Emma Tucker and Luke Tonge talk editing and designing The Recorder

Katie Zanecchia of CreativeMornings, a free breakfast lecture series for creative types all around the world, gets to know the duo behind The Recorder and explores stories inside Issue 3.

The Recorder is more than a century old. How did you weigh the history of the publication with where we are today?

ET: We were very aware that the magazine had a significant heritage. I think the challenge was respecting its past, while not being so reverential that nothing changed. The type community is known for being quite exacting, so we were aware that whatever we did the magazine would be subject to strong opinions.

LT: The brief was to respect the incredible history but not be beholden to it, or try to replicate it. Monotype's brief left acres of space to play in so we could find a unique and distinct voice, both editorially and visually, to create a modern publication worthy of the Recorder name.

So how do you pay homage to history while also celebrating how type and graphic design have changed in the digital world?

ET: Type itself has an incredibly rich history, and this is something we wanted to explore, while also looking at contemporary applications and the role letterforms play in everyday life.

So for example in the first issue we looked at how a studio like The Salvage Press is finding new, more experimental outlets for letterpress – a very old practice. Again in Issue 2 we wanted to see how the craft of signwriting was being kept alive, while also looking at how someone like Felix Pfäffli was playing with the traditional 'rules' of legibility.

LT: A balance of content, both analogue and digital, was key to ensuring each issue would appeal to our audience which spans beginners right through to type experts. I always ensure we have a range of typefaces spanning the ages featured in each issue, from classics like Gill and Railroad Gothic to freshly cut fonts like Burlingame and Kairos.

What is your favorite thing about working on The Recorder?

ET: I think the opportunity to work on a magazine from the very beginning to the very end, and redefine its entire persona is the most enjoyable — it's also a very rare opportunity. Big thanks goes to Monotype and its creative director James Fooks-Bale for taking a chance the way they did.

LT: I'm really proud of our covers. Our masthead is so huge it wraps around onto the back cover allowing us the freedom to be bold with its colour and print techniques (from gold foil, to embossed neon pink, to spot varnish) so we always manage to achieve great standout on shelf.

Which story are you most excited about in Issue 3?

ET: We have a really beautiful essay written by Jennifer Kennard, who runs the Letterology blog, about the history of bank notes, and how they played a role in the development of graphic design and printing throughout history. I love anything that goes into detail on a particularly niche topic.

What do you hope readers will gain from this issue? What will they learn, share, and take to heart?

ET: As always, I hope it makes type a more accessible and engaging subject to people that might not have thought of it in that way before. I also hope it makes people realise that everyone can have a legitimate opinion about, and interest in, design and typography, regardless of their training.

LT: I hope we're part of the ongoing democratisation of typography, opening up this brilliant subject in all its facets to a whole new audience. I'm proud of the gender balance we achieve. For example, all 6 illustrators in this issue are women. So, if we can inspire more women into a traditionally male dominated industry, I'd be really stoked.

Everyone can have a legitimate opinion about, and interest in, design and typography, regardless of their training.

Emma, what advice would you give to young writers and editors?

ET: I would say it's always worth getting in touch with people, and asking to contribute or work together in some way. I think it can be quite daunting when you're starting out, but it can have surprising pay offs. I'd also say it can be a long hard slog to feel like you're getting somewhere, and it's easy to feel disenchanted, but that eventually things do start to click into place – and it's all the more satisfying when they do.

What about you, Luke? What advice would you give to young designers?

LT: My advice would be; seek out a great young editor and make something together you'll enjoy producing. Pour your passion into it without thought of the potential reward, just make something you care about. To young editors I would say; seek out a young designer to help make your idea a reality, give them plenty of freedom and encouragement and create something you can both be proud of.

The Recorder Issue Three

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