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Work / Graphic Design

Heavyweight Foundry on its pragmatic yet inventive approach to typography

Currently based in Prague, Heavyweight Studio is a digital type foundry with a pragmatic yet inventive approach to typography and its application. With a process that sees it designing typefaces in specific contexts, with a specific project or design in mind, Heavyweight’s fonts have purpose and tell stories.

The duo that makes up Heavyweight – Jan Horčík and Filip Matějíček – are both from the Czech Republic and met while studying typography at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (UMPRUM) in Prague. “We had the opportunity to work together for the first time in 2013 at our alma mater, where we were asked to curate an exhibition of final works, as well as creating a new typeface designed especially for the event,” Jan and Filip recall. Since that first project, the pair has continued to work together, acquiring a shared studio space upon graduating.

Topol was the typeface they designed for said exhibition and its creation went on to form how the pair function today as a studio. “We focus on typography and type design, but as we are both from the field of graphic design, we always aim to achieve a product which merges the best from both disciplines,” they explain. With a practice that understands the innate connection between graphic design and typography, Heavyweight presents its typefaces in very specific ways in order to highlight their potential usages.

Instead of designing standalone typefaces, Jan and Filip like to allow a project to prompt them. “We like to design for a certain purpose and to question how the typeface might work the best for its features,” they remark. “This means the project becomes the ‘theme’ which defines what the typeface will look like. Even though the font always adapts or gets simplified later – especially when there is the aim to sell it – we believe that this process, which contains the story, is essential to the appearance of letters.”

Whether developing personal projects or custom typography for clients such as music label, Endless Illusion, Heavyweight takes inspiration from everyday, simple graphics. “These aren’t usually very expressive but they effectively present their purpose in public space,” Jan and Filip reflect. It’s this practicality and focus on final applications combined with the duo’s propensity for creativity that results in a signature Heavyweight visual.

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