Type Designer at Displaay Type Foundry


MartinVácha (Type Designer at Displaay Type Foundry)

Prague based Type-designer & Design-director in Displaay Type Foundry, formerly Graphic‑designer.

Prague, Czechia • December 8, 2021

What led you into design?

In actual fact, it was my mum when I was a young boy. She was and still is an Art teacher. And I really like drawing generally. It’s such a relaxing activity which I have always enjoyed from an early age. I drew cars, I also made my own designs and I drew their emblems. I was thinking about becoming a product designer. In addition, I was surrounded by VHS covers and posters during my childhood. I also created many of my own tape cassette covers and NHL jerseys, as we couldn’t buy them – it was expensive and not so common and easy for our family to buy.

Back to my mum, she decided to show me a new department in the secondary school in the city we lived called advertising and design. I fell in love immediately with graphic design and I dreamed of becoming the best of the best like Massimo Vignelli.

What does a typical day look like?

That doesn’t exist!

Each day and month is different at the moment. If you had asked me how it was before I had a family or before the pandemic, maybe I would have been able to describe something like a typical day. Typically, I do what needs to be done. I have many to-do lists, some online and some offline, in my notebook alongside my sketches.

A system and a typical day is fine but a luxury, and to learn how to recognize the most important tasks and to deal with them as and when is very practical.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I’m not exactly sure what inspiration is and if something like that exists. It comes into my mind automatically when I need it.

Usually it comes at the first moment, when I am thinking about a project or issue which needs to be solved. All our typefaces were created for some specific purpose, which is great.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

An interesting thing for me is that great design is something you might not naturally recognize on first look, but you like it, and it works as you need it to or you can use it intuitively. A great example is a chair I really enjoy: Physix by Alberto Meda. The chair doesn’t draw much attention to itself, but I like it, it’s easy to use, and it fits my seating needs. You would be surprised how many chairs don’t possess any of these aspects.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I hope my relationship with my wife and our sons goes without saying!

After that comes our great serif typeface family Reckless, which we are currently expanding. Or our other unique typefaces such as Matter, which is a sans typeface family, where subtle details play a role and provide character. I would say our other typefaces like Roobert and Denim are all interesting and unique. It’s hard to decide, and it also changes over time.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

I would say staying original. We are always looking for nuance to make our pieces unique. This is a challenge. Another is just time, which I often don’t have enough of to deal with everything as I would like. We have many ideas, but not enough hands and heads!

We are thinking about finding someone who can help us with production and with some graphic design.

What music do you listen to while designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Enjoy what you are doing. Sometimes it’s hard. This sounds easy, but you need to find the right moments and flow to achieve this.

Secondly, a responsible attitude to everything; to your clients, your colleagues, your designs, and other designers.

Thirdly, to do tests and sketches. Usually the first idea is the best, but you need to prove this to yourself and to others.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

I love our current project, Azeret. It’s one of the biggest ever projects for our independent foundry because it includes 3 subfamilies; Proportional, SemiMono, Mono (this one is for free).