'I've met wonderful people here'

'I've met wonderful people here'
Berlin-born Verena Gerlach has always had a passion for typography, a passion that has now led her to develop 15 type faces of her own and many more that are still being created in her constantly active brain. 

In the City as Goethe Institut’s ‘bangaloREsident’ at Jaaga for a project on shop letterings and signs, she speaks to Metrolife about her plans here.

“Typography is really relevant in countries like India with all the different languages and type systems. There is a market here for different fonts and that’s what I’m interested in. I’m looking at the sign painting work in Bangalore and have noticed that sign painters use various designs, even if they are not really fonts. As of now, I’m just collecting and archiving the different styles with my camera but I hope to meet the artists soon,” says Verena, who is also learning embroidery here. 

“I want to combine these signs and letters to form a new political and gender-related meaning. I’m planning to design posters using these which will not be on paper but textiles. I initially had the idea of creating the poster on the sari but that’s too huge to work with and you only see a part 
of it. So I’ve changed it to scarves and stoles with these designs,” she adds. 

After completing a course in visual communication, Verena founded her own studio for graphic design, type design and typography. But her love for typography was brewing since she was a child. 

“As a child, I’d always draw in tiny sizes and my parents would complain. But what I was doing was making modular systems, the basis of typography, without knowing what it was,” she recalls.  

Other than the 15 type faces like FF Karbid that she has invented, Verena is also a book and poster designer. 

She has even art directed some video clips in the past. 

“It’s all connected to each other,” she opines, adding that when one is a “visual person”, such overlaps are bound to happen. 

“My journey with art is that I never wanted to be an artist and always wanted to do typography. So I see myself much more as a designer than artist,” she elaborates.

On how she has developed her aesthetic sense when it comes to design, Verena replies, “I think it’s very connected to viewing. It’s important to have a sharp eye and be open when you look at things. I’m lucky that I’ve had a very good education but that’s also because I chose that for myself. I always knew what I wanted to do. But when I’m practising and training, I try not to look for the result. For me, the process is more important than the result.”

So is she happy with her experience of India so far? 

“I did a lot of research on India and honestly expected the worst here. But until now, everything has worked — I’ve met wonderful people here, everybody is collaborative and it’s much easier than I’d imagined. I get along well with the rickshaw drivers. I recognise places and can even guide the driver through Malleswaram and parts of Indiranagar. It’s only the language that is very difficult for me to understand and something I misjudged,” she wraps up.

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