Fabian De Smet

I found very intriguing the work of Fabian De Smet, a young and talented creative graphic designer, that started off very young as a legal graffiti artist in France. Fabian, how did you approach the project Tribute to Madiba?

I started with quite a lot of research, making quite a lot of  drafts for the calculations, effects, trials.
I had to try it first on some smaller prototypes, than I started working at real scale when the work started to be good enough. I used 9 square meters of paper to make more than 750 handmade pyramidal polygons for the final composition.

How long did it take?
I made it all alone, it took me almost 4 months full time from A to Z, a friend helped me film a few shots. The cutting, folding, pasting was probably the longest part: there were a bit less than 800 polygons to make and they had to be near perfect for the process to be efficient. https://vimeo.com/121246086

Let’talk about the Butler font, a serif typeface you designed inspired by a mix between Dala Floda & the Bodoni family. Downloaded more than 250 000 times and awarded font of the month by Computer Arts Magazine.

First you have to develop your idea and see how far it will go, will it be interesting enough to be worthwhile? Then, how many weight you will develop, which glyphs, for which countries. I started with  the drafting process, tryouts on paper to see the main feeling it gives you, the personality of the font. Then comes the vectorisation of the drafts, it’s a very precise step where everything needs to be perfect. In typography you will often use the curve of a letter to develop an other one, so if you change one letter you probably need to change a whole lot, and this in every weight you create. You have to be very careful and double check everything. It took about 3 months I believe.

Why you decided to set the family font for frefor both personal & commercial use?
As a freelancer I did it all by myself once again, though my typography knowledge isn’t as good as a professional, which is why I believed my font should stay free for all. Maybe in the future I will create an other purchasable font.
As far as i can see, the hand working-cutting-folding side remains at the heart of your approach, like for the Lacoste Live pop up book.
It was a nice project to work on, we even spent many late nights to finish it. The challenge was interesting: create a modern and nice-looking design to tell a story that needs to fit inside a book. There were many complications as the foldings were sometimes too complicated or took too much place in the book. I believe making the unfoldable fragrance was the hardest part, but we kept on pushing forward to impress the client. Although a few dozens lighter versions were made, they are not for sale, they were given to the managers of Lacoste worldwide to announce the new face of the brand with the Lacoste Live style. I wasn’t the only one working on it. The project was taken on by an agency named Wildvertising in Brussels, and then given to Ink Studio (this studio is now gone, all the members have gone their separate ways) where I have been working on the project with several others. https://vimeo.com/94960009


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