“A spaceship collided with a baroque cathedral”: Alex Valentina shares his latest typeface
- Lorna Pittaway
- 15 August 2019
“When graphics become too formal and rigid – that’s when I get bored,” explains graphic designer Alex Valentina who embraces the chaos of creating outside of established conventions. It’s an approach rooted in the pursuit of authenticity and expression. “For me, visual communication should be about making things that generate true communication, allowing life, ideas and a vision to shine through as much as possible,” he tells It’s Nice That. “We should be able to add more soul to things and infuse them with meaning.”
GoliaGolia is the latest incarnation of Alex’s penchant for the expressive things in life. An experimental typeface that combines gothic features with a futuristic edge, when Alex started work on GoliaGolia he had no intention of making it a “real font”. It was a starting point that freed him from the expectations and conventions he would ordinarily obsess over when making work like this: “I allowed myself to forget everything I’d learnt about typography during my years of study,” he recalls. “I thought it’d never be something that could be seen and judged so I felt completely free to do whatever I wanted. The whole process was regulated only by what I considered to be beautiful and interesting in that moment. I’m not a huge fan of the zero rules approach but I admit that this kind of starting point allowed me to develop a totally genuine and spontaneous process.”
Being released from the constraints of conventional typography doesn’t come without its challenges. however; trying to cajole the wild and experimental forms he’d created into a defined font was a near-impossible feat. Recounting the difficulty of the process, Alex tells us: “I tried to bring certain shapes closer together, to make it more regular. But the reality was that no matrix had been used at any point and each letter had been drawn individually which left a kind of imperfection behind.” Kerning GoliaGolia was a particularly arduous and frustrating task which saw Alex spend “so many days just looking at the font and changing the spaces between the same letters continuously – an eternity spent adjusting +1 or -1 units to the space between a pair of characters.”
It was painstaking work but the results speak for themselves. GoliaGolia is novel: its defiant indifference to the rules and uncompromising playfulness are joyful and the radiant glisten of Alex’s 3D styling only adds to its unorthodox charm. While GoliaGolia feels as though it could’ve been plucked from the future, its experimental irregularity leaves few traces of the computer’s rigid touch.
These characteristics are pushed even further in GoliaGolia’s “weirder and crazier” younger sister, GoliaGolia Sharp. Pushing the original shapes to the edge of legibility, Alex’s own description of GoliaGolia’s sharp style as something resembling “a spaceship collided with a baroque cathedral,” feels pretty spot on. In this wonkier and pointier version, exaggerated curves and sharpened ends extend from each letter like snake tongues or gargoyle tails to give the font an altogether more fantastical feel.
GoliaGolia – original and sharp style – can be purchased from The Designers Foundry.
About the Author
Lorna Pittaway joined us in the summer of 2019 as an editorial assistant. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a degree in graphic design and wrote stories for us on graphic design, film, art and everything in between.