Building Bespoke Custom Fonts

Since graduating at the beginning of summer I have had a lot of fun becoming the new addition to the Fieldwork team as their latest intern. There are a lot of pressures when you are a new graduate, as every year hundreds of design graduates swamp the inboxes of design studios in the UK looking to seek work and internships after university. So far I have fully enjoyed my time at Fieldwork despite giving myself a black eye in the first week by falling asleep on the train home (don’t ask). However I soon fixed that problem by eating my body weight in burgers, steaks and ribs in the Northern Quarter.

Not only have I worked up an appetite for meaty meals I have recently rediscovered my love for type. At Fieldwork HQ we have been working on a lot of exciting things, especially a couple of really nice branding projects in which we intend to explore how print and typographic elements can really enhance a brand’s presence.

The main project I have been working on over the past few weeks has been pulling concepts together for an exciting new bar called Plau, a gin and beer house that hopes to open its doors in Preston. It has been great to lead this project and learn how as a team we can explore, share and develop ideas. The progression of the project has made me particularly interested in developing bespoke custom typefaces to enable us to create unique marks. To help document our initial ideas we made the effort to build a wall that documented our progress. It proved to be a great help as ideas with potential can get lost amongst the art boards in the dark corners of Illustrator files.


Another thing that is quite exciting about this project is the heritage behind the bar as we have had access to old newspaper cuttings dating back to the early 1800s. I have also enjoyed reading and pulling out inspiration from old type specimens and recycling those ideas whilst consciously adding modern elements. Old pub signage has also been an influence and how signage can be expanded to window vinyl, foils and ceramic tiles.


With the help from the progress wall I developed three different typographic avenues that were eventually pitched to the client. I experimented with lines and weights that developed into stencils and unusual serif letterforms. I was conscious of referencing the heritage we outlined in our research but chose to refine these options and develop type with a modern twist through the use of design sheets and endless sketching. Below you can view a taster of what I have worked starting with two examples of how line and weight can be used to reference 3D forms and decorative display fonts. The final option is a lot different as I decided to take a completely different route with the aim to develop and serif stencil font.

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