A lot has changed since we last wrote about New Aesthetic, a self-initiated book project by Leonhard Laupichler. Not only has Sophia Brinkgerd officially joined the team, the duo also won over the Munich based publishing house Sorry Press who is deeply rooted in the fields of literature, architecture, art and design. “We spent a lot of time researching and reaching out to different publishers. When we met Moritz and Lukas from Sorry Press, we had a very good feeling right away”, Sophia and Leonhard tell C24, “They share a similar taste and we appreciate their openness to our ideas, and their willingness to collaborate as equals. It’s been a very pleasant experience to work with them!” New Aesthetic approaches type design as an opportunity to create art and to experiment, leading us into a new future of practicing visual communication.
“The first edition started as Leonhards Thesis project, and was an experimental approach in itself then”, Sophia looks back on the early beginnings of the project. The graphic designer has already assisted Leonhard with the first book, predominantly taking over the communication with the participating artists. “Leonhard came up with the basic concept, and with the overall idea of curation and collecting and classifying Independent Typography. He fundamentally shaped the characteristics of the book that we now refined for the second edition in collaboration with Sorry Press.”
For the second edition, Sophia and Leonhard invited designers from different backgrounds, with different levels of experience, in order to include a broad variation of styles. The result is a harmonious and diverse collection of the many facets of contemporary type design, featuring great names like Zoé Abravanel, Kazuhiro Aihara, Baptiste Bernazeau, Laura Csocsán, Margot Lévêque, Leah Maldonado, Virgile Flores, Panama Papers Office, Charlotte Rohde, Morgane VanTorre, Rémi Volclair, Jacob Wise and many more. “One of our main tools for research is instagram. We both strategically collected all kinds of snippets of type work, letterings, type specimens and impressions that caught our eye and then shared and discussed our findings”, Sophia and Leonhard explain, “The common thread between all typefaces in this project was probably the power to express something emotionally and visually.”
During all of their research on type design and typography, what never failed to surprise the two designers was the abundance of styles. “One thing we want to achieve with the book is to create a platform, to show and display typography, without comparing and judging. It’s really enriching to see that all of the designers caught our eye for so many different reasons”, Sophia and Leonhard tell us about the current typographical landscape, “They all excel in their very own way: Some have professional training in type design, some are self-taught creatives and some designers enter the field of type design by experimenting radically. We find the coexistence of those diverse approaches super interesting and we think they can all learn from each other. We definitely already learned a lot from our contributors and they continue to inspire and influence us.”
Apart from curating and editing the book, Sophia and Leonhard have also contributed with their own typefaces – one of them their very first collaboration together – called Zephyr. “It was initiated as a custom lettering for a collaborative project we worked on with a friend. We wanted to meet a dreamy, light but also edgy aesthetic when we started to work on the typeface”, the duo explains, “Zephyr combines thin italic strokes and sharp serifs which constantly reminded us of delicate shapes moving in ice cold wind. That’s why we named the typeface after the wind god of Greek mythology.”
New Aesthetic, like many collaborative projects, can only exist because of good time management and a continuous effort made by both parties involved. “One thing we learned was that organization, planning and structure are essential”, Sophia and Leonhard state, “Working together as a team gave us some reassurance and having the ability to discuss decisions together was extremely helpful. I think for the project it was also very enriching that we taught each other a lot about different styles by exchanging what we liked and what caught our interest in the type world. Two pairs of eyes see more than one.” With Sophia in the US and Leonhard working from Berlin and Munich, the two designers were faced with the challenge of managing different time zones and daily routines.
After spending a couple of months in Berlin, Leonhard has moved to Munich last year, to start working at Bureau Borsche. Apart from a few side projects, the studio has taken him full-time. “One week ago I had the opportunity to extended my contract and I am very happy about it, this was the best Christmas gift for me! I will work with this beautiful team till end of 2021 and when everything turns out well maybe even longer!”, Leonhard tells us proudly, “On the weekend I am usually hanging with some people of the team, which are also good friends of mine. We are drinking a ‘Helles’ (Beer) and having good talks! Munich is the best place I can imagine to live right now.”
During her studies in Münster, where the duo actually met, Sophia spent a semester abroad in Philadelphia and therefore decided to attend the masters program in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design later on. After working for Apple Marcom for a while, she decided to move back to Berlin and is now part of the studio bus.group. “During my Masters I was able to experiment a lot with typography, which a big interest of mine. I’m trying to gain more expertise in this field through my free projects whenever I am able to”, she tells us, “At the moment I’m working intensely on a display serif typeface that I am hoping to publish soon.”
Apart from the third issue of New Aesthetic which already looms on the horizon, the duo is currently celebrating the fourth edition of Typescarf, a project initiated by their friend and fellow designer Philipp Bulk.