.
‘A2’s bespoke type design is mainly the responsibility of Henrik Kubel, though every typeface is developed and approved by both partners. Kubel is self-taught, making his first typefaces while studying at Denmark’s Design School from 1992-97. Though he had drawn letters since he was twelve, it was the discovery of Fontographer that sparked his passion for type design. “At that time there were no schools that were teaching type design,” says Kubel. “Now we have Reading, and the courses in Holland. But we were young, and embracing everything! It was a way of claiming your identity.”’