Just Our Type | Mingei International Museum

Yomar Augusto joined Mingei's redesign project from its inception in 2017, while he was teaching typography at San Diego State University. His customized font informed the Museum's visual rebrand and will be accessioned into the collection.

Born in Brasilia and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Augusto initially trained as a graphic designer before studying photography at the School of Visual Arts. He then started his own studio in Rio before completing a Masters in Type Design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, The Netherlands, then continued working in type, design and art in both commercial and educational sectors. His projects have been presented worldwide, and he has taught at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Bauhaus University in Weimar and locally at San Diego State University.

Tell us how elements of Mingei's collection inspired the typography.

A cigar dress caught my attention since the beginning of the project. It is an exquisite art/craft piece in that the square intersections combined create this amazing grid. The whole dress is a super interesting grid system. The Mingei Mono spaced font is truly inspired by a fixed width, square after square.

How did the typography drive the design treatments for Mingei?

Mingei's redesign project was a lifetime opportunity. We dove super-deep into the process, to achieve something amazing for the museum and something that might take the studio in new direction as a whole. Truly a lifetime project. I have been producing custom made typography for my design projects for a long time, but for the first time in my creative life, we’ve managed to link the typography and the graphic system in a way that can keep growing and evolving.

You worked with notable designer Andy Clymer to develop the new font for Mingei. Can you tell us more about that collaboration?

Andy Clymer is one of the best type designers/typeface developers in the United States and maybe in the world. I am the luckiest person, because I can say that he is one my best friends, as well. We've been collaborating on custom-made typefaces for a long time. He is based in NYC, and I am based in California, where he is originally from. He studied in San Diego, and we studied together in The Netherlands. When I was living in NYC, we hung out so much. It is truly an honor to be able to develop Mingei mono alongside Andy. Thank you, "my boy."

"I would describe my work as a hybrid platform, where the handmade and digital are connected and intertwined."

How would you describe your own work?

I would describe my work as a hybrid platform, where the handmade and digital are connected and intertwined. There were phases of photography and film work, illustration, painting, bookmaking and calligraphy. Things opened up through the typography, though it's always a transformation.

What has influenced or informed your art?

Painting, calligraphy, photography and graphic design are at the epicenter of my creative world. All of that meshes with my desire to travel and see the world. Traveling, indeed, is an important source of energy, self discovery and awareness that pushes my creative process forward.

Not only traveling but also places I've lived deeply influenced me. I left Brazil almost 15 years ago. I lived in New York in 2001, and between 2013 and 2016, and in Europe between 2004 and 2012 for a course in The Netherlands, where I had an opportunity to complete a Master's degree in Typography at the Royal Academy of Arts. And finally I moved to San Diego in 2016.

Thinking about my journey, the Netherlands had a deep influence on my education and professional growth. It is there where I realized that a six-point font could be (re)interpreted on the side of a building, the micro and macro effect. I can say that I am a Brazilian, Dutch and New Yorker-Californian Designer/Artist. All the places have been a huge influence in my life, but NYC still and always will be the center of my life. It's hard to explain. It's a place where you connect or don’t, and once you connect it is hard to leave.

California feels very special, with its nature and so many places to explore. It offers an incredible outdoor life, and cities like L.A (which is like a giant cake; you need to get past the frosting to reach the greatness). San Diego, my current base, reminds me of Brazil, with its incredible outdoor life, surfing, the ocean. In San Diego, surf became a big part of my life, and like back in Brazil, the ocean and nature can truly put in perspective the small problems. The art scene, though, can be mellow and tough in San Diego, but I've had my best year in sales.

How do you enjoy teaching design?

I truly enjoy every aspect of it. First of all, when you teach, you have the freedom of being your true self and can say and share whatever you like. The world behind closed doors is filled with enthusiastic minds, and that can make the teaching process highly interactive and fulfilling. The energy coming from the students is amazing. It is truly a great feeling, and as an educator, I completely absorb that energy, use it and apply it into my own life and creative work.

What's next for you?

Career-wise, I can see so many directions right now. I decided to join Intuit as a Senior Visual Designer to learn and understand more about the tech industry, but my personal projects move from murals, typography, graphic design and art, to freelance work in digital and mobile. Mingei opportunities have led to a lot of breakthroughs in both design and art. Currently I am particularly interested in focusing on murals and design and typographic systems.

How does Mingei's aesthetic relate to your oeuvre?

Mingei also has a broad range of directions within the collection. It's a museum of several styles. I feel super connected with that, the mix of influences and resources.

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