Wei Huang <em>Total Control, Laughing at the System</em> 2017; vinyl record sleeve. Courtesy of the designer<br/>
© Wei Huang

Wei Huang

Wei Huang
(b. 1989, Fuqing, China. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Wei Huang is a Chinese-born Australian graphic designer and type designer whose practice is informed by the history of visual communication and technology, vernacular typography and subcultures. He splits his time between producing and engineering fonts, drawing typefaces and logos, and sometimes doing graphic design. 

Huang’s album art for Laughing at the System by Total Control features an ecstatic and eminently contemporary take on calligraphic lettering, which is a kind of alphabet that is highly structured, if subtly so, yet here dramatically deconstructed. Huang’s Warp Black typeface was commissioned by graphic designer Michael Oswell for Warp Records, an independent record label founded in Sheffield in 1989. Artists such as Aphex Twin, Autechre and Boards of Canada released seminal works on the label, helping to establish it as a major player in the electronic music scene, but the label has also been important, since its inception, as a home for influential graphic design. Warp Black has the DNA of Neue Haas Grotesk, now known as Helvetica, except a little less grotesque, and blacker, yet here purple.

Times is a time-honoured newspaper face; newspapers demand readability. A monospaced typeface is one in which all letters and numbers are the same width, even an ‘I’ and a ‘W’, like on a typewriter; as such, monospaced faces aren’t especially easy to read. Pantasia is Huang’s monospaced Times, a paradoxical mashup of contradictory design decisions, and therefore a subversive twist on a classic. In Babel Bookcase, Pantasia is seen on the back of the Laughing at the System sleeve, and on a blanket that is a half-sized replica of a 2019 artwork by Studio Ghazal Vojdani, titled ‘When Legacies Become Debts’. 

In 2014, Huang released the award-winning open-source typeface Work Sans (a typeface family based loosely on early grotesques) on Google Fonts. In 2022, Huang was named a Type Directors Club (TDC) Ascender – an international award honouring masterful typographers on the rise around the world.