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Q&A with Ondrej Jób

Type and graphic designer - Type Foundry Urtd

My name is Ondrej Jób and I am a type and graphic designer in my one-man studio, Urtd. I try to do as much type as possible, but I also do lettering, identities, editorial design, websites, some coding, and UX and UI on top of that. I am a member of Village and also a designer at Fontstand.

How did you get started in graphic and type design, what is your background?

Somehow, I found my way to art and design just by myself as we don’t have anyone artistic in the family. I’m glad I was supported from my early years in the after-school art classes all the way to my master degree, even though my parents probably weren’t always 100% sure about the path I’ve chosen. But I guess they are happy about how it all turned out eventually.

I discovered graphic design during my high school years when I got into contact with computers and the internet, and I fell in love with type shortly after I started my master studies. Even though type might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, it’s been a great ride since then.

Where did you study? Looking back, would you recommend your path for beginners?

I went to local after-school art classes during my primary school and high school years. In 2008 I completed a master degree in graphic design and visual communication at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia and after that, I moved to the Netherlands to study type design at the TypeMedia master program at The Royal Academy of Arts (KABK) in Den Haag (2009).

If you’re seriously interested in designing typefaces and you are able to demonstrate your interest through work, TypeMedia at KABK is for sure the best and the most intense place for you.

What is a turning point in your professional career?

I like to think about every bit of recognition I get as a milestone in my career, marking a point to which I can look back to see how much I’ve moved since then. Of course, there are couple of milestones that are very important to me — graduating from TypeMedia, getting certificates of excellence from TDC for Klimax, Odesta and Woodkit, publishing typefaces at Typotheque and becoming a member of Village. All of these help to promote my work and spread the word.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you work at design studio all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

I would describe my work environment and work style as quite spartan, maybe even ascetic. I do all my work on my laptop computer and there’s almost nothing else on my desk. If my work isn’t very challenging, I can be easily distracted, but I’m also able to forget to move or eat, if I immerse myself in something very enjoyable or complex. One way or the other, I always need to be alone and quiet.

Where are your favorite places in Bratislava outside?

I’ve been living in Bratislava for almost 13 years now, but only recently I started to recognize places, where I feel cozy and comfortable. It has never truly felt like home to me, but it’s starting to change. I love the Danube and crossing it through its bridges. And I enjoy any place with a view. Just sitting on a hill overlooking the vast flat land with almost invisible mountain ranges in the background is the best way to reset my mind.

On the other hand, my hometown in the mountains of the north Slovakia remains the true home even though I only go there for short visits now.

Who are the designers, colleagues you admire most?

Peter Biľak. I’ve been lucky to become friends and colleagues with him. He’s an amazing designer with so many ideas it makes me jealous. His days are probably a couple hours longer than ours.

Also, everyone from Village. Every single one of the designers, including Chester Jenkins who assembled the team, is absolutely admirable.