Today in the creator spotlight we have Malwin Béla Hürkey, communication design student from Germany who works as a self-employed graphic designer and typographer. He also loves onions, what’s up with that? Read on to find out.
Tell us about your latest product
Over the past half year I designed a new typeface called Nihon at the „Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach“ and I needed a fitting shop system to sell it. Nihon is an ornamental Japonism typefamily. I created it to build a bridge between the western and eastern typography with a focus on the old Inkan-Seals from Japan as well as China.
As you can guess it is an unusual type design with an experimental approach. Conventional shop sites wouldn’t be able to display or document it properly, so I built my own shop and implemented Sellfy in it.
How do you promote your products?
In the forefront of the release I had the chance to exhibit the concept of Nihon at the „HfG Rundgang 2014“ in Offenbach, Germany, where I got a lot of positive feedback.
Later I promoted the project mostly via the creative platform Behance and my website on which I published a detailed documentation about the genesis and system behind it.
After the release on September the 1st it got lots of attention, hundreds of tweets and was featured by several design blogs and sites, such as „Sidebar“, „Betype“, „Type Release“ or „Design Made in Germany“.
Moreover there will be a short article in the upcoming TimeOut Magazine Tokyo this fall. All these streams combined generated a very intensive traffic for the start of Nihon.
In short, I published a documentation and told people about my project and the idea, rather than making actual advertising for it.
How have you built your audience and online presence?
I think you get the best audience when people start to talk about your product and are able to identify themselves with it, like it or even have some issues with it.
First of all it was very helpful that they understood what I was doing, and more importantly why I was doing it.
There are reasons why you start a project. You discover a problem you want to fix, a topic you want the people to think about, to improve something or you simply love something to do. The people you want to address should know about it to get a better understanding of your intentions.
When your audience is able to reconstruct your thoughts and discovers the solution you created, the „magic“ happens.
They will talk about the idea, with you or with others. Both is wonderful. So I talked with them, answered questions, discussed disagreements, explained my ideas and took all the feedback I could get. Whoever I was talking to, their opinion mattered.
It is simply a great experience to hear what people think about your project you put so much time and effort into. When they appreciate your work and the way you communicate the idea behind it, they will start to follow your project, maybe buy it and in the best case scenario even recommend it to their peers.
So all in all I used communication and storytelling as a tool to build my audience. And my online presence consists out of the usual suspects for designers: Behance portfolio, online portfolio, Facebook page and an instagram account.
What’s the best feedback you received about your product?
This is definitely one of my favorites. It is an anonymous message I received during the first day of the release:
“Hello, my friend and I just wanted to say how beautiful your typeface is! We are deeply inspired by Japanese calligraphy and design. While procrastinating instead of doing work, we stumbled upon it and we instantly fell in love. I, myself will purchase the typeface, and my friend is still considering it. Thank you for making such a beautiful typeface!”
What are some of your favorite places online, where you get insight or inspiration for your work?
I like to stumble upon unknown design projects or portfolios that didn’t get that much attention.
There are so many great designers we haven’t ever heard of. They are not easy to find and it is more of a lucky shot when you find such treasures online.
But the most inspiration I got for Nihon was through a small book by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō called „In Praise of Shadows“. It is not about typography or graphic design, rather than japanese aesthetics in general and it caught my attention for japanese design and culture.
I began to rummage Pinterest for japanese typography, then books and exhibitions and finally began to draw my first sketches for Nihon.
My favorite online inspirations are „But does it float“ (http://butdoesitfloat.com) and Pinterest, you can find nearly everything on it.
Imagine that you can go back in time and give yourself advice about something. What would it be?
Grow a mustache, it’s freaking awesome! No seriously, I wish my earlier me would have taken advices. But I’ll try it.
Be critical to yourself and the work you do. Stay curious and open-minded to new ideas. Find your passion in the detail. Don’t believe the hype. Be brave and walk paths no one has ever taken before.
Oh – and I should have eaten onions earlier. I used to hate them as a kid, now I love them.
What should we expect next from you?
I’m waiting for my next good idea and I have no clue what this project will be about. Probably something with typography and graphic design. There is one thing though, I already have a new typeface in my backhand, almost finished but not yet ready to be published. Perhaps you will hear about it this fall.
P.S. Make sure to check out Malwin’s Sellfy shop, his Nihon font is on fire!