December 6, 2013

Typographic Fetish: Mucca Design’s Matteo Bologna at Chicago CreativeMornings #19

Photograph by Chris Gallevo. View More.

June 2013: Matteo Bologna’s presentation at the 19th gathering of Chicago CreativeMornings was held at the Gene Siskel Film Center. He founded Mucca Design, in New York, where he is the studio’s Creative Director. Though I missed his talk(1), super thanks to Tina Roth Eisenberg and her CreativeMornings team in making a video library of every talk!

June 2013’s CreativeMornings global theme was Food.

While viewing Bologna’s talk, I recalled Chef Gordon Ramsay’s TV show, The F Word, and the tantalizing typographic logo designed for Showtime’s series Masters of Sex. There was plenty of both—swearing and sexual references—in Bologna’s presentation, and more. The creative food he served was his attraction to typography, including a strong appetite for the F-word (noun and verb).


Letterforms are seductive elements. Typefaces can be used as tools to seduce. Typographic design can be described as the practice of temptation. In a designer’s toolkit, a typeface is one of the most apparent means to draw people—and their senses—to a piece of material. A typographic sensibility was immediate in Mucca Design’s work, such as their identity and visual-brand design for Shinsegae food markets, Runa teas, and Victoria’s Secret.

Typefaces beget other typefaces. The range of type foundries is fierce. It validates the seduction of font design and publishing, and the software-development efforts these activities provoke. In his April 2012 CreativeMornings/Chicago talk, illustrator Mike McQuade showcased his creation of a typeface called Remi. Crafting an alphabet, including all of its underlying aesthetic and functional factors, was a project he vigorously wanted to pursue. At a glance, a complete alphabet is seamless. But this continuity from character to character demands maniacal detail that only a “typo-maniac” could afford. Bologna echoed McQuade’s curiosity and determined fascination in designing a typeface, not only the display letters but a full alphabet, with numerals, punctuation, styles, and kerning. As Bologna put it, realizing a full textual typeface would transform him to “become and feel like a real man.”

Never strange bedmates, the two omniscient forces result in a natural equation. Both are visual. Both communicate. Both are key to survival. They mutually tickle each other.

When asked by Kim Knoll, founding partner of Knoed Creative and one of CreativeMornings/Chicago’s organizers, about advice for the younger generation of designers, Bologna’s answer quickly aligns to CreativeMornings’ first global theme of 2013: Happiness. The Chicago chapter’s talk to kick off 2013 was given by Nick Campbell, who founded motion design-related online destination Greyscalegorilla. He stressed that the “drive from being somewhat satisfied to being more satisfied is driven by doing more of what makes you happy.” When it comes to work—the act that consumes the majority of living, earning and re-earning a desired quality of happiness—while working—is one of the ultimate discoveries and a deeply satisfying reality.


Make love, in more ways (and positions) than one.

(1) Wasn’t able to attend Chicago CreativeMornings #19 due to a thankful trip to Scotland.

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Big thanks: to Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for hosting and Neighborly for sponsoring Chicago CreativeMornings #19; to organizers Kim Knoll and Kyle Eertmoed of Knoed Creative, who spoke at Chicago CreativeMornings #7, and all of the Chicago CreativeMornings crew for their great work on making CreativeMornings happen in Chicago.

Especially big thanks: to Tina Roth Eisenberg—Swissmiss—for inventing CreativeMornings in 2008. The fifth chapter was launched in Chicago, June 2011—my write-up and photos.

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Typeface of quotes is Helvetica (1957) designed by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann.

Photograph by Chris Gallevo. View More.

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Read more Chicago CreativeMornings coverage.

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2011 was Chicago CreativeMornings’ debut year. Download the entire collection of selected insights.