Andrew Footit is a self-taught graphic designer from Johannesburg specialising in branding, custom lettering and creating custom typefaces. A fan of black and white, he believes simplicity is the most effective approach to creating good design. He enjoys making things that are “conceptualised from great ideas and crafted to perfection”. Among other things, Andrew talks to us here about his new display font, Roper, a western styled display typeface which reached number 5 on the MyFont.com hot new fonts list and has been featured in the Top 100 fonts of 2014 on Betype.
Did you grow up in a creative environment?
I did. Apart from art at school, my family members are all quite creative in various different things. There was always something being created in the house when I was growing up, especially crafty kinds of things, and everyone contributed in their own way.
When did you become interested in graphic design – and typography in particular?
I became interested in design in my matric year of high school. I am a self-taught designer so my design career started when I finished matric. I worked as a very junior intern for free for a month or two and so began my journey in design.
Typography became more of a focus for me in the last 4 years or so. I love branding and I think my love for typography started with creating logotypes/wordmarks. I started exploring typography more and became a little obsessed with it, studying letterforms and various typographic styles.
How would you describe your style and how has it developed since you first started?
I think my style is constantly developing, and don’t think I have one particular style in which I design. I am always experimenting and trying new things and techniques. That said, my work often turns out quite rounded with smooth flowing lines.
How do you aspire to differentiate your typographic style from those of others?
I’m not sure I can say I am in a space that I can call my own yet. I think it’s important to find your own space and own a particular style and build on that. I am just sticking with what I enjoy and that style will keep developing.
What or who do you look to for creative inspiration?
There are so many super talented people out there to get inspired by, when it comes to typography we have some huge talent locally like Jordan Metcalf, Luke Ritchie and Dani Loureiro to name a few. Others like Luke Lucas, Sawdust UK, Ben Johnston and Like Minded Studio are always an inspiration. I also have a few typography and branding blogs that I stick to that have quality content.
Please take us through your creative process.
I usually kick off with drawing out a rough layout and ideas, then go straight into design. More often than not I seem to work in black and white and build on from there. Sometimes type can look more beautiful when its kept clean and simple so I tend to keep copies of my progress along the way so I can go back to earlier versions if things start looking too fussy.
Please tell us about your latest project, Roper Font.
For a while I had been wanting to create a western styled display typeface. It took some time to finish the typeface as there are 12 versions that make up the Roper family.
Roper comes in a sans and a serif version, each version has a regular, press light and a press heavy option. The press versions are a letterpress/stamped style. I wanted it to be quite a bold font that would give the user some great headline options and something quite graphic.
What have been some of your favourite projects, and why?
When it comes to my personal projects I would say some of the typefaces I have made have been up there. Although it can sometimes be quite tedious putting a font family together, the end result is quite rewarding. When you have people around the world using a font you created in their design works it’s pretty cool.
What else can we look forward to from you this year?
I’m quite excited about what’s in store for the rest of 2015. What I can say is I will definitely be releasing a few more fonts and I am hoping to get involved in a few collaborative projects that will hopefully result in an exhibition.