zaky_profileOne cannot grow tired to see the works of young designer, Zaky Arifin. We have reviewed him once here and are still amazed to see him progressing with his ongoing (still counting, we hope it would be endless) playful chalkboard project.

Putting focus on typography, Zaky admitted to experience his moment of revelation when watching the typography cult movie, Helvetica. When designing, Zaky always recites Circle‘s principle Robert L. Peters‘ words of how design creates culture and therefore is responsible for the future world. A quote he almost religiously applies.


How would you define yourself?
Zaky Arifin. I work as a graphic designer for myself, I create artworks for my future. A lover of monochromatic, black and white hues.

What motivates and inspires you?
People around me: my friends and family in particular.

What do you most enjoy about the work process? And what is the least?
I really enjoy the brainstorming stage. I despise the revision phase.

How did you become interested in branding design and typography in particular? How do you connect those two aspects?
It’s after I watched Helvetica that I began to study deeper about typography. My interest on branding grew when I was working for Greenlab Group. We did several branding projects and turned out I really enjoyed the process. These two aspects are interrelated especially when I have to create a memorable logo; I prefer logotype rather than logogram because I believe the right typeface will work.

Why the fascination with type, were there any eye-opening events that made you realize how type works?
I can provide various expression through type. I believe it, after I watched Helvetica.

Have you designed any typeface? How do you design type? Sketches first? Or everything on screen?
Ya, I have designed some typeface. Sometimes I sketch first.

Typeface designers engage with the forging of cultural and artistic movements, yet their work, although it is almost everywhere you look, goes largely unnoticed. How do you respond to this situation?
I think it’s an inevitable situation of how general crowd still assess typeface as just letters and not a serious design work. However this condition doesn’t refrain me from continue working because I gain more satisfaction in creating a design “from A to Z” rather than being popular.

What is your opinion about the development of typeface design in Indonesia? What need to be improved or what can be remedied?
I have seen a lot of Indonesian-designers made typeface, ranging widely from traditionally influenced typeface to experimental. I think what needs to be developed is the function of the typeface itself.

How do Indonesia and its culture affect your work?
I was influenced by Indonesian culture in several projects. I’ve worked on project that promoted Indonesian culture and I’ve found it easier to learn and apply the culture into my works as I actually live here.

Business, technology is changing and rapidly evolving. What do you do to overcome such pace of changes, especially in the process of work?
We have to be adaptive. I don’t mean to fall victim, we just have to be aware of the change. For myself, I have to maintain my creative character. I adapt by developing my works based on current situation.

You’ve surely worked on several projects so far. What would be the most relevant ones and why?
Simfoni untuk Negeri” book project. I designed this book up to the headline type. At that time I was inspired by the violin F-holes, thus I named the type, Simfoni Typeface.

Are there any differences between working for experimental or self-initiated project and commercial project? How do you adapt to those differences?
Yes, there are. In an experimental project, I don’t have to worry about the final result, whether it will be great or not but for commercial project, I have Creative Director supervises my work until final product. However, the experimental projects help me trained my eyes to cultivate my design quality.

How do you feel about collaboration?
Thrilling and fun!

What are you listening to these days?
Wolf Pack – The Vaccines

Artists or designers you admire? Why?
Emir Hakim, Aditya Wijanarko, Cempaka Surakusumah, Carmentrino, Nady Azhry, Elfan Diary. They are able to carry good quality in each of their designs.

How do you see yourself in five years from now?
Running my own studio.

Could you draw or describe the view from your working space?
working space

What’s your everyday carry or pocket dump?
Smartphone, cigarette, lighter, wallet, key and coins.

What is the best advice you received that you would like to share with aspiring designers and artists?
Practice happiness everyday.

Check Zaky’s portfolio here.