From the Point of View of a Trainee – Matt Burvill

Trainee Matt Burvill gives us his perspective on what it’s like to be a type designer in training at Dalton Maag.


Matt works on his font

“I’ve been working with fonts for some years now, although not professionally, learning what I can from books and online resources like Typophile. I first got into drawing letters at university, where a logo project prompted me to draw an uppercase alphabet and eventually work this into a font for headline use.

“These early explorations led to more sophisticated self initiated type projects. I released many of these, although they were mostly used for filling up my portfolio to ultimately find employment in the font industry.

“The training has been tough. I have no experience with calligraphy or letter painting, and I already had the worst handwriting in the studio (I suspect). But the experience was rewarding and has really helped me to hone my eye for detail. Although I’ll need much more training to rival the eyes of Ron!


A sample of Matt’s calligraphy


Part of Matt’s training was to draw letterforms in ink

“I decided to try to combine what I had learnt from calligraphy with a technical Sans. The original concept was very smooth on the outside in a humanist style with an inside ‘counter’ stroke that could have been drawn with a broard nib pen. The idea sounded really cool, and some of the sketches would have been good for display purposes, but I have since toned down the concept for better legibility. You can still see some of the original influences, but it’s a better, more useful design for the changes we made.

“In the two months I have been working on it, I have taken it from initial concept to a family of upright weights. Along the way, we have learnt about engineering basics and lots of tips on how to draw and design in the most efficient way.

“The most important thing has been how to see. How to look at printouts of text (at small sizes) and make judgements based on this that inform your design. Be it the drawing and sculpting of letterforms or the spacing and kerning of the text.”

Matt’s Font Development:


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