letman interview and book report
letman interview and book report letman interview and book report
aug 02, 2012
letman interview and book report


letman book cover by letman, published by gestalten, 2012

 

title: letman (the artwork and lettering of job wouters)
author: letman
published by: gestalten
format: 21 x 26 cm
features: 160 pages, full color, hardcover
language: english
ISBN: 978-3-89955-453-3
available from gestalten

 

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designboom rating: (excellent)
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working under the pseudonym letman, the dutchman job wouters is known for
his synthesis of illustration and lettering. he creates decorative letters and typefaces
that are a hybrid of graphic design, screen printing, graffiti, illustration, and painting
clearly influenced by eastern character symbols.

his typographic compositions have been featured in work for clients including
audi, heineken, dries van noten, tommy hilfiger, eastpak, and universal.

 

 


spread from letman by gestalten
left: untitled: poster for stacked, eindhoven
right: sketchbook pages

 

 

 

spread from letman by gestalten
the undercover collection: posters and flyers.
30 × 100 cm, A4, offset print. 2010

 

 

‘letman’ published by gestalten is a visual treat for any illustration or graphic design fan
and of course will particularly appeal to those with a penchant for typography.

the book opens with an insightful introduction written by gijs frieling that ponders the
context of handwriting in the digital age. the rest of the book is all images,
allowing you to digest the myriad styles and mediums in which wouters has
applied his skill for hand lettering without any interference.

 


to mark the release of ‘letman’ designboom spoke to job wouters:

 


DB:please could you tell us a bit about your background

and how you came to specialize in hand-lettering?

JL: when I was a youngster I was interested in graffitti, especially graffiti-writers,
who could write their names flawlessly in different styles. later on I studied typography
and graphic design at the royal academy in the hague and the rietveld academy in amsterdam,
where I deepened my fascination for type and lettering.

 

what do you enjoy most about working on the end product by hand?
it’s a matter of control, I have more control over physical tools, than their digital counterparts.
I also feel more connected with my work if I can touch and retouch them by hand them.
nothing beats the joy of a perfect hand drawn loop.

 

 


lord arthur savile’s crime, menswear collection for dries van noten: live painting for A/W launch
collaboration with gijs frieling. assisted by jeroen erosie, jana van meerveld,

menso groeneveld, and julie van der scheer

 



lord arthur savile’s crime, menswear collection for dries van noten: live painting for A/W launch
collaboration with gijs frieling. assisted by jeroen erosie, jana van meerveld,

menso groeneveld, and julie van der scheer

 



lord arthur savile’s crime, menswear collection for dries van noten: lettering for garments

 

 


lord arthur savile’s crime, menswear collection for dries van noten: lettering for garments

 



 
how much does the computer feature in your work process?
it depends on the project, but often my drawings need to go to a digital environment,
so scanning, separating colors, and other pre-press activities are part of the job too.

 

what equipment do you use the most?
nothing out of the ordinary: some brush pens, some markers, a couple of crayons,
some good flat brushes, some calligraphy equipment, a bit of quality ink,
or good paint, and a light table.

 

 


self portrait by job wouters / letman

 


part of a still life series of typographic sketches.
photography by qiu yang.
commissioned by it’s nice that, 2011

 


part of a still life series of typographic sketches.
photography by qiu yang.
commissioned by it’s nice that, 2011

 

 



design miami: live lettering for audi, USA.
collaboration with mutabor, germany, 2008

 

who / what would you say is the biggest influence on your style of lettering?
I couldn’t choose, I think it more a whole spectrum of influences that drives me,
not one style or person in particular. comic lettering, graffiti, calligraphy, (amateur!)
shop lettering, people’s handwriting, airbrushed circus vans, scribbles on toilets,
hells angels’ outfits… fascinations come and go.

 

as for persons I must say that I get more inspiration from contemporary artists
than from my fellow designers, although my brother roel wouters is an excellent designer,
with an excellent new studio called ‘moniker’ ;-).

 

which styles of letters are the most difficult to draw?
simple letters are tough because the less one is able to hide behind decoration the harder it gets.
try to draw an elegant set of classical roman capital in a few strokes is very difficult,
I still have to look up proportions to do it properly.

 

do you challenge yourself to learn new styles?
yes, actually it’s one of the activities that I enjoy the most.

 

which has been your defining project to date?
I guess working on the mens collection with dries van noten earlier this year.
(together with gijs frieling) I had a private and exquisite view into the high-end fashion world,
which was quite memorable.

 


modefabriek: lettering for the modefabriek, amsterdam, 2010
photography by philippe vogelenzang

 


modefabriek: lettering for the modefabriek, amsterdam, 2010
photography by philippe vogelenzang


what’s the biggest lesson you have learned from your work?
if I love a project it will show in the end result and if I don’t love it, that will show too.
ideally the viewer will receive the same amount and type of energy from the work
as what I put into it while I was making it.

 

besides art and design what do you have a passion for and why?
I have a superb little son of 6 months old and obviously I have a great passion for him.

 

what is a project or collaboration that you would like to work on in the near future?
I’d like to work more on physically large projects, the amount of work I put in a poster
does not differ enormously from the preparation for a mural, only the impact of the two final products
differ a great deal. so less posters and more murals!

 
gestalten has made a beautiful large book filled with pictures of small works.
if another book was to be made about my work in the future,
I’d like it to be a small book filled with pictures of large works.

 


spread from letman by gestalten

zeitgeist/jungstar: flyer series, 2008–2010

in collaboration with roel wouters

A3, risograph print (by knust, nijmegen)

 

letman book cover by letman, published by gestalten, 2012

 

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designboom ratings:

……………………. interesting
………………. good read, worth a look
…………. very good
……. excellent, recommended
. must have
_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

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designboom book reports (101 articles)

jan 15, 2008