Designers, Fonts, Interviews
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Rui Abreu – Interview


Versão portuguesa disponível aqui.

Hello Rui!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a communication designer and I am from Oporto, where I graduated
at the Faculdade de belas Artes.
Currently, I am working as an multimedia designer at an advertising
agency in Lisbon.
This has been my main activity since short after I graduated, and it
started I Oporto.

2. When did you first got interested in typography and when did you
start drawing fonts? Was it difficult to start?

I was already in faculty. It was sort of an epiphany to me when I found
that there were different typefaces for different purposes or
meanings. In a time when I was still discovering what
graphic design was, it was important to my vision of design and
myself has a designer.
I think when you start to like letter-forms, you get seduced
by their beauty and history and start to take greater care
in composing with typography, and in the way you layout a written word,
with all the attention to detail, beauty and adequacy.
On top of that, I’ve always liked drawing and I like drawing letters.
Anyway, after my typographic epiphany, it was only a matter of time
until I plunged into to drawing my own letters and eventually building
a font in fontographer.
It was stimulant. I don’t think it was difficult to start. The hard
part came when I decided to make a type family. The work seemed


3. Tell us a bit about your work process when designing a font.

It depends on the font. But I usually try some ideas on paper before
starting on the computer.
The only time I drew the all font on paper, or at least the alfabetic
characters, I got fed up with it immediately after I started on the
computer, and I never finished it. But I think the end result is
better when everything is worked out on paper.
My first fonts, before Cifra and Forma, were made more or less with a
modular structure, and a few hand hand drafts were enough.
I usually work on the outlines in freehand or illustrator, copy them
to font lab and fix the curves and points there. finally, comes the
spacing and kerning.

4. We noticed that you have explored several styles in your type
designs. Is it a concern of yours? What´s next?

Yes, it’s true. My first font to be distributed was started after I
graduated and it was released in early 2006. So, these are still my
first fonts, and I guess I’m trying to do different things and learn
with it.
In this last year, I have been working on two new fonts, a monoline
slab serif and a didone style typeface, inspired on the tomb
inscriptions of the catacombs of Igreja de São Francisco (a church in
Oporto). It’s hard to say when they’ll be available, as they are more
ambitious projects comparing to my previous fonts, and they still need


5. You´re also a very talented designer, both print and web. Do you
plan to dedicate yourself only to type design in the future? Is it
possible to “survive” only selling fonts?

Yes. I would like to be more of a type designer. I enjoy very much
being a designer, but there are lots of mornings when I wish I could just
sit down and mold some beziers instead of going to work at my job.
But to me, it seems hard to “survive” only by selling fonts especially
if you don’t distribute them your self. but I dream one day I can just
do type (or try to), without bosses or dumb clients. And every once in
while embrace a nice and enjoyable design project. That is my idyllic

6. Do you feel that designing type is a very lonely act?

For me, it has been a lonely act because I work alone. But i don’t
think it should necessarily be that way. When you work alone,
sometimes you fall victim of boredom and discouragement, especially in
type design. it would be more motivating and less tiresome to work
with one or two more people, and i am not alluding to the case of type
designers that have employees to develop the all font from just a few
characters. A collaborative work should be nice for ideas, and labor
However, I do think there are always tasks that demand a few hours of
lonesome work and concentration, like for instance, shaping bezier


7. How do you feel the type scene in Portugal?

I think it is very nice. I like the work from the portuguese designers
and i think it is well seen internationally.
It would be nice though, if a portuguese taste was more felt. witch I
think is hard to achive if we remain captive to the same examples.
But, as the number a portuguese type designers rises, so does the chance
of finding portuguese signs in portuguese fonts, or at least a chance
of achiving more typographic decency and self consciousness.

8. Who should we interview next? And what would be your question?

The first question that pops to my mind is wether it’s possible to
discover any typographic idiosyncrasies in the portuguese historical
context (wether it’s architectural, or artistic, or whatever) or urban environment.
Maybe because I feel it is possible but I would welcome any ideas on that.
It’s a good question to any portuguese designer or studious in this
matters, but maybe, i would ask it to Ricardo Santos or Dino dos


9. Finally, name three of your favorite fonts.

Jenson, Minion and Luc de Berry
Human, elegant, beautiful.

Rui Abreu is a Portuguese type/graphic designer. He studied Graphic Design at FBAUP (Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto), where he graduated in 2003.

He has been working has a interactive media designer in different design/advertisement agencies along with is type design activity.

Rui Abreu Site.
Rui Abreu Fonts at T26 (Cifra, Forma, Salto Alto, Tirana).


  1. Olá Rui.
    Gostei muito do teu trabalho. Folgo em saber que existe mais um bom tipógrafo da “nossa” muy nobre y sempre invicta.
    Uma nota sobre a tua fonte “Cifra”:
    As caixas altas lembram-me muito a Base 12 Sans, na sua versao “small caps”. Mas melhor e mais equilibradas.
    As caixas baixas sao lindissimas.

  2. Pingback: Typographica favorite typefaces of 2011 | Type for you.

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