Zin Nagao

Read the full interview here.

Dhwani Garg
Could you share a bit about your background and what drew you to experimental type design?

Zin Nagao
I was born in the countryside, in Saga Prefecture. I studied design in high school and vocational school, but it was mainly in vocational school that I started experimental type design. I was sad when my teacher was strict with me in typography class, and at the same time I thought, “I want to get better at typeface production!” I wanted to get better at typeface creation. From there, I started creating typefaces every day.
What aspect of experimental type captivated you more rather than traditional type design?

I really wanted to learn traditional type design, but it was too specialized and difficult, and there was no one around who could teach it. At first, I experimented with typefaces as if I was doing a puzzle. When a typeface design conference was held in Tokyo, I went to show the typefaces I had created as a portfolio to the typeface designers. The Japanese typeface designers did not praise me because they said, “You have to take a long time to create a high-quality typeface,” but the foreign typeface designers said, “There are not many people who can create this way. You can go on more.” This gave me confidence.
What do you like most and least about experimental type?

What I like is that it can be made in a short time, and what I dislike is that it requires a lot of ingenuity.

Fig. I
I am very much intrigued by the details ZNVT8 (Fig. I) typeface. Could you share your process and how challenging was it to design the punctuation?
At that time, I was mainly using a grid to create typefaces, so I thought I could create typefaces by creating a format and subtracting from it. A mere square wasn’t that interesting, so I created a parallelogram by combining a large square and a small square.

How long did it take for you to begin the ZNVT8 (Fig. I) typeface and finish the publish version?
I think it was about 2 hours.