APFEL’s new digital foundry explores type as ‘readymade’

APFEL’s new digital foundry explores type as ‘readymade’

London-based graphic design studio A Practice for Everyday Life has launched the APFEL Type Foundry, through which it will publish a growing library of typefaces developed through visual, textual and experiential research

If you’re not familiar with the APFEL design agency by name, you’ll have likely come into contact with its output – on gallery walls, in publications and in the hallmarks of creative institutions.

Established in 2003 by Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas, the London-based graphic designers’ work can be seen work can be seen throughout the UK (and internationally) in the digital experience of Camardy Groarke’s Windermere Jetty, in publication design for Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, and in the bespoke typefaces for V&A Dundee.

Type design has been ‘central to APFEL’s practice since its inception’, explain the duo, and so the creation of a native foundry seems a natural progression. Launching with four retail typefaces – Certeau, Periferia, Remnants and Lining – alongside a bespoke type design service, the APFEL type foundry is now open for business.

As many will appreciate, launching a landmark project during a pandemic presents challenges. But for Carter and Thomas, it also presented opportunities. ‘Our launch date for the APFEL Type Foundry project didn’t change significantly due to the lockdown, and we actually found that the situation galvanised our determination to make it happen – this is a project that means so much to us as a studio that we felt it was really important to stay on track, as we were so close to completion by the time that lockdown happened.’

They continue: ‘Having something so big and important for the studio to work towards alongside our client work during these months has been really valuable for the team as a whole, and it’s wonderful to have something to celebrate right now.’

Though they aren’t celebrating with a physical launch party just yet, APFEL has released a physical publication to mark the moment. A specemin for the foundry’s new retail typefaces, Type As Readymade features a timely essay investigating the cultural concept of the everyday, and type design in context. As the value of clear and creative communication – both virtual and physical – is assigned gravitas in these strange times of isolation and distance, APFEL’s communicative work is marked with renewed importance. §

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