Gemma O'brien is a Sydney based designer working primarily with hand drawn type. Her blog 'For The Love Of Type' channels her inspirations, experiments and observations of the written word into a daily journal.
At her 21st birthday she had a party where one had to dress as their favourite typeface. More of a chance to say 'I'm a cool designer, look at me' more than anything else.
She notes her love of typography but during her studying years she wasn't interested, it was an afterthought to her design process. Her defining moment was when she discovered wooden type and metal type via traditional printing methods that type became real.
It was from here her typography teacher taught he the rules of type, learnt her p's and q's and the passion was born.
She describes herself as a type nerd and during her first year at COFA she took on a summer project to create a book and enter a competition regarding modernist typography. Through this book, and the late delivery for the said competition she had spent so long on, she wrote all over the box abusive messages to FedEx, she posted the images to her new blog and gained a lot of exposure. From here she started expanding her experiments on her blog, getting tactile with typography and the exposure grew.
Font Blog wrote a horrible review about a type face she developed called Mr Eaves, a response to the well known type face called Mrs Eaves. After a community backlash regarding the typeface and how it was bastardising the original types true form, some time later the very same reviewer invited her to speak at a conference in Germany regarding typography in Australia. As a second year student, she freaked out. They had no idea who she was and her experience, she was just left to speak about typography in Australia after all this exposure from her blog.
Gemma describes that with typography that you are always saying something and this can be quite daunting.
She mentions that type has found its way again, coming into the forefront of pop culture again via exhibitions like Go Font Ur Self and Stereotyped, two Sydney based projects that have taken off to national exposure and an international audience.
Gemma's enthusiasm for type is adorable. Bordering on ADHD, the excitement for what she does is transparent and infectious.