Although completed in November 2016, typeface Quainton actually started life eight years ago. “At the time we were working on a few projects that we weren't really enjoying, so any downtime we had we used to explore our own personal work and create some exciting things,” says Sawdust founder Jonathan Quainton. Sawdust often uses bespoke type in its editorial illustrations, and has developed several typefaces both for commercial license and for brands direct. At the time, many of the typefaces Jonathan was working with were quite structured and geometric, so when he came across typeface family Didot, he was inspired by the elegance of this high-contrast serif, and wanted to develop a font that captured its spirit.
Jonathan created some sketches for the initial letterforms but the project was soon shelved as the studio’s workload increased. Last year, when Jonathan and Sawdust co-founder Rob Gonzalez were rummaging around their archive, they came across the eight-year-old sketches and decided to reanimate the project. “The initial sketches came from Jonathan’s brain so my role initially was largely motivating him to work on it in between client projects,” laughs Rob. “It became a bit of a running joke in the studio that it would never get finished – it would be his life's work.”
Although Jonathan and Rob didn’t develop a strict brief for the project, the plan was to transform these sketches into a fully working typeface that designers would be able to buy and use. Jonathan and Rob were both involved in the design process: Jonathan spearheaded the day-to-day design work, whereas Rob was responsible for the art direction.