DINAMO — “Favorit Lining” Interview

Dinamo is a Swiss type design practice established by Johannes Breyer and Fabian Harb.

— Hello Johannes and Fabian how are you?

Johannes is still in shock after Game of Throne’s last episode and Fabian is still shocked that Johannes started watching Game of Thrones only from Season 6 upwards – otherwise in good spirits.

— Can you introduce yourselves?

Dinamo is originally Johannes Breyer and Fabian Harb. We got to know each other through our Swiss friend Larissa Kasper during studies in 2010. Both of us moved to Amsterdam two years later, Fabian for working with Laurenz Brunner and Johannes to continue his studies after working for Norm. Many projects (Fabian) and a graduation from the Rietveld Academie (Johannes) later, Berlin was the next city of choice and base for setting up Dinamo. Three years more in Berlin and we again followed our philosophy of “work & travel”: we have recently moved on to different cities.

— How did you come to start up the foundry?

We had collaborated on typefaces before yet had never thought about releasing fonts officially. When it was time to think about suitable distributors for Grow, it became clear that we should take care of it ourselves. That said, we do not see Dinamo as a type foundry only but rather a platform from which to depart into various directions: fishing hats, mobile phone apps or Korean textile patches are some more recent projects. All together, we enjoy having created that “boomerang like practice” that itself creates new situations we have have to respond and react to continuously.

— You released the Favorit Lining typeface. Can you tell us more about it?

Favorit Lining is the youngest yet smartest member of the Favorit family. For reasons of species conservation, Favorit Lining is available on request only.

— What was the influences behind the lining design?

What we think connects everything that we published so far (Grow, Favorit, Pareto) is the belief that a typeface can accommodate gestures. Paul Elliman once called Grow a “constant joke on Modernism” which feels like a good methodology to us: you design and think through a system but eventually some parts get mixed up – in a good way.

Talking about the lining specifically; we were invited to design the catalogue of the Brno Biennale of Graphic Design in 2014. Since the material was coming in quite late, we used the time to finish preliminary sketches of Favorit. However, when the texts came, there was a need for emphasising text part we had not considered… Drawing an Italic in time was impossible, but merging an underline with the text itself felt like an interesting extension of this mechanical, typewriter-like highlighting convention. Eventually, the curators did not like the look so the Linings kept waiting in our drawer for their time to come.

— Can you describe the work process behind this project?

The first Lining version was not much of a magic trick but simply connecting descending characters with the underline. During the process, we realized that making use of open type technology would create even more interesting connections. With the help of our friend and engineer Gustavo Ferreira, Favorit Lining now scans every character in a word and context-specifically activates the most suitable alternate. Since some of those characters provide quite exotic results, we decided to produce both, the rather calm “standard underline” and its “rock n roll” brother, which can be accessed as Stylistic Set and get tamed by tough guys only.

— Favorit Lining is the young brother of Favorit. Could you give us a brief summary of the history of Favorit?

After Brno, Favorit soon became the official typeface for Warp Records (art directed by Till Wiedeck), the German Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale (designed by Spector Bureau) or the Korean street art festival “Bom” (with a customized punctuation we developed together with the anonymous group “dgt”). Up to that point only the Regular weight had existed but proven its charm and quality enough: we took some time off and extended Favorit into a family of 4 weights with corresponding italics and Mono for a final release in late 2015.

— Where would you see your typefaces used?

We totally trust our customers and don’t want to limit our typefaces to any field of applications. The only state we would not like to find our shapes in is remixed to death into some lame ass no soul Google font by Colophon Foundry :-)

Pictures and projects by Dinamo. Brno Biennale: “Image courtesy of Brno Biennale 2014” / German Pavillon: “Image courtesy of Spector Bureau, Leipzig”

Interview: Dennis Moya, 06.16


Type Design