Illustrator Benedikt Luft ignores his tutors creating gridded typographic experiments
- Lucy Bourton
- 4 May 2017
Benedikt Luft has an impressive portfolio. Major clients aside, he has illustrated his own weird and wonderful world, full of characteristics that represent his personality and skill. However, having the illustration box ticked isn’t enough for multi-talented Benedikt, who has now elongated his creative arms to include typography too.
“One of my professors at university once told me in a subclause that I could never be a good type designer after she saw some letters I made for a project,” Benedikt tells It’s Nice That. “Maybe she had some points about the letters I made back then, but it was still a very harsh form of criticism.” Thankfully, Benedikt didn’t listen to his tutor’s advice: “I had the feeling there was a lot of vanity and narrow-mindedness in her words and luckily I didn’t take it too seriously after all.”
Benedikt’s typographic experiments and subsequent fonts are each charming for their originality. “A thing I love about illustration is the possibility of creating something completely from scratch.” Therefore for his typography this is the method the illustrator, and now type designer has executed.
“I started working on the first typeface around two and half years ago. At that time I was interested in what is possible with tight limitation of line-width to drawing space,” says Benedikt. Each letterform is built using a “very simple grid, resulting in a very bold and blocky appearance”. Despite Benedikt admitting that “a lot of people have made something similar at some point,” this was his introduction to type. “I still like it and for me it was a starting point that showed me the possibilities of working in the field on my own.”
Fast forward to the end of 2016 and typography creeped its way back into Benedikt’s work again. “Earlier that year I started working on a lot of vector based illustrations and wanted to see if I could find a way of combining typography with them,” he explains. “So, I went back to the square with its simple grid and limited myself to only using quadrant and straight lines arranged in 90 degree angles.”
Revisiting the project a few months later: “I had the feeling that I wanted another look that is a little bit finer, but still has something playful to it,” says Benedikt. Adapting the same grid the illustrator this time used the whole space of the square confinements. “Using the whole square was really intuitive, but there were a few characters where I had to filter out a lot of versions to achieve the right combination of style and legibility. I like how there is this huge contrast between the first type and this one, while it still has the same underlying concept.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.