Welcome to Typography Tuesday! This is the first of a weekly series on the glorious world of typography – the art and technique of arranging type, type design, and modifying type glyphs. This week we are proud to show off new work from artist Alex Trochut, created for V Magazine’s Spring Preview, available on newsstands now.
Alex Trochut is an independent designer and illustrator in Barcelona, Spain who unknowingly had design in his genes. The grandson of, Joan Trochut, a printer/typographer whose legacy is the development of a typographic system in 1942 called Super-Veloz. Alex is a graduate of Barcelona’s ELISAVA Escola Superior de Disseny, and his education is enriched by an Erasmus in Berlin, where he also did internships with Moniteurs and Xplicit. His first job after school was back at Barcelona with design firm Toormix, and after two years there he moved to Vasava, another young design firm. The exuberance of Vasava’s work proved to be the perfect place for Alex to explore, refine and deploy his typographic prowess to then take his show on the road as an illustrative contractor delivering unique and unexpected work.
Your work thrives in its intense merging of typography, lettering and illustration. How did you arrive at this approach?
Alex Trochut: I guess it’s because I love type, and I also love illustration, so the work is just a reflection of this double and equal love. I like to feel close to graphic design but in an expressive way of seeing it — so doing expressive typography is where I find my place, and can still feel like a graphic designer.
Also, an important fact, is that I’m the grandson of Joan Trochut, a typographer and creator of the SuperTipo Veloz — a modular typographic and ornament system built in the 40s. I believe that’s a big reason why I have always been attached to typography — I guess it’s in the blood — although I never met him, as he died before I was born, no one in my family followed his steps in graphic design, and I didn’t know much about type design until I got into design School. But once I started my graphic design studies I began to feel attracted to letters, and the way you can draw and contain precision and proportion in “abstract” shapes. Many teachers influenced my outlook, showing me the work of my grandfather, so I guess I was very attracted by the fact that I could share his same profession.
One of the things that struck me about your work was your ability to use existing typefaces and manipulate them in a way that makes them feel unique, fresh and spontaneous. What do you look for in typefaces that you want to customize? Do you see something and instantly know what to do to it?
AT: When I look for a display type I like to see in it some kind of density, and a solid and connected structure from letter to letter. I really love all kind of 70s display fonts, I think that period was very free and complex in the creation of type. Once I have chosen the typeface, I type the text I need to design and try to look for relationships between the letters that compose it, and work again of this sense of denseness in the text block. I think this is the only thing that probably repeats in the choosing process, the rest is always changing, the way you add personality to the text, always balancing between being expressive and crazy and readable, form and content, is always changing, and trying to adapt as much as you can to visualize the content of the text through the visual level, and not only the meaning of the text itself.
“More is more.” That’s something you don’t hear a lot these days, yet that is your philosophy. It would be easy for your work to fill inundated with visuals, but it feels very restrained and considered in that every element seems like it belongs there. How do you balance the desire for “more” without it becoming overwhelming?
AT: I have a terrible “horror vacui” tendency when I work, and I like it, but sometimes, I like when you find in a work evidences of many hours of detailed work behind it, but I also like control in the work, to see that the shapes keep some harmony between them and that there is not so much randomness, or elements that are there just to fill the space by chance. I always need to let my work rest for at least one night, and I look at it again in the morning and try to find the right place to everything — which usually means taking stuff out and not adding more elements.
So I believe in more is more, and, yes, I believe in control and consideration too.
Interview with Armin Vit taken from Speak Up Archive.
You can see more of Alex’s work on the Levine/Leavitt site.