CAMELOT TYPEFACES — Interview
Camelot Typefaces, based in Leipzig, was founded by Maurice Göldner, Katharina Köhler and Wolfgang Schwärzler.
Hello Maurice, Katharina, and Wolfgang how are you?
KK — Very good, thanks for asking.
WS — Plus! Our website is up and running!
Can you introduce yourselves?
MG — We are independent publishers of typefaces. We are based in Leipzig.
KK — We are a collective. We are a trio. We are type designers. We are graphic designers. We like books. We also like websites. We work together. We work with others. And we’ll always be learning.
Where does your interest in graphic and type design come from?
MG — I had been interested in writing and drawing letters before studying. It intensified at the beginning of my studies at the Burg Giebichenstein. In the foundation year we had old fashioned – however for me very important – calligraphy lessons. After that I decided to focus more in type design. So I went to the newly founded class for type design at the Academy of Visual arts, the HGB in Leipzig.
KK — The decision to study graphic design at an art school was a result of the thought that I wanted to study in a group like situation rather than sit and study alone in a library all day. There has always been an un-definable fascination for the visual and the formal elements in design. Where my creative spark and the interest for people and communication came from I can’t really tell, but it’s certainly fundamental for the job and brings a lot of fun.
WS — It was the same with me. I prefer to have a specific challenge. Graphic design seemed the most interesting and open field in applied arts. Starting with first experiments in graphic design, I felt the strong need to leave some traces on type too. First by destroying it, later by designing it. This gives full control over all parts of the design.
KK — Type design is the basis of communication. It’s the first step and a big part of the graphic design. Thus it is very interesting.
How did you come to start up the foundry?
WS — When I began designing typefaces, I didn’t plan to give them to others. They were made for specific projects but eventually people started to ask for it. At the same time, lettering and type design people in Leipzig started to meet and to exchange. Katharina was (and still is) very active in connecting people. At the time she had freshly returned to Leipzig and wanted to do something together.
MG — Some of my typefaces have already been published. When working in different constellations of people on presenting our type here in Leipzig, the thought of doing something independently grew.
WS — We designed a specimen presenting a collection of typefaces from Leipzig, joining strength as a group of designers. Also, we wanted to show the typefaces in real contexts. So at the independent art book fair “It’s a book” in Leipzig in 2015 we also showed a stack of books in which the typefaces were used and started to hand the specimen to people.
MG — While working together with Wolfgang and Katharina, we noticed that we complement one another — as characters, in our expertise and with our typefaces. We were curious and wanted to take it to the next level.
KK — It was the pure need of a platform like this. And of course the absolute naive thought to be able to do a good job.
Can you tell us more about one of your typefaces?
W — Graebenbach started in the beginning of 2011 as part of my graduation project. In 2013 a friend asked if I could contribute a typeface to Parallel School Berlin. I didn’t want to just hand over one of the typefaces I already had made. Parallel School is about the idea of equality. A monospaced typeface felt the perfect fit, so Graebenbach Mono was created. To complete the reworked and released family, I’m working on Graebenbach Mono again right now.
Where would you like to see your typefaces used?
KK — One step is the design of the typeface, the second one is the application. It can be seen like an interpretation of the typeface itself. I only have the very secret wish to have some certain people “use” my typefaces. There are some very talented graphic designers out there. For example, I am very happy that Pascal Storz and Fabian Bremer used Rosart in the book project Transpositions for Spector Books.
WS — Since we ourselves also use our own typefaces in books, exhibition graphics, and posters — in the cultural field — it still feels like the most natural habitat to me. Personally, I like it best, if I’m interested in the content it’s used for.
MG — A sustainable and conscious use is important to me. For example, Lelo is used for the identity of Egenberger Lebensmittel. They are a foodstuffs distributor from Leipzig, who manages and sells regional products only within a certain radius around the city.
A designer that you admire?
KK — I would expand that to creatives. Elaine Lustig Cohen, Gunta Stölzl, Franziska Holstein, Hilma af Klint, Julia Born, Estrid Ericson… they’ve all built up a strong consistent body of work that is partly very serious but I can also find a kind of joy in it.
MG — There are a lot of designers I appreciate. To choose one is very difficult. I am interested in sudden, unconventional or dissimilar positions.
Is there a book which opened your eyes about design?
MG — Gerrit Noordzij’s The stroke is still an important book for me.
KK — When studying the books of Otl Aicher e.g. Welt als Entwurf was a very strong text to me. His views on design were at the time so precise and rigorously demanding. His rhetoric and strong beliefs were very impressing. I still can remember it made me look different on the world for a while.
WS — One of the first books that hooked me was Christopher Burke’s Paul Renner: The Art of Typography. I’m interested in the stories behind a work.
The last word…
Thanks for having us.
Pictures & projects by Camelot Typefaces.
Interview: Dennis Moya and Tiffany Bähler, 10.16