János Hunor Vári uses receipts, rulers and nail polish remover to create experimental typefaces

The Switzerland-based designer will use anything he can get his hands on when it comes to creating bold and unusual fonts.

Date
21 January 2022

“Discovering something new is like my fuel,” says János Hunor Vári, a graphic designer born in Békés and currently based in Lausanne, Switzerland. After graduating with a BA in graphic design at MOME (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest), János started freelancing at various advertising agencies as an art director on campaigns and TV commercials. It was this very moment that János realised his experimental flair and drive to create something different. “I found a lot of things in advertising debatable and controversial,” he says, “so I quit.” As a result, the budding designer enrolled on a Master Type Design programme at ECAL and he is now “unspeakably” happy.

It takes a few wrong turns to figure out what you really like doing, and János is no different having fled the corporate world for typography. After realising his love of type design, the designer now spends his days curating the pages of typography mag Dunno How To Write, or working up bespoke lettering and fonts that are unlike anything you’ve seen before, really (cue image of the album cover artwork for Exiles Electronics below). But no matter how out-there and different, János always works towards a system and will often collaborate with like-minded creatives to “boost” his process and outcomes. “For me, an idea is like growing a plant and harvesting its fruits,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It takes time and patience.”

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János Hunor Vári: Lettering for Exiles (Copyright © János Hunor Vári, 2021)

To achieve his goals, the first and most important tool he employs is the sketchbook – the baseline to his ideas and experimentations, or what he refers to as the “roots of all the things I do”. Next, he’ll experiment with anything he can get his hands on: things like the template ruler he used to devise the chunky and fragmented typeface for the Exiles Electronics double edition album cover. “Or, for example, I had a grocery receipt and a bottle of leaking nail polish remover in my pocket, which left marks on the thermal paper, very cool-looking marks.” Three years down the line and he noticed how he could use this peculiar technique for the branding of I O Line and Round, which is yet to be published. “Basically I always do experiments and look for opportunities to use them in my practice.”

János proves that there are no set rules when it comes to graphic design, because who’s to say whether or not you you can use a weird object to create a font? The same goes for branding and taking on a job that might not completely necessarily align with your interests. For instance, János was asked to design the identity for Atelier Lajos, a fashion design studio in Budapest that specialises in wedding dresses. “If you would ask me what things are the furthest from my interests, one could possibly be wedding dresses,” he notes. “But this project really gave me a different perspective that bridal clothing does not necessarily have to always be the same boring stuff.”

Either way, getting out of your comfort zone is always going to do some good for a designer. In the future, János plans to expand his horizons even further and hopes to “learn more and more”, collaborate with people and, more importantly, to design an identity for an international doner kebab franchise – his absolute “obsession”. Keep your eyes peeled!

GalleryCopyright © János Hunor Vári, 2021

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Alma

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Alma

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Saiyan Poster

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Ovid Ligatures

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Rapido

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Rapido

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Rapido

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Lajos

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Lagos

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Ovid Sketches

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Saiyan Spreads

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János Hunor Vári: Rapido (Copyright © János Hunor Vári, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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