Interview with Mr. Zenji Osaki, the secret story behind the birth of "Aokane"


In this corner, we will focus on the new typeface "LETS" released in the same year, and tell the story of how the typeface was created and the secret story of its birth from the perspective of the font designer.

This time, from the new LETS typeface released in February 2015, we interviewed font designer Zenji Osaki about “Aokane-EB” from the Fontworks Collection (Design Club*). In addition to "Aokane-EB", Osaki is not limited to paper titles such as book titles, Advertisement and Heading, as well as variety programs. The design of the popular typeface "Kurokane-EB", which is widely used in TV telops and App for smartphones, has also been designed. I will. We asked about the birth of "Akane-EB" and "Kurokane-EB", the memories of the production, and the feelings after the completion.

*Design Club is a series category that collects unique typefaces produced by Fontworks, designed by the up-and-coming Type Designers, which opens up new genres.

The origin and concept of the new typeface "Aokane-EB"

Please tell us about this new typeface "Akane". "Aokane" is the second work after the release of "Kurokane". How did you feel about this typeface?

Akane-A rough sketch of EB Design with "skeletal skeleton" and "curve elements" as an interesting typeface even with the Weight. When bending the skeleton, 45 degrees and 22.5 degrees are set as rules.

Originally, I liked thick weight typefaces, so I was thinking of using thick typefaces the next time I make a typeface. "Kurokane" was a design that had a "kakukaku" feeling, so in response to that, I wanted to make something that makes use of curves, so I started with "Aokane".

Although it looks chubby as it looks, the concept is that the skeleton, which is the center line of the letters, is straight, "hard but soft". Regarding the design of the element, which is in the form of letters that makes it visually easy to understand, at first I was wondering if the individual letters could change Weight. If there is a blackness as a whole, then it's OK.

So, at the sample stage, I used to have a gap in the same processing part, but when I think about the characters with a large number of strokes and the unification of the element design processing, I said "Is it funny but it isn't good". While feeling the feeling, I kept the original concept and organized it and settled on the current design.

"Akane" was completed with such thoughts. Where do you think it is suitable for use?

Since I made it so that it has a round and soft impression, I think that the font is something that the viewer can have the impression that it gently wraps the words. As for the usage situation, I think that it would be suitable for a place where it can be displayed in a slightly larger size such as a title or a copy like "Kurokane".

However, when fonts come out in the world, I feel that they are often used in ways that the creators didn't even think of, so from now on, "Akane" can be used in any way. I'm looking forward to it.

Sample of typeface before making "Akane" / Sample enlarged image on the left / Released typeface "Akane-EB"
The first sample created (photo). Even with the same vertical line, there are considerable changes depending on "whether it is biased or drastic," "whether the number of strokes is large or small". Hiragana also had more volume overall at the beginning, but in the end, it was calm with the feeling that they were unified.

Feelings when I found that the designed font was used

Could you introduce what kind of usage it is, when it is said that "the happy usage that the creator never thought of"?

Material to check the darkness of letters before the completion of "Akane"
Osaki mainly uses Adobe Illustrator to create fonts. It is said that the feeling of the Pegett curve of Illustrator used to graphic design is the best. It manages by AI file for each ward of the code table, and compares and confirms the darkness of the typeface. Finally, I paste it in Fontgrapher and adjust it.

The first is that you are using "Kurokane" for smartphone App. This is often seen in commercials, so many of you may know it.

I made "Kurokane" because I thought it would look good with short sentences such as titles, but I was surprised that it was used for all the displayed text, not just that, and I was really happy. I think that the fact that font names are being searched on the Internet has a big influence on the fact that they are used in this application.

That popular puzzle game! What kind of font is "Kurokane EB"? When you ask, it's so famous that it's easy to understand if you give it as an example of use. Please tell us about other episodes as well.

Well, the users of "LETS" come from a wide range of media, from Video, so I think that there are more opportunities to see them in everyday life, such as leaflets and TV. When you find it, you'll be happy that it's used!

For example, "Kurokane" was used for Advertisement, which was a zoo (?) that had been posted as a barn at the connecting passage connecting the JR at Ueno Station in Tokyo and a subway ticket gate that happened to pass by. I have encountered it. It was displayed as "Panda", but "It's just a copy showing the design of Kurokane ~".

There was an escalator, but I found such "Kurokane"! At that time, I stop and look (laughs).

Until the design of "Kurokane EB"

Regarding the birth of "Kurokane", I heard that there were twists and turns before the release. It is because you were originally a graphic designer and later became an activity as a font designer. How did you become a graphic designer?

Thick black jerky from the image was "thick = black, from jittery = iron Kurokane" named. After that, as a similar naming concept that inherited it, it was named "Bronze = Akane" because of its soft image.

To tell the truth ... I didn't have a strong desire to “become a graphic designer!”, But I feel that I can move on as I am interested and reach the present. I used to work in a bookstore a long time ago, and then I started to be aware that some people were making these kinds of books while looking at books of various genres.

Furthermore, while I was listening to the bookstore, a student attending a vocational school of art was working part-time, and there was a school studying the world and book design. , I became interested in making it. It seems fun to study.

Then I quit the bookstore, but after all I didn't go to school because of various reasons, I suddenly searched for a place where I could work, put it in a typesetting shop who is lucky and work as a typesetting operator while doing delivery and character input. I started. Fonts It was fun with the book and the designer's designated paper, the first experience.

Not long after, most of my work started on the Mac, and I started to use both. As for the work content, I think that I should do design as well because of lack of manpower on Mac. After that, the company I worked for disappeared, but I couldn't even throw out the work of the series book I was in charge of at that time, so I became independent.

So if you notice it, are you a designer? Like It was a strange feeling. So, at first, I was embarrassed to say that I could call myself this title.

After that, what was the process before you released "Kurokane" from Fontworks as a font designer?

Upper JIS No. 1 level 16 wards / Lower JIS No. 2 level 48 wards
An FOG file of "Kurokane". "Kurokane" is created in order from "A" of Asia, which is in JIS 1st standard. He said that he wanted to make a new design adjustment as he proceeded with the production and the same "bias" continued as seen in the JIS level 2 "a = person bias".

When I first encountered typesetting, I was surprised when I looked at the sample book and said, "Is there so many typefaces?" Even if you use the same message, your impression will change depending on what typeface you use. The role of the typeface is amazing, and the letters are amazing. In the meantime, I learned about the activity of "making about 1,000 characters and selling them as fonts", and I felt lightly "I can do it?" and participate. So this is the original reason for making a typeface.

So I'm just starting out, but I don't know how to make it (laughs). I only knew that "I have to make a combination of them because there is a bias and a certain degree," and for the time being, I started drawing characters from the beginning of the character code that was passed, but even though it is 1000 characters, at first I was overwhelmed by that number. In addition, if the element processing of the characters is not consistent, or if there are days when I do not work for other work, I would like to change the balance of the characters I made before and return to the beginning again, it is already endless .. Finally, let's reopen it and conversely make it a concept with a design that makes use of the unfamiliar feeling! But (laughs).

However, thanks to this activity, I thought "I would like to be able to make typeface production as my life", so I asked Mr. Fujita (FW's font designer) to introduce me and I started the presentation and production "Kurokane”.

The first step wasn't good, so let's do "Kurokane"! So, I started production while doing the criteria of Weight and classification of letters, but one person who taught me how to make one while Oita production was progressing. Much more. Then, I tried to do that in a hurry, but I was stuck in a magnificent loop there, and I had a hard time thinking (laughs).

What exactly was that magnificent loop?

"Kurokane" is the first typeface I created up to 9,354 characters in the [Adobe-Japan1-3] standard, but while doing various settings and character classification, the basic method is the same as before. I started to work in the order of starting with the first letter of a code table.

For that reason, when [JIS 1st level] is over, the process is going to [JIS 2nd level], but since the 2nd level is lined up for each bias, the character production using that bias is done. Is going on. Then, I became more conscious of how to balance the eccentricity and urine above the first level, and I was able to see what I had not seen at first. So, in the end, I decided to make some corrections to the design and balance, and began to work on the first level, which was supposed to be over. This is a magnificent loop (laughs).

It was not an exaggeration to say that it was a penance at the end, and it took five years to reach completion (laughs). Since then, I've used the second level, which I don't use very often, to develop my senses, and then to create the first level, which often appears.

It's a daunting task just to think of creating all 9,354 characters by yourself. While thinking about the structure of the design, ... Would you show me a rough sketch of those days?

I can't find a sketch in Japanese for some reason, but I'll show you a rough sketch of "Kurokane" in European languages. I did a lot of Western writing, but for me it's not a character in a Language that I usually use in conversations like Japanese, so there are quite a few places where I'm not good at all, and many people have given me advice. I managed to shape it.

I also made Greek letters and Cyrillic letters, but I felt that I had to make so many font types in Japanese typeface production.

" Kurokane" was a font that was created in the hope that it has a powerful character and a catchy typeface, so when we see it widely used, we as a font release company. I feel like a great success! !
The last question, what kind of fonts do you plan to create in the future?

I'm really glad that you have used "Kurokane" so much that you can see it naturally when you are living recently. I didn't expect this to happen, so I was really surprised.

In the future, yes, as I said at the beginning, I prefer thick weights, so I think that is the direction if I make it. The design of "Aokane" was fairly uniform, so I think next time I would like a more free and rough feeling. I think that the work of making all the character types by one person is a "special opportunity" that no one can experience, so I would like to continue to work hard, but now, for five years. So the pace is one typeface, so it's better to speed up the production a bit more (laughs).

Yoshiharu Osaki Profile

Graphic designer and Type Designers.
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1973. He designs a wide range of characters, from typographic works using letterpress printing to original Japanese typefaces.
He has published "Basic rules of typography" and "Basic rules of layout".

Introduction of places and feeling of use of "Kurokane EB" from LETS members

Used when making Advertisement and leaflets for bakeries. The thick and rounded design has a different color scheme to create a softer impression.
Used in Advertisement that appeal to workshops for children. The design, like cutting and pasting paper, has a handmade feel and is perfect.
Used in posters for mecha Event announcements. Aiming for a design that will be familiar to families, the font is decorated to create a tin feeling.
Used for food Packaging. With a fresh design that is different from Mincho and Gothic, it is highly evaluated by consumers.
Used for souvenir Packaging at theme parks. There is softness and playfulness in the click, and it goes well with the image character.
Used for stamps used in free call and email applications. Even if you use the design as it is, a short phrase with high impact will be completed.

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