Monday, January 25, 2010

Villatype Interview — Anthony Swaneveld

Here is the 2nd installment of Villatype Interviews. We talked with designer Anthony Swaneveld about his current work and love of letters.

Please tell us briefly about where you work and what you do. I'm the principal and Design Director and well, everything, at Sandwich Creative, a graphic design business I started approximately 1.3 years ago.

What is behind the name Sandwich Creative? It came to me in a vision one night…. actually, no. I like sandwiches. That's pretty much it.










What was the inspiration behind the fringe festival program you recently designed? (see above). The identity for Toronto Fringe's 2009 season was a return to the days of the Great Depression and the kinds of paste-up advertising that was around in those days — in particular, that of the Federal Theater Project, which funded theatre performances during the Depression.

How did you select the typefaces? I looked for old, hand-rendered type, and type that was as authentic as possible in replicating the kind of woodblock and movable type used in those days. Once the type was placed in my document, I outlined everything and started to play, ignoring everything design school taught me about respecting the proportions of typefaces.

Did the client think it was awesome? Yes, they nearly collapsed from excitement. Once they saw the screenprinted versions on nice art paper, their reactions were ludicrous!

We actually asked the client, Gideon Arthurs (Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival), if Anthony was either Cheap or Easy: Really, Anthony is neither cheap nor easy to work with. The man is a perfectionist and won’t settle for just any half-baked idea.

In fact, I love working on design concepts with him. He’s incredibly receptive and one of my great pleasures is sitting with him riffing on source images and themes. Cheap & Easy came about at the height of the economic turmoil last year. I’ve never seen a marketing concept take hold like this one – customers commented on it constantly. It just seem to fit the time and place, and the festival, so well.

Okay, back to Anthony: What are your 5 go-to typefaces? I actually don't really have those… I have favourites. Mostly I pick and choose based on the project. If you twisted my arm, I would have to say Trade Gothic, Farnham, Din, Tribute, and Poppi Sex'n'crime Two (just kidding!).

What was the best party you have ever been too? Short-term memory: a couple of weeks ago, when we had that Wii party and created a midget Michael Jackson so he would be driving the boat in Wii wakeboarding. Long-term memory: I can't pick just one… although the craziest party would have been ages ago at New Years Eve in Florence — those jerks throw champagne bottles on the ground all over the place. Hey guys, that's really dangerous!

You work on a lot of poster projects, is that by choice or have you been type-cast into this area of design? It was definitely by choice. My first real job was as Art Director for Soulpepper, who I still design for. Although full of other stuff, the posters were the gold on that job. Working with similar companies like Fringe provided other great creative outlets, which helped keep me sane.

What is your favourite type foundry? Probably Underware and Typetrust, but I tend to like typefaces instead of type foundries. As a studio/individual, I would say Schwartzco, Inc. 100% super-fantastic happy yes.

I heard you were opening a poster shop. Is this true and are we invited? Will there be free snacks? IT'S TRUE! I'm currently working with another company, The Production Kitchen, on a series of art posters we launched at Smash Gallery back in October and will start selling out of our shop, Public Office, which should be open in February. It's going to be a pretty cool place, especially for you nerdy design types. More info when it becomes available, and details will be at joinpublicoffice.com when I get that site designed. There will be hand-rendered and old type all over the place. Yay posters! (BYOS).

What would be your dream project (besides designing us some villatype t-shirts)? Probably designing a book that was letterpressed, with foil stamping and all sort of diecutting all over the place. Basically like a typical day for our friend Joe.

Is there something else we should know that we didn’t ask? For some reason, I'm sometimes good at doing accents and voices from movies. If I ever get drunk at one of those best parties, maybe my rendition of Andy from Little Britain will get on the interwebs and you can link to it.


Anthony Swaneveld is a Canadian designer currently based out of Toronto. He is a regular contributor to Villatype and we are pretty sure he likes t-shirts and pickles.

4 comments:

Jenn L said...

nice interview!

Ross said...

Wait, I think there's some rule against giving yourself props on a good interview when you are the interviewer JENN!!!

;)

But seriously, nice interview.

And nice work on the Fringe program, Anthony.

Jenn L said...

well mandy did most of the interview, so I can props mandy. and I can totally props the questions I came up with!

carmel dias said...

great interview!

anth, I'm really excited for the poster shop with free snacks. nice work!