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Best of Behance: Ale Paul, Éva Valicsek, and Ildikó Valicsek

By Jenny Carless

Who: Ale Paul, Éva Valicsek, Ildikó Valicsek

What: Typography and Graphic Design

Where: https://www.behance.net/gallery/41955565/Hashtags

Behance members since: 2009

To demonstrate the many possibilities of his Henderson typefaces, Ale Paul asked Éva Valicsek and Ildikó Valicsek to create a digital specimen. The result, Hashtags, is an exceptional and striking collaboration—an ultra-modern design with century-old roots.

INSPIRATION FROM THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY

Ale’s main inspiration for the Henderson typefaces was a set of bold caps drawn by Albert Du Bois for the 1906 instructional book Henderson’s Sign Painter. He was intrigued by how sign painters approached slabs after the Industrial Revolution.

Ale is one of the founders of the Sudtipos project, an Argentinean type foundry collective. He teaches typography at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and has worked as an art director for many corporate brands.

Ale says these letterforms, drawn by Albert Du Bois for Henderson’s Sign Painter, which was published in 1906, were a primary inspiration for his Henderson typefaces.  

“The slab serif is a very typographic—almost anti-calligraphic—genre,” he says. “But over the past 100 years, lettering artists and sign painters have made it their own in various ways, sometimes even without compromising between their artistic training and the genre’s inherent mathematical precision.”

The tactile and nonchalant character of the Du Bois caps struck Ale most strongly.

“They’re almost amateurish, a little like some of the popular film type from the ’50s to the ’80s,” he says. “Slab serifs aren’t supposed to be that way, traditionally; they’re supposed to be precise and rigid. But today, when the lines are blurring between hand and machine, I decided that there must be some appeal to the idea of a non-stiff slab.”


He adds, “And calligraphic elements can un-stiffen anything. Hence the curls and swashes, and the somewhat loose and playful take on the traditional Egyptian lowercase, for example.”


Henderson Slab is a family of seven weights, plus italics, all full of open features and extended Latin language support. Ale couldn’t resist creating a sans serif, too: Henderson Sans comes in seven weights, plus italics. Both the Slab and Sans families are available in the Adobe Typekit Marketplace. (For more about Typekit Marketplace, see "Find the Perfect Typeface.")

A STUNNING SPECIMEN

To help create the type specimen, Ale turned to the Valicsek sisters, who work together as Overlap One Another, a design studio in Hungary. The two brought their love of patterns to the project.

“We really like new challenges—to use patterns in different objects or with different types of graphics,” Éva says.

The sisters have designed patterns for the covers of Poetry Society of America, as well as covers and separator pages for the Hungarian Design Yearbook.

“Their work is like today’s sophisticated version of ASCII art,” Ale says. “It has an appeal that reaches your higher visual sense and triggers ideas that may not otherwise come to you.”

It’s the first time the three have worked together.

“This kind of synergy benefits us all,” says Ale. “The fonts get exposure, and the graphic designers’ work is seen, too.”

“It was super-exciting for us to collaborate with Ale to present the Henderson type families,” Ildikó says. “The Hashtags project offered us a new opportunity to mix our patterns with fonts this way.”

People tell the sisters that their patterns are reminiscent of floors.

“We approached this project like a game, like traveling through our imagination,” Éva says. “What patterned floor could we imagine with our pattern font—for Berlin or for Tokyo? We played with different colors, sizes, and shapes to make it look like we were there. And if it's all about traveling, why not share it? Hence the idea of using hashtags.”

Overlap One Another’s multilayer set of patterns has eight basic characters that may be combined further to provide new variations and geometrical structures. The pattern font contains 255 layered characters. Subject to the density of the patterns, the basic motifs allow for a more plain or more complex ornamentation, while coloring adds an endless number of variations.

The sisters created some ideas for the patterns and the hashtags, to which Ale added additional text, graphics, and design—so that the final specimen is an appealing mix of his elements and theirs. Finally, he engaged another collaborator to help market the Henderson fonts.

“Mariano Sigal of Cinco arranged a kind of story about Henderson slab with paper marionettes,” Ale explains. “After that, we marketed the slab and the sans together using the work of Overlap One Another.... Three different sets of visuals for two sets of fonts that complement each other—not common, but definitely satisfying.”

Check out the rest of the project on the Hashtags Behance page. Ale also created this specimen for his Henderson Sans typeface, with help from Hachetresele Studio (H3L).