…and K is for Klim and koru. Kris Sowersby's AGDA International Speaker Tour poster.
If there was a type design equivalent of a poet laureate, a type designer laureate for instance, would it be too contentious a statement to let Kris Sowersby, from the Klim Type Foundry, wear the raiment. The designer of typefaces such as Feijoa, Newzald, National and Galaxie Copernicus is in demand not just as a fashioner of letters and such, but also as a public speaker. Quite possibly, he's the face and the voice of New Zealand type design.
Sowersby’s latest foray into the realm of public speaking was as a guest of the Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA). His tour of duty took in the Lucky Country's major metropolitan locales and Hobart. Of course, any popular public speaker requires a promotional poster, and in this instance Sowersby commissioned Duncan Forbes and Elaina Hamilton from The International Office (formerly known as Experimenta) to do the design work.
“Kris always asks me to design his stuff, and I always say no,” says Forbes, referring to Sowersby’s predilection for perfection and strong opinions about what looks right. In this instance, however, Forbes said yes collaborating (via iTalk, possibly for safety) on the design of the poster.
“We started off with something quite serious,” he says, “but it quickly became more light-hearted.”
Forbes suggested using one of Sowersby’s unpublished typefaces PLINC Exotique, which was commissioned by House Industries, as the poster font. The strong colours chosen – red and black – also have a strong cultural connection.
The font has two layers, and is a two-tone typeface, which means you can incorporate any two colours you like.
“Many of Kris’ typefaces have a little bit of kookiness," says Forbes. "They’re hardcase, like him – it’s his humour coming through. Feijoa, for instance, if you look closely, is quite organic.”
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the poster, and the speaker, was well-received by Australian typographers, and Forbes thinks that Australian typographers would have gotten a kick out of seeing such definitively Australian names treated in such an obviously Kiwi style.
– Michael Barrett