In late 1993 I made my first attempt to design a typeface. It was the time of discovering the tools to manipulate letters. Although, my first ‘type design’ — Handtwo — as the name indicates, was designed by hand, and only then, digitized using Fontographer. There isn’t much to say about this design, except that it shows that I didn’t understand much about type.
However, the feeling of making a font on my own and using it in print was something that really fascinated me since the first time. I was designing two magazines, (BodyboardPortugal and SurfPortugal), the art director and both editors were all very open to typographic experiments so I was able to try my ‘new fonts’ every month. It was the ‘boom’ of cutting-edge/grunge typography, and I was influenced a lot by David Carson, Emigre and the CalArts scene.
I decided to become a type designer. I knew, that it was something that I had to learn alone. After a long process of investigation and a lot of trash done in 1996 I came across type history, and soon I understood that it had an important role in all typographic practice. I started to study type history.
In 1997 I participated in the ATypI conference in Reading where I became the Portuguese delegate for the Association. This was the turning point in my career as a type designer, to begin with, for the first time in my life I‘d spoken with another type designer (Peter Matthias Noordzij), and I was able to meet and discuss with many other type designers colleagues. Since than, their help and collaboration, and the help of other designers that I meet through the Internet (you know who you are) was crucial to my evolution as a type designer. In one year my perspective of typography changed radically.
My interest in type history led me into a sort of design-reclusion, I’d read a lot of books on the subject, I spent I lot of money on books, my goal was not to design types for any specific use, but rather to investigate. I studied deeply the roman alphabet and type history. Trying to find what makes a typeface a ‘good’ typeface. Understanding why some types work better than others when used in the Portuguese language. All this investigation was supported with intense activity of type design, information and book design.
In 1998 I repeated my presence in the ATypI congress in Lyon. Once again the change of experiences was very important to my work, I was able to briefly discuss about my designs with people like Matthew Carter and Gerard Unger.
In 1999 I became the Portuguese agent for The Enschedé Font Foundry (coincidences). I missed both ATypI congresses in Leipzig and Copenhagen.
In the meantime, back in 1997, I released my first typefaces with Chicago foundry [T-26], and two years later Adobe published my Strumpf™, a funny display design. Since than, I’ve designed a couple of custom types, and published none.
Finally, the Feliciano Type Foundry takes on the retail type market, starting with two different concepts, a large type family — The Morgan Project — and a collection of small family or single font designs — The B-sides modular series.
Lisboa, Novembro, 2001