TYPO Talks: What were some of the influences that lead you to your professional focus?
Arin Fishkin: I’ve always wanted my work to have impact and meaning. I prefer to work with small businesses and nonprofits, where I can make the biggest impact on the great stuff they are already doing. I bring design strategy to the table, and become part of their team.
TT: How have your creative interests evolved over the span of your career? Or, is there a specific discipline that has always captured your attention?
AF: Since I had my daughter 9 years ago, my time for creative projects is limited – so I take on one thing I’d like to explore per year. So far I’ve joined a chorus, taken metal work and jewelry classes, trained for and run a half marathon, started a line of art prints and learned the ukulele (sort of).
While my creative interests have been relatively consistent, working independently has always offered opportunities for me to grow. After years of working in design, I’ve realized I need to put the same learning into my business. Like so many creatives, its not an intuitive or comfortable place for me. That keeps me busy these days – there is so much to learn.
TT: What’s your preferred environment when it’s time to focus on a project?
AF: My studio, its a great space on Valencia Street. I bring my dog with me to provide comic relief and work breaks. While I’ve got a spot for a collaborator or helper, usually its just me, my art books, some music and my dog.
TT: Which speakers are you most excited to see and meet at TYPO SF Focus?
AF: While I like to be surprised and learn about new folks at TYPO – I will definitely be seeing Tobias Frere-Jones and Ellen Lupton. I’m also interested in checking out the talks by Nataly Gattegno and Yusef Alahmad to hear more about what other SF graphic designers are working on.
TT: If you had to choose a favorite place in San Francisco, where would it be? If you’re new to San Francisco, what would you most like to explore?
AF: My studio is on Valencia and 19th – my home is across the street. I’m the mayor of this intersection. I love the uniqueness and variety of people, shops and restaurants. Its changing so fast here, and that can be overwhelming – but this is the neighborhood to check out if you’re not from here.
TT: Finally, everyone’s favorite question: what’s your favorite typeface, and why?
AF: This is an impossible question of course. But since you asked, I’ll go with Avenir. I find it always feel contemporary, welcoming and very versatile.