Justin Thomas Kay / Interview



Hi Justin, how are you ?
I am well, thanks much in part too the rather warm fall in NYC extending well into November.

Tell us more about you. Who are you ?
I am a Creative Director and Graphic Designer from Milwaukee, WI and currently residing in New York City. 31 years old. Leo. Lover of Black Sabbath and Bernese mountain dogs.

You’re both a creative director and a graphic designer, how do you process in your work ?
The division for me is rather grey – I tend to view all sides of my work as problems to be solved, so I don’t really delineate which job requires what role. I just view it as me working on various projects and just trying to make great work that solves the needs at hand.

What’s your interest about typography and when did you start to create types ?
I became easily attracted to type in my younger years as a more illustration-focused creative person. I used to draw and play with type in my compositions, but my actual rendering skills were not great. Once I realized I could move to Graphic Design and focus on type, shape, color and form it all became much easier for me to process, and I have never looked back since. I would like to think, however, that I do still think like an illustrator at times. I view it as an asset.

Herb Lubalin is a reference for you ? What inspires and influences you ?
He was a definite intial influential person in terms of finding that balance between type and graphics. Making type the main focus and not just a support element to general image-making. He really opened my eyes to the idea that if I love type, and that’s what I really want to make, I can make type do whatever I want it to do.

You worked with some international brands like MTV Networks or Condé Nast. What is your creative approach about these kinds of clients ?
I try to have the same approach with everyone – make the process a place where we can collaborate and come together to come to a holistically successful solution that suits everyones needs on all sides. Whether it’s work for afamily member of the president of the united states id like to think its all under that focus.

In 2008 you have been chosen to be in the 50 Young Guns, by the art directors club of new york city. It has been a step for you ?
Definitely! I entered that as literally my first competition ever, and I didn’t really know what to expect from it. It was a great honor because it was judged by previous winners whom I had looked up to for some time. It meant a lot to know they saw me fit to be in the same zone as them.

You worked for the magazine “The Fader” as creative director. What do you think about magazines ? Is that a largest medium for creating ?
Magazines communicate in a way that almost no form of communication works – it is a highly personal and interactive thing, and they become a launch pad for peoples tastes and in a way become a blueprint for what they aspire to. Websites have gotten a lot better at communicating in a similar way in the last few years, but they do not do it as well. The internet can deliver some things faster and better than magazines, but the way you hold, carry, share and aspire to the printed magazine is something the internet will never be able to replicate.

Some projects to come ?
I am starting to teach in the spring, which is very exciting. I have a lot of new work coming through that I want to stay a bit hush on for now, but I am in the midst of an interesting transition and I thing 2012 will make for a interesting year.

Is there something special you want to do in your work soon?
Draw more typefaces! It takes a lot fo time, but I want to keep making typefaces for my small foundry site version type foundry.

Something to add ?
Thanks so much for asking me to do the interview! Oh and “Go PACKERS!!”


Thank you so much for your time !

> www.justinthomaskay.com
> www.versiontypefoundry.com

Propos recueillis par Dennis Moya.
Interview réalisé par mail courant novembre 2011.