Timo Durst and Max Weinland’s typography studio was only ever going to have a name related to one thing. Chances are you could probably work it out if your German is any good.
“My last name is Durst (English = thirst) and Max’s last name is Weinland (English = wine country),” says Timo, one half of Riesling Type. “We both like wine.”
Based in Hamburg in northern Germany, the duo aims to fill gaps in the typography market, wherever they may be. So if you have been wanting to use a typeface that just doesn’t exist yet, Riesling hopes to be able to create it for you. In the same way, it is also happy to change existing typefaces in whatever ways people can possibly conceive.
The duo met during their studies and found they had similar views on the state of design education. “We met while studying graphic design at art school and found out we both didn’t agree with the way graphic design was taught,” says Max. “Typography wasn’t merely a technical process for us, but a conceptual dimension in which we were interested.”
Timo agrees with this, viewing type as far more than just another module: “For us, a typeface is always more than just a carrier of text. It’s always also context that informs letters and signs.”
The practical move into designing their own typefaces was one born out of need. Working on projects they noticed that certain things were crying out for a more specific and personalised type, meaning the obvious next step was to follow this. “This conceptual dimension was something we inquired and it was simply logical to develop our own typefaces because the things we designed demanded it,” explains Max.
The idea to work together arrived after both of them created their own typefaces, and needed somewhere to bring them together as a springboard. “We each had made a typeface for a specific situation and thought we should share them from our own little platform,” explains Timo. This was a platform that eventually snowballed into Riesling.
Their philosophy stems around functionality, wanting to make typefaces that are needed and that have a relevance to certain projects. Their aim is ultimately to fill the gaps that are missing. “It’s an entirely subjective claim that just means if we think a certain situation requires a typeface that we can’t find anywhere, we make it,” says Max.
With six typefaces already available, they are clearly doing something right. This may be in part due to their simple and refined creative process. “We sometimes draw typefaces, and sometimes we sample forms or develop them from rules. Then we use Illustrator and Glyphs,” explains Timo.
“Then we drink wine.”
About the Author
Charlie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in December 2019. He has previously worked at Monocle 24, and The Times following an MA in International Journalism at City University. If you have any ideas for stories and work to be featured then get in touch.