As a young designer at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, Philip Cronerud cut his teeth working for some of the biggest brands in the world. Before he was even nearing his late twenties, he could count Heineken, Coca Cola, and Audi as clients. Cool huh? Not if your real aspiration is to be a type designer, and none of your multinational, billion-dollar clients want to commission any custom type.
Cronerud founded mediumextrabold out of frustration, creating fonts for design-minded friends and as personal projects to fill an increasing void in his professional practice. Designers started to take note and use his typefaces in their own work, and the more they did the more Cronerud saw the potential in his designs. Eventually he packed in his day job altogether to see where type might take him, the beginning of a journey that’s landed him a role as a senior designer for Apple in Palo Alto.
Cronerud likes to think of his type design as effortless. “A typeface that has character without feeling forced is the hardest thing to achieve, but a successful typeface in my opinion is one that stands out without being bone dry.” But while he’s created an impressive body of work for someone so young, not all his best efforts have seen the light of day. “Galleri was made for a proposed title design for Wim Wenders, and it took on a more cinematic aesthetic. Unfortunately it never made it into the film, but I continued the development and added features and ligatures to make it even more interesting.”
Over time, Cronerud has learned the value of standing out, growing his stable of fonts from a few Swiss Modern sans serif specimens into an expressive array of distinctive letterforms. “I try to push myself to not only make sans serifs,” he says. “It’s hard when you’ve been schooled to love that world, but I do try to explore more styles and things that I don’t necessarily like at first.”
This evolutionary working method has come to define mediumextrabold, with letterforms transformed and updated to suit Cronerud’s needs. “Most of my type design was designed for me, the typefaces that I felt were missing,” he says. “But digital is not final anymore, and the idea of improving things over time has always fascinated me.”