A Look Back at June’s Typographic Heroes


Ryan Arruda in Learning on June 29, 2016

We’re excited to bring you a look back at the latest crop of our Fonts.com hero images. As you know, each month we commission four designers to create expressive typographic compositions with single type families available on Fonts.com. We’ve asked our participating designers to share some insights into their design process, as well as some of their favorite typefaces, words of advice, and more.

Plus, whether you’re a design veteran, or somebody fresh on the scene, all are welcome to apply to design a hero image for us. Without further delay, here are the images we’ve been proud to host for the month of June. Read on!

Dan Draper – Posterama

What drew you to the Posterama™ typeface?

I’ve been crushing on Mads Berg’s work for a while, and right away I noticed that Posterama was well-suited to an art deco-style travel poster—and just about any other period poster—with its wide range of styles and weights. My wife and I were a couple weeks away from a trip to Iceland to celebrate her finishing nursing school, and I thought maybe I could create a hero image that could depict her in Iceland, as a surprise. I enjoy hiding personal or funny references in my work, including my previous hero image for Fonts.com, in which I hid (four) references to the Cicada 3301 puzzle.

“Right away I noticed that Posterama was well-suited to an art deco-style travel poster—just about any other period poster—with its wide range of styles and weights”

Take us through the image’s construction

Initially, I sketched versions of her backpacking and then thought about depicting her enjoying the Blue Lagoon, which we visited on the first day of our trip.


I couldn’t get the color palette for the Blue Lagoon to look the way I wanted (it was overly cool), so I made the woman a little more stylized and tried a few different destinations. I actually really struggled with it for a while because I wanted to insert more typography into the piece. Once I committed to using less type, like a real travel poster, everything started to fall into place fairly quickly.

What are some other favorite typefaces of yours?

There are so many great ones I love for different reasons and purposes that it’s hard to narrow them down into a nice list. Right now I’m a big fan of Borgstrand Pro, Freight Sans Pro, and Circular. I’m also crazy about anything by Tobias Frere-Jones. If you forced me to use only his typefaces for the rest of my career, I’d be happy, and probably wouldn’t struggle a bit to find a great face for every project.

Tell us a little bit about who you are, and where folks can find you

I’m in High Point, North Carolina. I’m the digital designer at an ad agency in Winston-Salem called The Variable; last year we were named one of AdAge’s Small Agencies of the Year. Like many designers I’m in a perpetual process of getting my website either up or updated. Dandraperdesign.com is my URL; if my site’s not up when you’re reading this then it’ll divert you to my Dribbble profile.

Lastly, what’s a typographic or design tip/secret you can share with our audience?

Hmm, well maybe most folks know this, but I only discovered it about a year and a half ago and it saves me a ton of time on iterative projects: in Illustrator, if you need something to appear in the same position across multiple identically-sized artboards, you can click within the artboard with the original object, select and copy the object, then click inside and select a different artboard and press Command-Shift-V to paste the object in the same exact spot. Command-Shift-Option-V will also paste it in the same spot on every artboard. If you’re using the “rectangle in the artboard corner, group, copy, paste, align, ungroup, delete rectangle” workflow like I was, STOP! This is better, trust me.

Thomas Yuen – Bio Sans

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What drew you to the Bio Sans typeface?

I’ve always loved typefaces with multiple weights and Bio Sans’ geometric design makes a good choice for designing something modern and sophisticated. I came across some old school solar system diagrams on the internet and thought it would be a good idea to redesign it in a modern way, with the subject of an eclipse to add some theatrical feeling to my image.

Can we see some early sketches of your design?
Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m located in San Francisco, working in a tech start-up as a graphic designer. I’m available for a small project / freelance, and you can find my work on Behance and Dribbble.

Any typographic words of wisdom?

Don’t be afraid to use a typeface in a small size. Even when they are not readable, type can still act as background texture and become beautiful typography.

Scott Fuller – Blak

What drew you to the Blak typeface?

I was a HUGE fan of the letterforms from the moment I saw it. So bold and uncompromising, and then you tell me there’s a bold style? Count me in! Great job by the folks at Textaxis. The typeface was a tremendous influence on style and subject, for sure.


“I was a HUGE fan of the letterforms from the moment I saw it. So bold and uncompromising…”

How’d your image take shape?

I’ve always been a big short track racing fan, so this gave me the perfect opportunity to try something new. I took a look around the old Dixie Speedway, and settled on an old late model car, accompanied by a solid membership patch. After a bit of sketching, I settled on the shape/style/layout, then just started blocking the shapes in. From there I added detail, color and started simplifying things even further. The little details make this entire illustration. And the badge was so much fun. I may even make a few of those for me…

What’s some go-to design advice you can share with folks?

I’ll share some of the best advice I’ve ever been given, courtesy of the late Malcolm Grear: “Pay attention to form and counter-form.” Think on that one for a bit…

What other typefaces are favorites?

In no particular order: Univers, Lubalin Graph, Cooper Black, Authority, Termina, Futura, Franklin Gothic, United, Trade Gothic, Stymie, Neue Haas Grotesk, Microgramma, and Century Expanded.

What are you up to, and where can people find you?

Everything’s pretty quiet right now, but I’m still going as hard as I can. Working on my new table tennis apparel brand, new items for the shop and a few other things I can’t talk about yet. Oh, and I’m headed to Alabama for a little workshop/speaking engagement/vacation in a few weeks! Here’s my site, store, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dallas Barnes – Eponymous

What made you want to work with the Eponymous type family?

The slab serif nature of Eponymous has both a historic connection to the West from the early 1900s, and its beautifully refined modern tweaks make it extremely relevant today. These characteristics—and my endless urge to travel west—made it a no brainer.

What did the early drafts of your image look like?
Eponymous Draft
Tell us what you’re up to and where folks can find you

I’m currently in the NYC area where I work full time at Ogilvy & Mather. You can find me at my site, or on Dribbble for more recent work.

What’s some go-to design advice you can share?

Find design work or typographic work that you admire and respect, and simply try to recreate it in a design program. You’ll learn why the designer selected the leading, spacing, tracking, weight of the type, etc. by doing so, and as result you’ll gain a ton of information on why they made those choices and what sort of effect those decisions have.

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