Hector Torres, graphic design intern and MFA student, shares his work at TypeThursday Los Angeles.

Better Letters Together: Hector Torres

Before and after success stories from TypeThursday (7 of 10)

Once a month in cities worldwide, TypeThursday raises the baseline on letterform design and use through friendly, moderated, group discussions of type-centric works in progress. Up to three designers present for advice from their chapter’s “type superfamily,” i.e., the letterform lovers and experts who gather to talk type over drinks. Here’s how TypeThursday helped one presenter’s work ascend.

Kara in discussion with Michelle about her lettering project at GoogleNYC.

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Hector Torres is an MFA graphic design student at the Otis College of Art and Design, as well as an intern at April Greiman’s design consultancy, Made in Space. He presented to his local chapter, TypeThursday Los Angeles (TypeThursdayLA), in search of guidance on Ahuizote, a typeface adaptated from lettering on historic Mexican signage.

Hector’s project before showing at TypeThursdayLA

Project background

Ahuizote was inspired by lettering on pre-revolution signage created by the Hijo del Ahuizote newspaper in Mexico. Hector used an original photograph of the sign for reference; he then reworked and refined the letterforms.

What was working?

Hector was happy with the handcrafted feel, as well as the Mexican historical subtext.

What was challenging?

Hector was finding it challenging to achieve readability without erasing the letters’ quirks in the process. He was also encountering difficulties standardizing the shapes of the serifs. Lastly, the letter ‘S’ was remarkably delicate; Hector wanted to be sure it fit with the rest of the alphabet.

In a presenter’s words: Hector’s TypeThursday experience

After Hector introduced his piece to the crowd, the Dialogue Lead opened the floor to attendees to share their expertise and observations. At TypeThursday, group discussion is always constructive, revolving around form, process, tools and techniques. Of the experience, Hector says:

I liked all the constructive feedback I received. I could tell there was a genuine interest in getting the type to the best place possible. I was pleasantly surprised to get notes of my crit, which I relied on later when making changes.
It was beneficial to see the type through a fresh set of eyes. Some of the feedback resonated with me. I was able to approach the type design with renewed vision.
Informed practitioners like Arabic type designer Kourosh Beigpour ensure effective input from the audience.

At TypeThursday, Hector was treated to something we don’t always get from a BFF, grandma, or the adjacent cubicle: type-centric feedback from informed and diverse perspectives. Our events attract everyone from professors to typeface designers, to even UI designers and illustrators! Some attend to listen. Others jump into the conversation. And all attendees, from presenters to observers, benefit from the open exchange of knowledge.

All signs point to improved letterforms: Hector’s typeface before and after showing at TypeThursdayLA.

Unfinished letterforms are just our type

From our jobs to Instagram, seems we’re always expected to present our best faces. At TypeThursday, we take the pressure off by accepting every face — especially the imperfect! In fact, the less polished, the better: works in progress allow our talented crowd to give you comprehensive feedback you can put to immediate use. So go ahead, bring us that half-lettered quotation — together we’ll put a period on it. Submit your work to a TypeThursday near you.

Get to know Hector: Follow him on Instagram

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