The multihyphenate Gloria Kondrup originally planned to study law but her career trajectory took at turn after discovering a love for art. Since attaining a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a master’s degree in design, Kondrup has been sharing that love of graphic design and typography with students as a professor at ArtCenter College of Design. In addition to teaching, she oversees the school’s Archetype Press, California’s largest letterpress printing facility that offers students a full-immersion typographic education. She’s also the executive director of the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. For this month’s Where I Work, the professor, design consultant, director, and executive director takes us through the spaces, aka type heaven, where she accomplishes it all.
What’s your studio/work environment like?
My work environment is a combination of spaces and is adaptable. I designed Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) with architects to be an extremely flexible space. The HMCT is a transdisciplinary department at ArtCenter College of Design – not only is it an office for myself and my staff, it is also an archive, a classroom, and a residency for invited Typographers and artists. I am the Director of Archetype Press next door to HMCT, and it is one of the largest letterpress facilities at an institution of higher education. I teach a class at Archetype Press and work as a printer on special projects there as well.
How is your space organized/arranged?
I work in the conference room where I hold meetings with my staff regularly. Since I travel often on behalf of HMCT, my office is often mobile and I do not keep a formal office except for this room. It is affectionately called a fish bowl, because it is a room with glass windows, adjacent to a hallway where people are able to look in. It has sliding doors which allow me to focus on my own work, but also see classes in the main space.
How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?
I have been at HMCT for almost 4 years. I have been at Archetype Press since 2004. I have worked at ArtCenter for 25 years.
If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?
HMCT recently sponsored a workshop and visit of “DNAish: The DNA of Danish Design” by ArtCenter alumni Vibeke Nødskov and Karoline Raben. They taught us about “Hygge,” the Danish way of life that developed from their harsh weather and Danish values. Hygge, in short, can be experienced by dimmed lighting, natural textiles, coffee and tea, and cozy socks. I wish HMCT would have more “Hygge.”
Is there an office pet?
No, unfortunately. But if I was able to have a pet, it would my big Maine Coon cat: Cooper Black.
Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?
While I am printing or setting type in Archetype Press I listen to classics such as Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, ABBA, and Johnny Cash. In my office at HMCT, it is usually quiet because I need to concentrate and I do not want to disturb the classes or workshops.
How do you record ideas?
On paper scraps or in a notebook. I also keep a tracing paper pad.
Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?
The entire center is one big inspiration for me. I’m surrounded by images of typography.
What is your typical work style?
Unregimented, sometimes at home, during travel, and at all hours.
What is your creative process and/or creative workflow like? Does it change every project or do you keep it the same?
I always begin my creative process alone, then involve back and forth input as the project develops.
What kind of art/design/objects might you have scattered about the space?
My favorite object is the Jack Lew signature in neon from the a past HMCT exhibition “Dictionary of the Illegible.”
Are there tools and/or machinery in your space?
A loupe for looking and magnifying small type. Ten vandercook presses and three-thousand cases of type.
What tool(s) do you most enjoy using in the design process?
My tools are books and research. Since I work at a Typography center, language and the printed word are my focus, and so our library and archive at HMCT are certainly a part of my creative process and are just as important as any tool a printer would use. I often reach for our dictionaries at HMCT reference library.
Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.
I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro and an iPhone 8.
What design software do you use, if any, and for what?
What’s on your desk right now?
Desk calendar, MacBook Pro, books on the Bauhaus, MIKE/SIERRA/TANGO, coffee mug from Virgin Atlantic, Waterford crystal glasses and a Muji carafe filled with water.
Is there a favorite project/piece you’ve worked on?
The MIKE/SIERRA/TANGO catalog, designed by my exhibition designer Lavinia Lascaris. The exhibition recently traveled to Tokyo for the AtypI 2019 conference.
Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?
Archetype Press anniversary book “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30.”
Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?
Yes, typographic art pieces.
Photos by © ArtCenter College of Design/Juan Posada.