Autumn 2021

In the right hands

The work of Barcelona type designer Laura Meseguer is a beguiling alchemy of hand- lettering and digital craft. By Jan Middendorp [EXTRACT]

Laura Meseguer

In the final decade of the past century – yes, the 1990s – young independent designers would mostly leave the digital updating of classic typefaces to the big companies. Individuals interested in type design were faster at re-exploring aspects of traditional techniques and deciding which facets of analogue typefaces and hand-lettering should be reviewed, improved, or replaced. Many of these new specialists were also more playful, less rule-based than the traditionalists.

This was very much the case in the graphic design and lettering scene in Barcelona around 1990, where artists and designers (but also those working in theatre, dance or fashion) produced works that were experimental, unorthodox and entertaining. Young designers who were fascinated by the new digital tools and techniques met and shared their discoveries. This is where Laura Meseguer’s typographic life began.

Rumba typeface family specimen, 2005. It comprises three fonts with varying contrast, construction and degrees of expressiveness. Top. Laura Meseguer standing in front of Queviures Murria, an emblematic Barcelona shop that dates from 1903. Photographs by Francesco Brembati.

Rumba typeface family specimen, 2005.

Born in Barcelona, Meseguer became fascinated by type and graphic design from an early age – she was the daughter and the grandchild of print shop owners. While it came as no surprise that she decided to study graphic design, the first course she took in the subject, in the late 1980s, was at a traditional academy, where early digital tools were yet to be adopted …

Personal, a letrazine, a sort of magazine designed and printed in Risography by Meseguer that presents three different connected chapters of her residence at the AGA LAB in Amsterdam, 2018. Photograph by Francesco Brembati.

Laura Meseguer – Personal, a letrazine

Jan Middendorp, designer, writer and author of Dutch Type, Berlin

Read the full version in Eye no. 102 vol. 26, 2021

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.