The first things designer and typographer Rian Hughes made were his own board games. “They were very simple: you’d roll dice, land on a square, and follow instructions. I was around seven or eight years old.” Rian wanted to be a graphic designer even before he’d heard the term and he has always been interested in type and illustration, “due to a close encounter with a Letraset catalog at age 13.” His career has seen him designing for magazines, the music industry, comics, and fashion. His first typefaces were released through FontShop in the early ’90s, but his work has been released through his own foundry, Device Fonts, since 1996.
From Batman to burlesque
Rian has done type, design, and illustration work for both British and American comics, including creating logo designs for DC and Marvel — Batman and Robin, Batgirl, X-Men, Captain America, Wolverine, the Spirit, the Invisibles, Shade the Changing Man, the Atom, and more.
“I’ve been sketching London’s
burlesque artists for a few years,
and Soho Dives, Soho Divas
collects that work.”
Some of his work with comics is counted among his favorite projects and, he says, his book Soho Dives, Soho Divas “has been a great deal of fun. I’ve been sketching London’s burlesque artists for the last few years, and this volume collects these drawings, and the graphic illustrations and paintings that evolved from them.” He has authored and co-authored several books, but 2011’s Cult-ure: Ideas can be Dangerousis his “most personal project, and the one of which I’m most proud.” His next project is a “typographic novel that explores the idea of the modern.”
Rian collects vintage magazines and books, and he was inspired early on by “the type design work of Roger Excoffon, the comics of Serge Clerc and Yves Chaland, and the graphic design of Peter Saville and Barney Bubbles.”
The drive to make things comes from “the fun of the doing. And the worry that I’ll not get all the ideas I have out in the time I have.”