“Eight would be the maximum; we want to keep it private and warm.”—Anna Fahrmaier

Anna Fahrmaier + Thomas Gabriel + Michael Hochleitner + Stephan Kirsch: Co-Founders, Typejockeys / Vienna AT

“eight would be the maximum; we want to keep it private and warm.”—anna fahrmaier

What is the collaborative type design and graphic design processes at Typejockeys? Does everyone work on an aspect of a typeface/design, or do you work on different projects simultaneously?
The two processes are different. In graphic design projects, we work on different projects at the same time, and also more people work on one project. Mostly, it’s a team of two: a coordinator and a designer. In type design, Thomas or Michael work on their own, but we do feedback sessions all together, to trace and co-create the process.

Typejockeys Team

l to r: anna fahrmaier, michael hochleitner, stephan kirsch, thomas gabriel

photo: andreas jakwerth

courtesy of typejockeys

How do your design personalities and skills work well together?
It’s important to detect the skills of individuals and try to arrange them in the best way to get satisfying results. That’s not easy; for us, it was a process to learn how to do so, and you sometimes have to cut back on your opinion, in order to be more receptive to new and different ideas. But in the end, everyone should be happy with the best possible result. We like the fact that we are a small team of four people, but we can imagine growing up to six or eight. Eight would be the maximum; we want to keep it private and warm. Michael, Thomas, and I have known each other since the age of 14, when we all got accepted to a graphic design school in Vienna. While working on projects together, we realized that we took the same approach to various tasks and were interested in similar topics. Also, we had a very committed teacher that, in the following years, would poke our interest in typography to a level where there was no turning back. Unfortunately, Austria is not able to look back on a rich history of type design. This drawback, however, motivated us even more to specialize in type. After working and studying abroad, we were all back in Vienna by 2008, and founded Typejockeys only a few months later. Stephan joined two years ago.

Lettering on Friday

Thomas and Stephan Sharing the Light Table

courtesy of typejockeys

Do you change roles depending on the project and who is involved?
We do. As mentioned before, in most of the graphic design projects, there’s a project manager and one or two designers working on a job. The managing part involves communication with the clients, working out what’s appropriate for them, and leading the design process.

What is your collaborative process with clients?
Talking! That’s all-important.
Talking in the beginning: We want to take the needs and wishes of the client seriously, and at the same time, question everything.
Talking in between: Discuss and rethink our work collectively.
Talking in the end: Is everyone happy with the results and the way the project was processed?

Is it easier to collaborate on design in the same physical space or remotely?
It depends on the project and the parts the collaborators have to fulfill. For us, it’s definitely important to be at the same place. We are convinced that somebody’s appearance can influence each other’s work.

How has technology influenced collaboration around typeface design?
Technology sure has changed the way typefaces are produced nowadays. You don’t have to be a big company anymore to produce high quality fonts. But with this benefit comes the same requirement, that it is not about the limitation or ability of the software; it’s still about a very unique craftsmanship that someone has to study and perfect over a long time. For example, we are constantly trying to push our abilities in that field. With the internet, selling fonts has gotten easier, which leads to a huge amount of typefaces, so the choices have expanded, which is a good thing.

Tom is Lettering

courtesy of typejockeys

Our collaborative process is still very personal. We like to meet, discuss, and exchange ideas, but its good to have a common ground of software tools that everybody is familiar with; this leads to a much easier process of exchanging work files.

What typeface or project best exemplifies your collaborative process?
The FM4 posters! For a new poster series for Austrian radio station FM4, we were asked to help do some lettering. This relatively small project had so many people working on it: an art direction team for the conceptional part, a photographer shooting the bands, an illustrator to re-illustrate the photos, a designer to hand-letter a customized solution for the headlines and artist’s names, and the layout team to put all of the fine-tuned parts together. It was a well-functioning, complementary team and the results were special.