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Working with Typography: Gianluca Alla

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Created’s in house designer Gianluca Alla has just been featured in Computer Arts Magazine for his recent work with typography, so we thought we’d interview him about the article and his work!

Rifletto-Riflessione con le lettere
Above: Rifletto-Riflessione con le lettere

When did your love affair with typography start?

It started during my last year at uni. I was working on my final project, called ABCDEFGraphic. It’s a publication about basic design. It’s divided into 5 sections: the sign, the form, the lettering, the word and the colour. Basically, these 5 elements are the ones that each graphic designer has to focus on when they work as a graphic designer.

In order to explain the lettering section I developed a project called “Rifletto-Riflessioni con le lettere” (Reflect-Reflection with letters). The title is a pun. It plays with the double meaning of the word Rifletto (the act of thinking and flipping), because actually that was what I did. I selected 26 fonts, one per each letter, and I designed 26 pattern flipping the letters. While I was designing the project I started thinking about the beauty of letters. How perfect they are.

Horizon Liquide, poster designed for Neubad Bistrò
Above: Horizon Liquide, poster designed for Neubad Bistrò

Why is it so important to use typography correctly?

Typography is literally the A, B, C of visual communications. It’s strong. It’s expressive. It gives contrast. Selecting one font over another font says a lot about the message the designer wants to communicate.


How do you go about selecting a font for a project when you have thousands to choose from?

In most cases I select or design the font according to the project. It’s never a whole typeface, I select or design he letters I need and then I use Helvetica for the rest.

Punto, poster designed for FrizziFrizzi and Italianism
Above: Punto, poster designed for FrizziFrizzi and Italianism

Interesting! Why always Helvetica though?

A few reasons really. Helvetica has become a symbol of modern typography and design. It is a font that is very easy to read, hence being used on the New York subway system and it really helps to give contrast to the other typefaces and messages.

Herb Lubalin
Above: Herb Lubalin's typography

Can you give us some examples of great uses of typography?

I do believe the best examples ever are the work of Herb Lubalin. The design of the letter is beautiful and also, letters literally describe the content. They tell a story.


Do you have any good advice for designers when it comes to using typography?

Research and experimentation, experimentation and research. Experimentation is a big part of my working process. It’s my gym.
I can make lots of mistakes. It doesn’t matter if what I do during the experimentation is bad or it doesn’t make sense.
What is important is doing, doing and doing. Then when I receive a brief I apply what I learned at the “gym” to the real project.
Sometimes I don’t really see a big difference between my experimentation and my real projects, which I like.


Computer Arts Magazine - Gianluca Alla
Above: Computer Arts Magazine - Gianluca Alla

How did the article in Computer Arts magazine come to light?

I recently launched a new self-initiated project called Letterzip, a series of short animated answers (GIFs). Users can send them through any applications just searching Letterzip while they are typing. I’m really happy about how it ended up. During Christmas the “Merry Xmas” GIF became viral on Giphy, with around 40 million views in just 2 days! It was on the top-trend on Giphy. This was then featured in Computer Arts Magazine (hence the article) and is also currently featured at MAMbo (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Bologna in their “Type Line” exhibition.

What sort of typography project would you love to work on in the future?

I don’t really have a preference. I love working with typography and applying it to different formats. I don’t want to be a designer who only designs or animates just one thing (like only posters or GIF’s). I like to be a designer that gets to work on lots of different projects with different styles.

If you have any questions for Gianluca about his work, why not drop him an e-mail – he’d love to hear from you! Otherwise you can visit his website here.

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