70. Andrei Robu on Typeverything, Paul Rand’s Theory on Consumer Conditioning & Your Branding Strategy

imageDesign director, artist and creator of Typeverything, Andrei Robu has +15 years experience designing logos, typography and packaging design to build brand identity.

Typeverything began in Feb 2011 and now has over 100,000 followers. How did you grow Typeverything so quickly?

The team of curators made it all possible. Knowing that at some point I would be too busy with work to blog, I invited the best designers and influencers from the design community to share their inspiration. I formed a group of people whose work I admired and Typeverything became our collection of our favorite typographic work. The team has changed over the years; we’re constantly rotating people so our followers get the best curated content. We do accept submissions by email or Instagram. I guess we all try our best to keep up with the posting, some post more often than others.

But Typeverything is but one of the blogs I curate. I also run Designers Go To Heaven, CalligraphicaThey and Yeah.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Every creative I interview says that the quality of your creativity depends on the sources you draw your inspiration from and emphasizes the importance of:

  1. keeping an organized blog or notebook of ideas that inspire you so you can find them later when you need them, and
  2. having side projects outside of your work so you don’t burn out.]

How on earth do you find time in the day to stay on top of so many sites with so many followers? It is a lot of work actually but I enjoy it. It all started around 2005 when I started my first blog. I was doing quite a lot of browsing and I observed my obsessive behaviour in collecting images. When I discovered Tumblr I created Designers go to heaven (in May 2009). Then as I was posting a large amount of typographic images, I decided this field needs its own blog, so Typeverything (February 2011) was born. There were other typography blogs but I felt my way of curating was a bit different.

Its field that really took off the past couple of years but the amount of bad work presented online is diluting the visual culture of the public. Folks can’t tell what is professional work or not, so wanna-be designers with no experience in communication design get excited over a few Instagram likes and contribute to a hype that will consume the styles before they had time to evolve on the applied market, used by real clients.

Typeverything’s design template is unique and exploits certain widgets and hacks not currently familiar on tumblr. Why do you find this template to be the best layout? I designed this layout long before Tumblr had so many grid based themes. I just wanted something easy to browse so you can focus on finding some inspiration without having to click the next page button.

I created all the hacks myself from a usability point of view. The layout is not really up to date and it could look fancier, but it gets the job done.

Sometimes there is advertising on Typeverything, sometimes there isn’t… From time to time I include advertising on Typeverything when we have to cover certain expenses, however monetizing and making money off of Typeverything isn’t our priority. Additionally, I won’t post ads outside the design world. I also don’t like ads that sell discounted fonts. It’s ridiculous.

How, then, do you make a living off the work you do? Besides being a curator, I’m a brand designer and artist. I’m hired to create logos or art for clients that appreciate my work. That’s how I make a living, not through ads or blogs; those are just for fun.

What are some clients you have worked with? AggressiveNike, Stella Artois, The Golden Globes, Nestlé, The Coca-Cola Company, Billboard Magazine, Wired… For the full list, click here.

 

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And most recently I designed a logo and the window display for Fenwick: one of the biggest independent department stores in London.

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How much professional work do you receive as a result of curating Typeverything and you other sites? I’m not sure about the amount of clients that find me through the blogs. I guess the blogs made my work familiar to more people. But at this level the art directors hiring you know the industry very well and they choose the designer that’s the best fit for the job. You can’t risk hiring someone with no experience just because you’ve seen a cool pin on Pinterest.

There are arguments for and against the importance of logo and typography. What is your position? I think logos matter. They are the face of the company. We are all familiar with Paul Rand’s theory on the IBM logo. He was the one saying that he could have sold them any logo, that is was only the way the logo was implemented (“repetition”) that made the IBM logo an ICON.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.” – Paul Rand]

I think a logo must be appropriate for the industry, otherwise it won’t work. Some logos are crappy, but at the speed of how we communicate, companies need to learn to adapt and to invest in design. Most companies do this already.

That being said, if a ‘cheesy’ logo is good design, and if you invest correctly in building your brand experience, then your logo will work. Ultimately, you have to be a little different. Gotham all caps might work but you have to study the market first. There’s a market for every industry, maybe Gotham is already taken for yours.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: My interviews with French typographer/graphic designers Thomas Yve and Marine Soyez argue the importance of typography and logos. Timoni West, User Experience Designer points out that logos might not matter as much as agencies say they do and that it comes down to sheer repetition. That you can have the most beautifully designed wonderful logo in the world, and you’re company will never be known.]

I’m a small business on a budget, any advice? Get some professionals to help you with your branding strategy. It will make everything a lot clearer. There are too many variables to keep in mind to simply generalize.

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