Type designer Pablo Medina is giving Bushwick an eponymous typeface. Currently engaged in crowdfunding, his reasons dig deep into his own Latino culture. I asked Medina to explain the importance that the Bushwick neighborhood holds for him, and how the Bushwick typeface(s) will express that.
What was your inspiration for the Bushwick typeface, other than Bushwick as a hotspot?
I did what I always do with my creative process and took pictures of letterforms around Bushwick. Some of the letters that I photographed were hand-painted, some were from graffiti and others were from the many murals in the neighborhood. Bushwick the Typeface is an amalgamation of all of these forms. The bulky “Ultra” style brings to mind graf “throw-up” letters, the “drop shade” affect is reminiscent of the many sign-painted and aluminum letterforms in the Latino community. It’s important to underscore how vital the Latino community is in the visual landscape of Bushwick. People think the neighborhood is all artists and hipsters but the immigrant community has been here for decades and that is very visible in the neighborhood’s aesthetics, and in a subtle way, in this typeface as well.
What differentiates Bushwick from other typefaces?
I’m Cuban-Colombian and I am moved by things with complex rhythms. Bushwick the Typeface has a “clave” or a dance to it that separates it from the masses.
Why are you crowdfunding it?
Designing a typeface is an extraordinarily long process. It can take years and crowdfunding buys me the valuable commodity of time.
I grew up in the Washington, DC, and New Jersey punk scene of the 1980s, which used the DIY ethos to become a national and then international influence. Record labels like Dischord Records used their own limited funds to produce and publish music and did so by any means necessary. Nowadays, the internet is a tool that has the ability to democratize creativity. With crowdfunding websites, artists and designers can conceive of an idea (hopefully a good one!) and use social media to gather momentum, visibility and most importantly funding to be able to execute their vision. This DIY tool was unavailable to my punk rock heroes of yesteryear. Today, I’m fortunate enough to have it to help with the process.
Do you foresee other regional typefaces on the horizon? Williamsburg, Canarsie, Ditmas Park, etc.?
Last year, I designed a flag for East New York. I drew custom letters for it and would love to expand them into a font. You can see the flag at my website.
How do you want this face to be used?
I rarely design my fonts with specific uses in mind. I’m driven mostly by aesthetics and style and I let the people who use the fonts decide on their applications.
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