I think I have a new hero...
RN: Bill’s typeface was surely influenced primarily by the principles of Concrete Art and, probably less so, by the medium (linocut) he was working with. To what degree is your Make Do Type influenced by your use of it within the medium of letterpress? Have other factors or concepts shaped the way in which you’ve designed this typeface?
PN: Sensibility to any material necessitates embrace of its natural limit. So letterpress is like clay; you have to go with it. The type is lasercut out of plywood (and other materials to create varied patina out of the same inked colour), so it has to be simple or large enough to cut; and robust enough to survive the press. And any other added functionality, such as letterspacing, has to work within this physical system. So some synonymity between the form and the tool exists, as in Cuneiform.
I’m interested too, in an emergent desktop publishing, onscreen material logic. Looking a lot at lost dog posters; smileys; that kind of thing. The free ‘amateur’ will to stretch or pimp a designed typeface. The tear-off telephone number poster is a great late C20th piece of design. Somehow, this will grow as a factor in Make Do Type.
Aside from the influences mentioned above, I have to cite Eva Hesse. Recently went to see the Studiowork show, featuring only her small sculptural test pieces. I read somewhere, Robert Morris described ‘anti-form’ as a basis for making art works in terms of process and time rather than as static and enduring icons.
Also, the ambition to work with a stock line weight (as a pole for formal play) comes from Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd and Dick Bruna (yes, Miffy).