Grafica Studio is a relatively new collaborative studio based in Columbus, Ohio, with a primary focus on print design, type design, environments, web sites, design strategy, and brand architecture. Through a sensibly-chosen network of illustrators, developers, writers, photographers, and strategists, Grafica Studio presents its clients with the perfect team of people to complete every project.
Established by Neil Wengerd in 2016, Grafica Studio is new to YouWorkForThem and we’re really excited to have them with us!
Neil is a graphic designer with a keen interest in typography and the way that fonts ultimately influence visual communication. “Typography plays a central role in all the work I create as designer, so creating my own typeface seemed like a natural extension of what I already do,” Neil observed. His interest in design found its spark through copying band and BMX logos during his high school years. “Once I realized graphic design was an actual discipline, I knew it was the path I wanted to take,” he added.
While kerning, attention to detail, and versatility are vital to any successful type design, appropriateness is equally important. “A display font is quite different from a full font family intended for heavy typesetting,” Neil said, explaining that how one intends to use a font will ultimately decide how amazing it is in the end.
With a discerning eye for clever design, Neil’s first addition to YouWorkForThem is Autostrada, a utilitarian typeface whose inspiration hails from vintage Italian highway lettering. “It was about making something both timely and timeless, and that won’t go out of style in a few years,” Neil told us.
The slightly condensed letterforms of Autostrada take a softer approach to their architecture, lending an air of gentle confidence that displays strength and stability without force or aggression. The subtly retro design is creates a sensation of comfort and familiarity, while remaining quite at home in contemporary layouts.
For Neil, the most challenging part of the process came with creating the lowercase character set. “I’d never created a full lowercase alphabet before, and the references I found that I was using as inspiration for the design didn’t include lowercase characters,” he said. “It was all about keeping the spirit of the Italian type but making something a bit more functional as useful. Designing the full punctuation, as well as the mathematical and European characters seemed challenging at first, but when Neil reached that part of the process he had already created the upper and lowercase characters.
“My favorite elements in the end I think are the alternate numerals. The standard set are quite normal and fit well within the rest of the typeface, but the alternates are quirky and have a lot more character,” Neil explained. “Those numbers are some of the more direct riffs on the references; the 1 and 3 of the alternates especially are two that I found that had a lot of charm.”
Autostrada is full of charm and it’s a versatile type design to work with. Offering numerators, denominators, and gorgeous oldstyle figures, it extends multilingual support to Basic Latin, Western European, Euro, Catalan, Pan African Latin, and Dutch for global accessibility.
While Grafica Studio currently offers just one product in their portfolio, they are an artistic collective on the path to great things and we look forward to their future work. Neil feels that there is potential for a bigger family within Autostrada and it’s an idea he’s fleshing out between identity and editorial projects. He invites our readers to follow the work he’s doing on Instagram at @grafica_studio, and you can visit Grafica.co to learn more about his projects.