Type designer Matthijs Herzberg injects history and a little bit of humour into his bold typefaces

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Type designer Matthijs Herzberg injects history and a little bit of humour into his bold typefaces


If there is one thing Matthijs really knows how to do, it’s throwing himself headfirst into a project. From designing a type for a charity revitalising a rural Kansas town, to a custom typeface for a short horror film, Matthijs also has no desire to restrict himself in his pursuit of diverse briefs. But, one of our favourite of Matthijs recent designs (and his too) is his self-initiated typeface, Schmaltzy, released in January of this year. A “modern, friendlier and perhaps goofier” take on gothic blacklettering, the font applies a Cooper Black-esque effect, by rounding every sharp edge. Full of historicism, reminiscent of a centuries-old manuscript, Matthijs also has a knack for presenting Schmaltzy in inventive ways, surrounding it with ornate foliage and humorous declarations.

This focus on humour is an important element for Matthijs, which he began to include in his work after realising that “a lot of artists, myself included, kind of developed a uniform social media voice when presenting work, which is very vanilla. Descriptive, a bit exciting but not too much, sometimes a touch pretentious.” So now, in an effort to not seem fake or boring, Matthijs tries to let his personality shine through: “I try not to take it too seriously and don’t filter myself too much. Hopefully that comes across as funny, or at least a bit me.

Looking to the future, in the short-term Matthijs wants to expand his type catalogue – which currently stands at five brilliant fonts – and improve all aspects of his “very young” foundry. In the long-term, however, Matthijs is keen to get out from behind the screen, have a go at designing and cutting his own type and maybe even using it to hand print a book… “I hear that it’s tricky to operate a printing press in New Orleans because of humidity, but who knows – the Dutch never let a little water hold them back.”



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