Tell us about the bespoke typeface used in MOLD issue one—how did you develop it and why, and will it be used for every issue?
Eric Hu: Everyone keeps asking us about that typeface, but it's actually a free font that Ellmer Stefan
made called Gyrator. Last year he decided to design one font per week inspired by these 19th-century specimens he came across.
I guess it's cool people thought it was bespoke, it means that we really owned it, but credit should go to Ellmer for the design. If there's anything we can take credit for, it's the willingness to put that typeface in an unexpected context. Trying to make something look futuristic or even contemporary by using a typeface that's clearly meant to signify Victorian aesthetics isn't the most intuitive decision and there's a lot of rationale behind why we did that, but without even going into all that, the truth is that Matthew and I enjoy a good challenge.
Gyrator is beautifully drawn, as are all of Ellmer's designs, but it's also a very opinionated typeface. It's part of a large and rather vague "this is cool but I don't know where I would use it," genre of fonts.
There are some typefaces with less personality and more utility, like a contemporary geometric sans-serif, that make it feel like you're designing in Easy Mode sometimes. Like it's going to look decent no matter what. I get bored easily and sometimes I just want a challenge.
As for whether or not it'll be on every issue, I don't know, but definitely not like how it was used in the first issue. I think we really pushed the typeface to its limits and it's not exciting to keep going down the same path. In many ways, the first issue was a proof of concept but with that, the gestures had to be bolder. I think as MOLD creates more issues, it will be afforded a nuance that time allows. It's a marathon and not a race and naturally, voices can have more range if they know they're being heard. But in the beginning, in order to make it clear what you stand for, you have to be loud.