In the world of type design, there are creators who infuse their work with cultural richness and artistic depth. One such luminary is Caio Kondo, a Brazilian-Japanese type designer hailing from São Paulo. His journey in typography has been a captivating one, marked by a fusion of his dual heritage and a relentless pursuit of excellence in design. Not to mention the fact that, along this fascinating journey, he’s creating some truly amazing (and, let’s be honest, really cool) fonts.
In the first of our Meet The Team series, we’ve sat down with Caio Kondo, the mastermind behind the highly acclaimed typefaces Eiko and Mori – and most recently, Air, an acutely balanced concoction of minimal, brutal and Aerospaced-inspired forms – to delve into the creative mind that has left an indelible mark on the typographic landscape. Caio’s story is one of self-taught dedication, evolving from a graphic design graduate to the founder of Inari Type Foundry in 2020. His foray into the world of typefaces was not without challenges, but his passion and perseverance have yielded fonts that resonate with sophistication and cultural significance.
A testament to the boundless possibilities of type design, with a practice continuing to shape the way we perceive and interact with typography, join us as we uncover the artist behind the fonts, learn about his daily rituals at the desk, and gain insight into his creative philosophy.
Introduce yourself! Who are you, and what do you do?
CAIO: Hello! My name is Caio Kondo, I'm a Brazilian-Japanese type designer based in São Paulo, Brazil.
What does a typical working day look like?
CAIO: When I’m not immersed in kerning, my days are generally quite pleasant, haha. Jokes aside, I must confess that my typical workdays aren’t particularly glamorous; they often entail long hours in front of the computer.
What can’t you live/work without at your desk space (other than a phone or computer)?
CAIO: I couldn’t imagine a productive day without my printers. Despite having 4K monitors, I’m still a fan of print testing. I have both a laser printer and an inkjet printer.
How did you get started in type design, and what advice would you give to those wanting to get started?
CAIO: I embarked on my journey in type design as a self-taught enthusiast following my graduation in graphic design. After working as a graphic designer for several years and concurrently designing my own fonts, I founded Inari Type foundry, in 2020.
For those who might not have the opportunity to enrol in a formal type design program, I would recommend online resources. There is a wealth of free information available. That includes exploring open-source fonts that can help you grasp the workings of a typographic system. Additionally, during my studies I received valuable guidance from experienced guys, so don’t hesitate to seek help.
What typefaces have you designed for PP?
CAIO: Eiko, Mori, and Air. Currently, I'm working on an update for Nikkei, which will soon be a PP release.
Where does your creative inspiration or design philosophy come from?
CAIO: Determining the origins of my creative inspiration and design philosophy is a challenging task. Thanks to my Japanese heritage, I’ve absorbed numerous influences from Asian design, both in typography and culture. However, as of late, I’ve been directing my attention toward Latin America.
What do you enjoy most about your job, and what is the biggest challenge?
CAIO: The most enjoyable part of my job is drawing type; I have a deep passion for what I do. However, this can be arduous; sometimes a typographic project can last several years and launching it can be a daunting task when you’re not totally confident.
Finally, let's spread the type love! Quite simply, what’s your favourite typeface?
CAIO: Currently, my favourite font is Hanae, a creation by Ayaka and Flavia Zimbardi!
Air, Eiko and Mori are available to try for free on Pangram Pangram
Commercial licenses are also available, starting at $30.