Designer Matt Mitchell tells us how being type-obsessed led to his Nice Letterform side project.
Who are you?
I'm Matt Mitchell, a type-obsessed interface designer from England. By day, I'm head of design for bet365, a large online gambling company. When not boxing, I spend evenings improving my typeface knowledge.
Letters and typography are pretty much what first got me into design. I loved seeing letters displayed at large sizes and became fascinated that these beautiful abstract shapes mean something to the mind. These characters and glyphs have so much personality that I wanted to share the gems hidden within my favourite typefaces. I'm also fascinated by the history of printing the written word.
What's the reaction to your Nice Letterform project been like?
Very positive, especially after my friend Ben Frain tweeted about it. Waking up one morning to see it on Khoi Vinh's blog was quite literally awesome. The feedback on Twitter was fortuitously timed as I'd started to consider myself very strange for creating the site.
Should everybody have a side project?
If they can fit into their lives, then yes; it's never a wasted endeavour. For each side project I've done, I've always folded the experience back into the day job and improved my own skill set. In this project, I learnt how to create powerful mixins in Sass that automatically style inline SVGs using very little code. Who wouldn't want to learn about that? I think it's also useful to let the mind wander free and express an artistic idea that may not have the opportunity to take flight inside a work environment.
If you could take one letterform to the grave, which would it be?
Based on evidence from The Coen Brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy, I think the beautiful oval of Futura's Bold O would be most useful in the afterlife. Its ability to double as a frisbee or hula hoop could be a great way to while away eternity.
This article originally appeared in net magazine issue 249.