Leonhard Laupichler and Sophia Brinkgerd on creating and launching their book New Aesthetic 3
The New Aesthetic book series champions a borderless expression of creativity in its collection of independent type design. Initially conceived by Leonhard Laupichler as a thesis project, with the help of Sophia Brinkgerd, the popularity of the inaugural issue spurred the designers to collaborate and officially publish a second edition. The series is both a directory and a celebration of innovative type design that rejects the rigid dogma of tradition, encouraging the liberating overlap between art and design. Reflective of an ever-evolving society that blurs the line between digital and analogue, their third issue – New Aesthetic 3 – showcases a curated selection of experimental, playful and boundary-pushing typefaces. In line with its launch, we spoke with Leonhard and Sophia about the evolution of the series as well as the exciting future ahead.
PT Hi Leonhard and Sophia, how are you both doing?
NA Good! How are you? Thanks so much for having us!
PT Our pleasure! What led you to start working together on the New Aesthetic series?
NA When Leonhard first came up with the concept and idea behind New Aesthetic as a book, while developing it as his bachelor’s thesis, Sophia already helped him a little bit by giving her opinion on artists’ and designers’ selections and editing, so it naturally developed into Sophia being part of the second (first officially published book) and now the third volume. Also, creating a book like this is so time-consuming, it‘s always better to share the workload among two people.
This project brings together so many creatives.
PT Can you tell us a bit about the process and thinking behind New Aesthetic 3?
NA We pretty much started preparing for the third issue right when the second issue was out and published. We continuously and simultaneously collected typefaces, designers’ names and inspiration that we liked and made it a habit to talk about it regularly. It helped a lot to keep a dialogue about this kind of creative work and always shared our impressions. We talked a lot about the types of type design we were observing, what trends or developments we found interesting, or disliked, to ultimately start another round of typography-related work, that we felt like it has a special story to tell that we found enticing and that we wanted to archive and share with others through the book.
PT How did the launch event go?
NA Amazing! Of course, we were honoured to be able to work together with 0fr.Paris, which is one of the coolest bookstores for anything design and art-related in Europe for us.
But mostly, we were really blown away by the amount of people that dropped by. Breaking down the idea of the book, you can see it as a container of curated contemporary design work, and seeing how this project brings together so many creatives and then meeting the people behind this in person and entering a dialogue with them for us really brought out the whole essence of what New Aesthetic is.
We approached most of the contributors out of the blue, via email and purely based on the fact that we loved their work, without having any personal connection with them yet. Meeting some of them at the event was so exciting for us. Also getting direct feedback from visitors and seeing how it is a source of inspiration to many, felt like the project is fulfilling the purpose we had hoped it would have.
Consistently expand your pool of daily design intake.
PT How do you select the typefaces to be included?
NA Everyone can print typefaces in a book, but the difficult thing is the right composition and curation. It's like an art exhibition, all works have to be well selected and harmonise well with each other.
We each did our individual research, and over a period of over a year we both looked through social media and portfolio websites, but also books, and then shared our results, comparing, sorting, and noting unique, interesting, special qualities we noticed, and anything that stood out to us and tells a story we haven’t heard before. The selection process is also all about balance within the collection. That means that we avoid repetition, and that our goal is to have the typefaces complement each other, that we have contrasts. The result should be a well-balanced variety to look at.
PT Have you seen a shift in type trends and styles since you began working on New Aesthetic?
NA We see some kinds of tendencies evolve for sure and there are always styles and designs that are similar to each other or clearly reference something already existing, but there‘s also always something new and cool to see. When you look in the right places and consistently expand your pool of daily design intake, there are some very interesting and cool things out there.
PT What is your favourite part about creating each issue?
NA The events were the cherry on top for sure. Both the exhibition in November of 2021 in Milan, at Spazzio Maiocci, and the recent event in Paris showed us how many people share our enthusiasm for experimental and independent type, and gave us the feeling that what we created with these books also matters to others and that people see value in it, like we do. For us personally, it was amazing to meet so many of the contributors in person and to bond over the book.
PT And your least favourite part?
NA The least favourite part might have been some of the late-night emailing and Excel sessions, when we were already overworked and burnt out from our other jobs, but keeping an eye on the prize made it worth it to pull through.
PT How did you begin working with your publisher Sorry Press? What is your relationship with them like?
NA We approached Lukas and Moritz from Sorry Press while we were already working on the second issue, and heard from them through friends and co-workers. They supported us a lot, not only through their deep knowledge of printing and book design in general, but also through their guidance on dealing with the finished product and how the books would be available to the public. It was a perfect match. We loved having them around during our exhibition in Milan, and they were also the driving force to make the event in Paris possible. Any event with them has always been great, and we’d be open to doing more! Stay tuned.
PT If you could give any piece of advice to someone interested in trying type design, what would it be?
NA It would be to just give it a try, get inspired, see what’s out there, in the past but also in the present, and get started exploring your own interest within the field. Don’t compare yourself too much to others but learn from them and find your way to tell your story. If you find something you love, stay ambitious and consistent and things will fall in place. The most important thing is to have fun while practising.
Creating a typeface is a long and hard process and it needs a lot of experience, and attention to detail to achieve a high level of perfection. This only works when you continue having fun and loving what you do, which is why we think that experimental type design can be a nice starting point for many.
PT Do you have any ideas in the works for the future of the series? Is there anything that you would like to try out?
NA For now we are happy to see people enjoy the books and see where the inspiration takes them and what they make out of it, but we are definitely still interested in the exhibition aspect of it. The book concept was always to see the typographic posters as artworks that could be printed big for an exhibition, with the book being the catalogue to bring it all together. This is also why the book has a downscaled DIN format.
We think we might print the first book again together with Sorry Press. Back then when Leonhard first released it, only 100 copies were printed. Then we’d have a nice series of three books and some more time for new things :)