Conran: Brought to you by the Letter B…

Tips on typography today from Bruno Maag, via Orla McAvinue – a Graphic Designer at Studio Conran…

Last Friday, Bruno Maag provided us with an energetic, fact-filled talk, on a topic close to all our hearts in Studio Conran.

It has been well documented that Bruno is not so fond of (whisper it…) Helvetica – boring, retro, lazy – but what of his masterplan to avoid it’s continued world domination?

Showing recent projects and collaborations, and spurred on by questions from the crowd, we gleaned nuggets of information to make the world a better place courtesy of thoughtful, lovingly created typography.

1. Never use Helvetica – learn to expand your repertoire. If you need a sans serif – use Univers – an infinitely superior creation.

2. Minus kerning? Absolutely not. Give type room to breathe!

3. When designing a typeface, start with the roman weight which determines the proportions for the whole font family.

4. Serif type always trumps a sans.

5. Type is not a mathematical equation – be aware of the grid, but also that the letterforms are living, breathing creatures.

6. The more typefaces the merrier. The world would be a boring place without them.

7. Understand the language you are designing for and the end user. It is crucial to be aware of the ebb and flow of sentences, in order to properly construct the individual letterforms and predetermine spacing. Is the typeface for body copy or headline? Will it be used to create airport signage or a logo?

8. Have fun – inject character, bring the brand to life!

9. And finally, be aware of intellectual property – make it your business to be up to speed on usage rights.


This was Bruno’s first visit to Conran, and the third time I personally been lucky enough to hear him speak. As always, it is impossible not to get swept along with his obvious passion and knowledge for all things type. Now all we need is a reason to commission one of his beautiful creations. Calling all clients…

Visit daltonmaag.com to appreciate the full spectrum of Dalton Maag’s work.


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