Get Inspired by Friends of Type

Thanks to technological innovations, there are certain “types” of friendships that now exist: There’s the friends we “like” on Facebook but admittedly have neither seen nor spoken with since the David Hasselhoff pre-cheese years or those we exchange precisely 140 characters of dialogue with on Twitter, and not a letter more.

But in the mix, there’s the uniquely meaningful type of online camaraderie, like the one between designers Aaron Carámbula, Erik Marinovich, Jason Wong, and Dennis Payongayong — built around their mutual passion for handmade design—namely, type. Although their friendship began solidly off-line at a branding firm in NYC, the foursome eventually went their separate ways. Marinovich, who returned home to San Francisco, missed his design buddies and, seriously needing a non-serious, non-work-related creative outlet, spent hours creating handmade letters. After sharing them with Carámbula over iChat, the idea for was born—an online “sketch book” to share original typographic content, lettering, ideas, and sketches amongst friends. Wong and Payongayong were immediately invited to join the sketchblog.
 But what started out in late 2009 as a “creative outlet, void of client ‘input’ and a place to have fun” has turned into the hot-spot of inspiration for self-proclaimed type-nerds and design lovers alike.

“I think original visual content on a regular basis is rare in the post and re-post scrap-o-sphere. People like that they get a new surprise daily and that it’s done by real people with names,” Carámbula explains. To add a little spice to the mix, they occasionally invite friends and folks they admire to guest contribute their own typographic creations for a week. However, this shared affinity for handmade type started long before the foursome launched Friends of Type.

While working together in NYC, whether on the same project or not, the designers would constantly push one another to new typographic heights. “We would pass sketches and share doodles while working on completely unrelated work to keep the creative battles going … This is exactly how our website started and what it remains to be—an extension of that battle from Brooklyn to San Francisco.”

Their favorite project? An opportunity to work together, of course! The “Wearing Whitman’s Words: A Typographic Exploration” show invited Friends of Type to participate in creating a typographic interpretation of a selection from the poem Leaves of Grass. “This was exciting as it was the first project as a group and our first attempt to find a common visual thread through our different styles and approaches on a single T-shirt,” Carámbula adds. But you can bet your arse it won’t be their last collaboration together.