An interview with Ryan Martinson the creator of veneer

In what I’m hoping will be a regular feature of my blog, this is the first “an interview with”. I’m trying to learn a bit more about the person behind the design in a lighthearted kind of way. In this first interview, I speak to Ryan Martinson, the creator of veneer and many other typefaces. Ryan co-created Yellow Design Studio, a type design and fine arts studio based in Madison, Wisconsin. I really admire their work; they do some truly awesome, kick-ass fonts.

How did you get into design?

I went to school for fine art/graphic design. After I received my degree, I worked in graphic design for about 15 years, and along the way developed a great appreciation for and addiction to fonts.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

The best part of my job is being able to do something creative… something that I love and make a living at it. The worst part is that it can be pretty tedious. There are very monotonous things that need to be done to create a font family… but I guess that just adds to the feeling of accomplishment when I finally finish one.

If you had another career, what would that have been and why?

If I could choose anything, I’d be a professional tennis player. I love sports, and playing my favourite sport for a living would definitely be a dream come true.

What does your work desk look like? Are you messy or tidy?

My work desk is a battle between minimal and clean vs. completely embarrassingly messy. Unfortunately, the latter usually wins… but I’m trying to get better!

Is there any font that you are particularly fond of at the moment?

I was just admiring the Dalle family by Stawix Ruecha. Gotta love the lowercase ‘a’ in the display weights!

What software do you use to create your fonts?

I use mainly FontLab, but also some Illustrator and Photoshop, especially for my textured fonts.

Where did the font name “Veneer” come from?

I liked the meaning of the word for a font family… a decorative covering over a course material. For some reason, I just thought it fit. Plus, it has 3 ‘E’s, so I was able to show that the font had multiple distress options for each character.

What’s the best place you’ve seen your font used?

Hard to choose, but I really like how Haw River Farmhouse Ales made use of my font, Wausau. I don’t think you could use it any better. And the artist that does their illustrations is phenomenal.

If you had only three typefaces to take on a desert island, what would they be and why?

I love the Klavika family by Eric Olson. That would be my sans-serif family. It’s so crisp and modern. Archer is probably my favourite serif, so I’d take that. And I’d take my Verb family because I’d like to work on it some more. I keep seeing things in it that I’d like to tweak but haven’t gotten to it yet.

What was the last film you watched?

Ha, the last film I watched was The Lego Movie (I have a 4-year-old son). I don’t get to the theatre for anything other than kids’ movies these days. It’s more TV now when I get a chance. I’m currently in the middle of the final season of Dexter.

Thank you, Ryan, for answering my slightly strange questions; you can find more of Ryan’s work at Yellow Design Studios.

That is all.