From tasty cupcake toppers to handy handsets, Bjoern Altmann’s playful, illustrated designs find their way onto more than just paper. Originally from Germany but now a London dweller, Bjoern has worked on a slew of projects that caught our eye—which is why we were thrilled to have him onboard to illustrate our custom Fresh Out Of Pad for Anthropologie. Follow Bjoern on his blog or send him a Tweet at @bjoernaltmann.
1. Did you always want to be an illustrator? How did you get your start? Before attending art school in Germany, I already drew a lot. But I think the illustration class was the turning point. In this course, we were taught how to get rid of our mannerisms and to find a way to approach the heart of an object without using effects. This simple style is something I developed when spending a guest semester at another art school in Germany. While I was there, one of our assignments was to make an illustrated book, which was something else entirely compared to the random drawings I created before, as it had to be a coherent style.
2. You create your own fonts by hand. What are your favorite fonts right now (either created by you or by someone else)? I think I’d like to make a distinction here between typefaces and hand lettering. Hand lettering is done for one specific use only, whereas typefaces have to work in all sorts of environments. They are more of a tool. I’ve worked in typefaces as well when I created a titling version of Clarendon for my art school thesis and also the new typeface for an energy drink as a commission.
Hand lettering is where illustration and type design meet, and that’s what I find so exciting about it.
My favorite typefaces (there are so many I like, here a few): Bery Tuscan by Fred Smeijers and Diversa by Dino dos Santos because I love Victorian typefaces and modern takes on them; Letterpress (a font with alternative characters) and then Ziggurat and Leviathan by Hoefler Type Foundry.
3. What are your hobbies outside of illustrating and design? Reading, collecting antiquities (from cutlery to furniture—here in England it’s not as difficult as in Germany), traveling, refurbishing vintage bicycles, and playing piano.
4. What’s your favorite Knock Knock product and why? I love the We Need to Talk Sticky Note. It’s great and exactly what I need. And I like the other, slightly offensive ones. I think it’s because the sense of humor matches mine.
5. What ingredient(s) in your fridge or pantry do you always run out of? My fridge tends to be empty as I’m at work most of the time. =)
Other projects by Bjoern to check out: