“If it’s weird, go for it!”: Pizza Typefaces deliver unexpected surprises to the menu of type
Adrien Midzic and Luc Borho like a classic margarita just as much as the next exotic topping. Applying this playful ethos to their type designs, Pizza Typefaces present its delicious creations.
Adrien Midzic and Luc Borho, the two brains behind the fantastically named type foundry Pizza Typefaces, first met in German class. Both born and raised in the sunny South of France, the two bonded over their love of graffiti and drawing letters, something they both relished in rather than listening to the German language teachings. Years later, the budding type designers went onto art school, then, began respective freelance careers and moved to Paris. That was when Pizza Typefaces came into being.
On their teenage interest in type Adrien tells us that graffiti was "certainly our first approach to letterforms," he says. “It was the end of the 90s and graffiti started to connect with graphic design and type design.” Influenced by the likes of contemporary artist and muralist Stephen Powers, and later, French graffiti crew 123Klan, the type enthusiasts soon discovered how the design of a letter can communicate a message through its style.
Once at art school, Adrien and Luc went onto discover the design greats: Herb Lubalin, Herbert Bayer, David Carson, Massimo Vignelli, Adrian Frutiger and so on. With an amalgamation of these inspirations in mind, the then-students began to draw their own typefaces for fun, which in turn, quickly became a career. As the years rolled by, ten to be precise, an assortment of clients came to Adrien for custom designs, while Luc worked for a skateboarding magazine, drawing display lettering and whole typefaces in some instances for the publication.
When the pair were finally reunited to form their own type foundry, the studio started exploring their own tastes and needs in typography. “We like a good basic margarita as much as an exotic one,” says Luc on the studio’s playful name. On this principle, the founders carved an ethos for the work they would make. Seeking new and original letterforms, devoid of limitation, Adrien and Luc started work on more abstract fonts. Take Orelo, for example, Pizza Typeface’s alternative, and more personable, answer to Didot.
“Our first attempt was to design a display font influenced by the traditionally French and overused Didot font,” says Adrien. Though a “huge challenge” to create something new from such a familiar typeface, the designers weren’t phased and set out extracting the main characteristics of Didot – contrast and elegance – and going from there. “We reinterpreted it our way,” says Luc, “while pushing the contrast to its maximum, adding a bit of mozzarella and some South of France herbs, and Orelo Standard was cooked.” From there, they extended the family into 10 different weights with corresponding italics resulting in a staggering 120 style variations.
With the fruitful mantra of: “If it’s weird, go for it!”, Pizza Typeface’s spirited designs are fun-loving yet accessibly legible. Exemplified in UltraSolar, a graphic designer’s playground, the project offered the designers the chance to stretch their creative weirdness in all directions possible. Placing quirky sections of negative space on each sign became the goal (especially in the most unexpected areas) giving UltraSolar its distinct style and making it a great favourite amongst type lovers.
As for the future, we can expect even more fortuitous designs with the pair currently working on a reinterpretation of a classical serif, but “with some pomodori affumicati inside,” joke the founders. Amidst extensions to the type foundry’s existing family of fonts, soon enough, we can also expect some surprises on the menu too!”
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.