Jan Horcik, co-founder of the Prague-based digital type foundry Heavyweight, developed an interest in graphic design (and specifically typography) by experiencing an eternal amount of failures in primary school and high school. “Obviously I had ambitions and was motivated” says the designer, “But the way I was taught was so different from my expectations. I had a feeling I was studying something totally useless,” he says of his early education.
At the age of 24, Jan started studying typography in Prague, and it was then that “practically everything changed.” He found sense within his work and a way of working that suited him. And upon graduating, before establishing Heavyweight, he began working with Cutulum shoes and Endless Illusion records which continues to this day. Though Heavyweight demands the majority of Jan’s time and attention, for purely emotional reasons, he chooses to keep working on these projects.
“I can practically do whatever I want within these two projects and therefore the results are sometimes a bit far away from the classic graphic design,” explains the designer. With Cutulum, he takes the opportunity to design something quite serious, but with a totally unexpected outcome. Consequently, he designed a series of stamps to be playfully used within the brand. His work for Endless Illusion however, an excuse for Jan to be downright artistic. And most importantly, as well as working on these projects, Jan tried to find ways to have fun at the same time.
Side projects like these also offer Jan the opportunity to test out new Heavyweight typefaces through different applications. He recently designed the typeface Layup as a curious challenge to create a script typeface, something that he is not a big fan of historically. The typeface came from one of his more recent record sleeve designs, with Jan attempting to design the typeface in a way that he’d like to use it. “So that’s why I combined features of handwriting with something less dynamic,” Jan tells It’s Nice That. “The shapes are composed by mono linear strokes and are sometimes a little bit geometric. This matches my original handwriting style where the letters are not touching each other, so it is in fact, not a proper script.”
For Jan, type design and graphic design cannot work without the other. The design for each heavily depends on the relationship between both elements and how they will appear next to one another. “Basically, I am not able to design a typeface without a clue to how it will look like within the graphic design. There are loads of very distinctive fonts, but unfortunately not easy to be used. Apparently some designers do not think about the potential of their fonts within graphic design.”
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