This interview was originally conducted live on Twitter, July 2, 2021.
Today, I’m honored to interview Ulrike Rausch. Ulrike is an author and award-winning type designer based in Berlin. She’s also the designer of one of my all-time favorite handwriting typefaces, LiebeHeide.
ILT: Hi Ulrike. Thanks for agreeing to this interview! My first question for you is: How did you get started in type design?
UR: Actually, by accident! I focused more on illustration in University (even though, I took numerous classes with Fontfabric). After graduation, I created a couple of dingbat fonts out of my drawings and realized then, that a matching typeface would probably be convenient.
ILT: Well, a happy accident indeed! You are something of a specialist in handwriting typefaces, so my second question is: What is the most challenging aspect of designing a handwriting typeface?
UR: Well, to actually make it look handwritten and not like a cold rigid piece of software. Paradoxically, you need to work a lot with software and code to give the font its handmade and individual charm.
ILT: I think that’s why your handwriting fonts are so successful — they’re incredibly authentic. And talking of software and code, that leads me to my next question: Why did you choose to make LiebeHeide a color font? And is making a color font more difficult?
UR: I was looking at all my sketches and thought it would be a pity to lose all this unevenness and structure of the ballpoint pen. Even vector curves with a grungy outline can’t capture all this irregularities in the color tones. Bitmap color fonts allowed me maintain all this.
And yes, it was way more tedious that working with a vector shape. Especially, when it comes to the part where you want to make sure, that the connection to next letter is at the correct position. It was a constant back and forth between Glyphs and Photoshop.
ILT: That really is a LOT of work! And perhaps one reason we don’t see so many color fonts. How much longer did it take to create LiebeHeide? Twice as long as a regular typeface or longer?
UR: Well, ‘thanks’ to Covid there were no other jobs on my desk last year. So I was able to work on it without any interruption. Six months in total, which is kind of average.
ILT: My favorite of your typefaces is LiebeHeide. I love it. In fact, it was one of my favorite typefaces of 2020. So, my next question is: Of your own typefaces do you have a favorite?
UR: Thank you, John! Besides LiebeHeide, it is definitely LiebeErika. LiebeErika was the very first typeface I created, named after the greatest grandmother of all times. Even though I released the font more than 10 years ago, I still love looking at its graceful shapes.
ILT: It’s a lovely typeface and a beautiful gift to your grandmother. My personal next favorite is LiebeLotte Swell. I love how it looks on this sign. I now want to start a company called Quain, just so I can use it.
UR: How about a shop, where you can buy fonts? Ah no, you already have one! ◉
Find more of Ulrike’s fonts on the LiebeFonts foundry page.