Founded by Justin Graefer and Derek Campbell in 2013, BLKBK is a studio whose work conveys an emotional impression through type design. With nostalgic inspirations that include vinyl artwork from the 70s, VHS sleeves from the 80s, hip-hop, and hand-painted signage from decades long since passed, their varied portfolio transcends the collective essence of more than half a century. BLKBK’s signature style of lettering relies on hand-drawn and hand-painted techniques that result in unique, remarkable characters which emerge organically, often in unexpected ways.
If you’ve ever searched a shallow riverbed for diamonds and come up empty-handed, you’re not alone; most of us only ever find shards of broken glass, hardly a fortune worth bragging about unless you enjoy spinning yarns about your impromptu visits to the emergency room. True diamonds are rare and valuable discoveries, just like one of BLKBK’s most recent releases, Diamond Creek.
This diamond is literally found in the rough, forgotten landscape, a digital treasure hand-chiseled to flawless imperfection. Diamond Creek takes an antiquated approach to its appearance, evoking cognitive imagery of a midcentury rural atmosphere. Barefooted kids roll their pants up to their knees before wading into the creek, stepping over the rocks that might hide priceless treasures while remaining intently focused on their endless pursuit of frogs. The adults farther downstream know better, sharp determination glistening in the sweat on their brows as they shuffle pans through silt in the hopes of providing a better future for their families.
Diamond Creek is a model example of the kind of intimate, soulful connection that BLKBK excels in making. Their entire body of work is intensely rich and expressive; every type design tells a particular story, one that is absolutely unique to the viewer alone. BLKBK’s ability to create such a seemingly-effortless bond is a rare gift, one worth far more than its weight in diamonds.
Diamond Creek is a weathered, all-caps design that offers additional glyphs including fractions, and extends multilingual support to Basic Latin, Western European, Euro, and Pan African Latin languages.
BLKBK currently offers nearly 100 type designs through YouWorkForThem, an incredible supply of visually striking, meaningful wares. You definitely don’t want to miss out on their stellar portfolio; three of BLKBK’s type designs made it onto our Top Ten Fonts Of 2016. Keep an eye out for their future work because it is always guaranteed to be inspired, passionate, and sincere; as masters of their craft, they would never settle for anything less.