Q&A | Jos Buivenga, type designer

Interview by Roelof Bakker

Jos BuivengaJOS BUIVENGA IS A DUTCH TYPE DESIGNER who is part of a new wave of designers who publish their own typefaces. He runs type foundry Exljbris publishing beautiful typefaces with classic appeal. I discovered Buivenga’s typeface Museo when researching Dutch typefaces for the design of Still. I believe in chance encounters and like the fact that Buivenga studied and lived in Arnhem, where I grew up before I moved to London many years ago. His typeface Museo was used for the design of Still.

Where does your love for typography come from?
It originates from art school in Arnhem, The Netherlands, where people like Fred Smeijers, Martin Majoor and Evert Bloemsma fired up my interest for type design.

Who and what are your influences?
I’m sure I’m influenced by a lot of things and people, but most of them not type-related and therefore hard to pinpoint.

Still, Negative Press London (2012), edited by Roelof Bakker
Headline styled in Museo 500 all caps

Museo has been around since 2008 and was used throughout the design of Still. The moment I styled the word STILL in all caps MUSEO 500, the book cover design seemed to come together. I was looking for a modern typeface that would also express a Modernist/1930s mood. Designers seem to respond to the flexibility and versatility of Museo, what do you think makes it such a versatile multi-functional font?
One part of it being versatile is that it is available also in sans and (full) slab. The other part is more difficult for me to determine. For being flexible and versatile, a typeface (family) has to be able to perform in a lot of circumstances, and that can only happen when in a lot of circumstances people have the feeling – like you did – that it feels a right choice.

What has been the most special use of any of your typefaces?
One memorable highlight for me was that Dell started using slightly customised versions of Museo and Museo Sans for all their communications.

Apart from the book’s title and individual author story titles, the body copy in Still was also set in Museo. Any thoughts on the design of Still and use of type?
The title looks great I think, but I also think I would have preferred Museo Sans for body copy. It runs more economic and it’s easier to read for body copy.

What projects are you involved in right now?
I’m working now on Museo Slab extended Cyrillic together with Russian type designer Irina Smirnova. With Martin Majoor, the designer of Scala & Scala Sans, I’m working on the Questa project – an extended font family that will have a display, a text and a sans variant. www.thequestaproject.com



Museo by Jos Buivenga