TDCHenrik Kubel + Matt Willey
TDC Prize
Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey


Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey|NYT MAG OLYMPIC FONT*
Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey|NYT MAG OLYMPIC FONT*
Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey|NYT MAG OLYMPIC FONT*
Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey|NYT MAG OLYMPIC FONT*


Every special issue of the NYT mag is opportunity for rejoicing ‒ especially for lovers of beautiful type and editorial design. Art Director of the magazine Matt Willey has very kindly shared with us some spreads for the new Winter Olympics themed issue, out this weekend. The typeface is a collaboration between Matt & long-time collaborator Henrik Kubel ‒ we quizzed Matt about this, and more.

Vertical or stacking type is notoriously hard to get right, high contrast arguably makes it even more complex ‒ so its a brave decision to use it for a whole issue! What inspired it/you in this case?

It really came about because of a lack of space. The issue covers all 15 winter olympic sports, from Alpine skiing to speed skating. It’s a lot to fit in, there’s not a huge amount of room to play with. Many of the pages had to accommodate the headline (the name of the sport), the deck, an image and the body text. It wasn’t possible to have traditional openers for many of the pieces. The wide stacked type was a way of giving some scale and typographic presence to those headlines when they ran in the thin columns around all that stuff.

Did you try any other treatments for this issue? Any other changes made to the structure throughout?

This was the first idea I had. I changed the template on the feature well pages and made all the outer margins smaller, partly (mainly) because I really liked the way it looks but it also allowed us to get more text on the pages.

You’re well known for producing bespoke type for special issues of the mag, this time calling on your friend and collaborator Henrik Kubel ‒ how long did this issue take to put together?

I worked on it, on and off, for about two and half weeks. A lot of that was just mapping the issue out, blocking out stories, trying to make everything fit. It’s like a puzzle. We had this great mix ‒ I think ‒ of photographically-led pieces and other more literary pieces. Trying to figure out how the pacing of the issue would work took some time. I had a pretty set idea of what I wanted to try and do with the type; a very wide stacking typeface where each character was the exact same width, and I drew a few characters to see how (if!) it might work. My letters were pretty ropey, I was very glad (relieved!) when Henrik agreed to help. He took my crude start and, somehow, made omething brilliant out of it.

Henrik Kubel + Matt Willey

Henrik KubelA2/SW/HK + A2-TYPE(UK)

Type designer and Typographer. Education:BA Graphic Design: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design: 1992-97.MA Communication Art & Design, Postgraduate degree: Royal College of Art, 1998-2000.Certificate in Type Design, Reading University, Summer 2010.Diploma Expert Class Type Design, Plantin-Moretus Museum, Belgium, 2011.Certificate in Type Design, Condensed Program 2012,Type@Cooper, New York 2012. Member of AGI, Alliance Graphique Internationale (2007—) Clients:Moscow Metro, The Independent Newspaper, Google Android, Wired Magazine UK, The Sunday Times Magazine, in collaboration withMargaret Calvert, Friends of the Earth, Wallpaper*, The New York Times Magazine, Aperture Foundation, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Danish Ministry of Culture, Royal Mail, Harvard University Press and New York Magazine. Received many awards.


Matt Willey (USA)

Matt Willey is a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently the art director of The New York Times Magazine. In 2014 he was named ‘Designer of the Year’ by Creative Review, and was selected as a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) in 2015.