How do you design your country’s national font? That’s what Wayne Thompson was asked to do by Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, whose charter mandates the delivery of content which contributes to the national identity. They asked for a type family which unifies their digital presence across multiple platforms, is best-in-class for legibility and accessibility, and expresses a proud, uniquely Australian voice. Thompson describes the process he undertook to research the Australian psyche and understand our vision of ourselves in order to balance these impossibly wide-ranging—and sometimes competing—requirements. This talk is a case-study which illuminates the importance of research in the type-design process, and explores the meaning of national identity and how typography can carry signifiers which express and reflect it.
After beginning his career as an advertising art director, Wayne Thompson launched his type foundry in 2001. He works full time as a type designer, typographer, and type educator in Australia, producing custom type projects for corporate and advertising clients. He recently gained his Masters of Type Design from the University of Reading, UK. Thompson is looking forward to returning to live gigs with his band Nerds and Music. He supports Arsenal and, occasionally, Spurs (except when they play Arsenal), but never Chelsea.