Thomas Jokin — Creator of TypeThursday
A few weeks ago we met Thomas Jockin during July's Type Thursday, a monthly meet-up for typeface designers, lettering artists, graphic designers, or anyone who loves typography and letterforms.
Thomas is not only the organizer of this event, he is also a creative typeface designer with over 10 years of experience, whose work includes clients like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Foot Locker and Express.
We took some time to chat with Thomas about his work and his plans for Type Thursday, hope you enjoy it!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm a fool who’s in love with life.
What made you pursue Typographic design?
Meeting the typeface designer Joshua Darden as my Typography I instructor.
You were an apprentice for Joshua Darden, right? What was that experience like? Did you have any type design knowledge when you started working with him?
No experience before. Studying under Joshua is one of the favorite times in my life. It was a privilege to have a mentor to study under for three years and to have the deep faith to receive the training.
Before discussing Type Thursday I wanted to talk about your work a bit: Looking at some of your typefaces (Azote, Garçon Grotesque, and Ductus), they all explore very different styles. What was your creative process like when designing them?
I think of my retail typefaces as LP are to music. They're products of an idea at one particular moment in time.
What are some of your basic rules when working on a typeface?
Honor the internal logic of the design. Have faith that logic will reveal itself in due time.
You mentioned Azote is inspired by the 1968 Olympics at Mexico, Ductus by Arabic calligraphy and Garçon Grotesque has a heavy European vibe to it. Were you trying to explore different cultures through typography?
Not intentional, but that's an interesting question. I will say that this discipline of type design is inherently multicultural. Type design can be a gateway to learning many things. That's why I love it.
Looking at your work, you seem inclined towards display-ish typefaces, is this something you do prefer to work with?
It's worked that way with my retail typefaces. Each release was exploring of an logic that mixed with my exuberant nature. Will that continue? I'm not sure. What I do know is; I'll reveal the logic of a work whether it is display or text.
Let’s talk about TypeThursday, and let’s get this out of the way: Why Thursdays?
Ha! Well, there’s many reasons. The practical reason is because New Yorkers always have plans on the weekend. So, Thursday is a good day to have a hangout.
I really think the idea behind this project is great, and now with your upcoming partnership with TDC it is bound to get even better, but how did this project started? Where did the idea come from?
My master Joshua had a similar project called First Thursday. Type designers who were friends with Joshua like Christian Schwartz, Jeremy Mickel and Chester Jenkins would drop in, grab a drink, show proofs, mark them up and catch up. Years later, I needed a external pressure to keep me producing my own work, so I invited my type design friends to a bar, show proofs, and critique each other. I also found I was good at critique. Critiques are a story of a designer trying to reveal a design’s logic.
Do you think there’s something about New York that makes it so prolific for type designers?
It's important to remember without a robust design culture, type design can't sustain itself. Centers of culture are the foundation for type designers. New York is one of many places with a hotbed of cultural activity.
What are your plans for Type Thursday?
To change everything. One connection at a time; one conversation at a time; one critique at a time; one design at a time.
Looking at the strong community you are building, where do you think typography is going as a discipline?
It's an golden age of type. Interest in type design is extremely apparent. New models of payment have come to market. Centers of education for type have grown exponentially. I couldn't have asked for a better time to be alive and practicing type. The question now for type designers is: How can we create forms that serve our current condition?