Posted in Icon, Typeface

Exclusive interview with Miles Newlyn


Since 1991 Newlyn has continually refreshed creative thinking within corporate and brand identity design. This position has been demonstrated with work for some of the worlds largest organisations across every continent. Whilst focused on creation of image and its role in shaping culture, Miles Newlyn also speaks to audiences on branding and breaking the paradigm to build better markets.

Miles took some time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Typetoken®

Did you always want to design type and how did you get started
Yes. I began by drawing typefaces whilst at St. Martins in 1990. My tutor at the time, who was also dabbling in type design, was very reluctant to help me. I assumed that this was because he saw me as competition, which was encouraging. Within a couple of years I’d release three typefaces through Emigre. Of those fonts Democratica sold very well.

What are your working on right now?
Nothing, so it’s a holiday! But tomorrow there will probably be a couple of global businesses that need an identity by the end of the week, or it could be the beginning of a six month type design project, I have no idea, and I like that.

What is your greatest (type design) achievement to date and why?
I have not made great achievements, I see design as a job that I enjoy, part of living, and the entirety of that is great – designing type is a part of my great life, but life is never ‘achieved’.

Can you give us an overview of the process you take when creating a new typeface or logotype?
I am often asked to describe my process. There is no process for designing logos, and I think that when you look at successful logos, you can see that. What surprises me is to think that when seeing things I have done, some people would assume that there is a process that led to it. Creativity has no process, it is a state. At best I can say that I listen, I bring my full attention to the client. I do not let anything cloud that attention.

There is no agenda, nothing I want to achieve from a job; there is no need since I enjoy doing it. If the work is performed with joy, awareness and confidence, it will be the best you can do. However, designing typefaces is different, I begin with some shapes that I feel bring something new. My rapport with the Roman alphabet then guides me. After a while there is a rapport with the design and from there it guides me, telling me what it needs and what it doesn’t need.

What is your favorite part of that process?
The satisfaction I receive from hearing encouragement from friends and colleagues.

Do you find yourself drawing inspiration from any particular era, culture or movement?
“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close. I don’t exactly agree with this, since Close goes on to describe how he is process driven, and so he might consider me an amateur in this respect, but I don’t like the idea of inspiration as being something that one looks for.

Inspiration seems to me to come from within, as an openness to the present. I am most inspired when I’m with either friends or nature.

Outside of Newlyn whose work and faces do you most admire?
There is so much great type design now, graphic designers are very fortunate to have such an abundance of quality fonts.

Where is the coolest place you’ve seen your work applied?
1 degree west. My friend with whom I worked on the Telenor logo is proud of its application on the Thor satellites, because he has a love of astronomy. The side of a rocket or a discarded plastic bag in the gutter, it matters little to me.

If you weren’t a type designer what would you be?
Captain of paddle steamer.

Newlyn is a world renowned typographer and designer, specializing in the positioning and iconography of large organizations.




“Creativity has no process, it is a state…” An interesting and personal take on the ‘how do you do what you do?’ question. He’s not giving anything away. A fantastically talented chap who has worked hard.


Thanks for the appreciative comment Caspian, I’m not hiding anything, I love sharing. If anyone is interested in my work or anything, they are welcome to drop by the London studio for a cup of tea and a chinwag.


Thank you Miles & Mike! I have to agree that friends and nature are the best forms of inspiration. Beautiful work too.

Mark Milic

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