Pimp My Type: Oliver Schöndorfer on his mission to make the world beautiful via great typography
What’s the right font weight for an eBook? What is a good typeface for headings? How to fix bad kerning manually? What is the right space around headings in web typography? What font combination works well with Montserrat?Is a branding font good for UIs? Are any good fonts released recently? Questions, questions, questions not destined to remain unanswered thanks to “Pimp My Type.”
Insightful, educational, updated and light-hearted typographic advice is a hit online and Oliver Schöndorfer aka the UI and app designer from Austria who is on a mission to make the world more beautiful with great typography, will make sure that good, consistent kerning wins.
Here Typeroom catches up with the producer and host of PMT, an online project that delivers. “I launched Pimp my Type because I wanted to teach others the possibilities of digital typography and also provide me with a reason to spend some time with typography regularly,” says Schöndorfer.
TR: What is the core idea of the project? What are the services now, and what would you like to achieve in the near future?
OS: I currently send out a weekly email with a font recommendation. Each week a free font, followed by a paid one. I want people to learn about how they can use the specific typefaces best and what rather not do. It’s inspirational and educational. Then I create learning videos for specific topics on YouTube, like font sizes or pairing type, or other things designers find hard when it comes to type. I also do interviews with others that I release as videos and podcasts and I offer free quick reviews and paid in-depth coaching calls. Right now, I’m about to launch a course about pairing type. I plan on offering more learning content as on-demand courses to fund my mission to make the world more beautiful with great typography.
TR: When reviewing a font what are the steps and the timeline before the final choice + presentation?
OS: I always start my research by reading newsletters and checking social media channels. Then I reach out to the studios and creators and ask for the fonts which I test and try in my layout, always thinking about what would be interesting to share with my audience. What specific features does this design offer? Often, people don’t know about stylistic alternates and all the possibilities a typeface comes with. I want to motivate them to try it out and use their benefits. I also point out when something does not work properly or where I see the potential for improvements.
TR: How time-consuming is it for you to run the project and its media channels?
OS: It takes me around one to two days a week. That’s quite heavy. But this is a commitment to my subscribers and readers, I’ll show up each Friday for 91 weeks now. Still in the game, even if it can be exhausting at times. My own aspirations are very high and I tend to lose myself in the details. But overall, I love spending time on that project. It makes my heart shine!
TR: Would you like to shape some quick pro tips for the users to identify a good or badly designed font in an instant?
OS: As a rule of thumb: a bad typeface has awkward, uneven kerning, bumpy curves, missing characters or is very inconsistent in its design.
TR: How do you get to decide the theme of your articles?
OS: I ask around and research what people need and ask me. For the reviews, I try the typeface, and then while doing it suddenly a theme evolves.
TR: What typography has taught you by now?
OS: To make decisions and become aware of the content. Text and Type always go hand in hand. I don’t know a place where the appearance and the content are so much more tied and interconnected together. These two elements play together, or they play against each other if you don’t know about the guidelines.
TR: Which other similar accounts would you recommend to our readers?
TR: If you were made of type what kind of typeface would you be and which symbol if applicable?
OS: I’d be an asterisk in Right Grotesk by Pangram Pangram. I used it in a project recently and like it a lot because it is familiar — like Roboto/SF Pro but weird in its own way. The asterisk is subtle, a bit quirky and attention-grabbing even though it is small next to a word. Not sure why. Very philosophical here ;D
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