Computer Arts: Tell us about Quemada ...
Ernesto Gonzalo: When I graduated in graphic design advertising, I needed to start a project that reflected everything I had learned, and all of the leaflets, photos and brochures I'd collected over three years. I decided to print a magazine in three stages of design: research, collection and design. AD1OZ Revista was an open project, where I could work with freedom while looking for new graphic ideas.
The first step was creating a typography for headlines and page numbers with fax paper and solvents. Quemada [burned] typography was inspired by the manifesto of design anarchy, in magazines such as Adbusters. Baseline, Dot Dot Dot and Emigre.
CA: What is the creative process like, for you?
EC: Every time I start designing a typeface, I draw its parts very large. I usually start with the details of the letter G: the neck, the tail, the ear. I'm usually very excited to see the typographic curves, the joins and the gigantic borders draw with pencil.
CA: Was there anything particularly challenging about this project?
EG: Fax paper doesn't really get burned, but when you heat it you get a very dirty black colour. With the help of stencils and solvents, you can get a surface close in colour to a starry sky, with white dots and violet tones. The process of digitalising those elements is in no way less fun: you convert analogue shapes in vectorial numbers. That, somehow, has poetry in it, and it has to go through a process called dither. This is the origin of my nickname, Dithern. Once the typography is vectorised, I use Fontographer to adjust kerning and tracking.
I researched and collected fanzines with high-quality artistic content. Following their designers was really hard. I spent three weeks in this initial stage. The stage of prototyping, design, layout and printing of AD10Z Revista took 2 months of work. Quemada was one of my first typography projects and it was really fulfilling for me. I met many interesting people.
CA: How did you get into design?
EG: When I was a child, what I liked most was drawing. I always got into trouble at school for the caricatures of my teachers I made, and I was always carrying thousands of drawings in the books. One day they called me to be part of the school newspaper, and, at 17, I was working for the local newspaper.
I don't really think I have my own style, and if I have it I'd rather lose it. It'd be a mistake to remain tied to some aesthetic branch. I think design is a tool to change the world, to make it more beautiful, more usable, editable and even responsible.