We continue our interview series with the TypeTogether team. Grab the local drink horchata with fartons, or, if you are closer to the aperitif time of the day, pour yourself a nice glass of vermú — it’s time to meet Elena, our communications manager.
Elena has been with TypeTogether since May 2013. She coordinates our communication and branding and deals with all things graphics. She designed a single dot and a single comma once, but she doesn’t think of herself as a type designer. She is a world traveller and has moved almost 30 times. Elena is currently working on her PhD in architectural lettering, and in her free time co-runs a publishing house in Spain focused on typography. One of her most valuable objects is her bike that she uses to travel around London. If you meet her she might take pictures of public lettering while you walk and talk, but don’t take it personally.
1 · Where is your office located? In Finsbury Park, London.
2·In what countries or cities have you lived? In Getxo, my hometown, which is in the Basque Country, and in Madrid, Valencia (all those are in Spain), Setúbal (Portugal), Reading, and London (both in the UK).
3 · What kind of music do you listen to, if you do, while working? The snoring of the cat, the neighbours shouting, the lawnmower, the wind and the rain in winter, basically the everyday noises of my flat. If I play some music it would be something quiet, like Iron & Wine or Wilco.
4 · Can you name three fonts you love (designed by others)? I would rather choose three public lettering uses! It is still hard, though, but the balustrade lettering at Castle Ashby (UK) is one to be seen, the Gazeta building in São Paulo is breathtaking, and the tabernas and bodegas in Madrid that still show the patina of time in terms of their lettering look; in particular Bodega La Ardosa in Malasaña — a favourite in every sense.
5 · What is your hobby when not designing fonts? One of my favourite things, as is probably evident now, is walking around cities looking for and looking at public lettering. There is joy in finding things you haven’t noticed before. They are new to you, but they might have been there for some decades, or even centuries. And there’s also the joy of seeing favourite lettering examples still in situ. Sometimes a kind of perfection is even reached: when there is a combination of a (lettering) walk in a nice city with good friends and lovely food and drinks.
6 · You have one opportunity to do something different in your life. What do you choose? If we are talking about work, probably I’d be working with animals in some capacity or, more likely, with food. I love the idea of escaping to the seaside and opening a small place that offers simple food.
7 · What is your favourite word? Panoli, it is a Spanish word that comes from Valencia: ‘pa en oli’, meaning bread with olive oil. Nowadays it is used for someone who is a bit simple. But is there anything simpler, yet more wonderful, than a good bread and extra virgin olive oil? It is also used for someone who is foolish, but this can be in an affectionate way: eres una panoli, my mother tells me that when I do something silly like spilling milk. In English I would choose perambulation, I love both the idea of walking around without a defined destination, but also the sound of the word.
8 · What is the most amazing script you have worked with? why? It is really hard choosing one over the others. Being able to work with different scripts, but also researching them, trying to understand how they work, how to use them, is something I love about my job. I’ve loved everything about working with Devanagari, but Hebrew and Thai were pure challenges. However, instead of choosing a script that I know I would rather choose a script that I don’t. I am looking forward to use Bengali.
Piticli was Elena’s flatmate in Madrid until Elena moved to Reading in 2009, and Piticli moved with her aunt and ancle and their pack of dogs.
Elena’s little desk office at Finsbury Park.
A small village in central Spain, in La Mancha.
Elena‘s ongoing PhD research takes her to visit many public houses — ahem, pubs — in London, but just to look at the architectural lettering!
Lettering + bike, perfect!
TypeTogether is an indie type foundry committed to excellence in type design with a focus on editorial use. Additionally, TypeTogether creates custom type design for corporate use. We invite you to browse our library of retail fonts or contact us to discuss custom type design projects.