Each of our 2019 Ascenders spoke with us about their design inspirations and work. Here is our interview with typographer, graphic designer, and letterer Anthony Hos of Auckland, New Zealand.

What schools did you attend?

The Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand.

Did you have a teacher, past employer, client, or colleague who was instrumental in your career?

I’ve been lucky to have so many incredible people to help me through my life and career, because after all, it truly does take a village. If I look back I’ve always had someone there to help me develop at every stage of my life and career, right from the very moment my learning began. From family, primary and secondary school teachers, university lecturers, creative directors and colleagues – I simply couldn’t begin to name them all and I would hate to miss someone.

Did they have any specific advice/words of wisdom that you remember?

I remember hearing some great advice from Jef Wong, Executive Creative Director at Designworks. Be hardworking, appreciative, collaborative and respectful. Always try to work harder than the next person, be appreciative of the creative industry that we are in and the work that we get to do, collaborate with those around you, and always be respectful of others.

Lettering and specimen for & Sans typeface design.

Which of your design projects are your favorites? Why?

One of my favorite projects was creating & Sans, a geometric sans serif type family. This was created as a custom in-house typeface for Designworks in Auckland, New Zealand. It had the tricky job of being multiuse and had to be simultaneously expressive and unassuming. It had to be flexible, hardworking, and robust. As it incapsulated the idea of more & less, it donned the name ‘& Sans’. With a strong idea, it also meant that packaging this up was an exciting process in itself.

It was the result of a combined effort that I thoroughly enjoyed. The process involved a large amount of collaboration and working closely with the Jef Wong. It was a project that challenged me greatly to push further and deliver something that was extremely functional.

What’s your worst design experience and project? Why?

Looking back, what seemed like some of the worst design experiences at the time often ended up being some of my favourite ones. The challenge of trying to solve a problem or tricky situation is often what helps me grow as a designer. So, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular experience as being the ‘worst’. Although I do find (probably like most people) that the worst design experiences are often those where creativity is dictated.

Where do you work now? In a studio, independent, other? What’s a typical workday like?

I am an Auckland, New Zealand-based typographer, graphic designer, and letterer at Designworks, a multidisciplinary design studio whose practices range from physical to digital, spatial to motion, product to identity and typography. So, working here involves lots of collaboration with others and working with some of New Zealand’s biggest brands and businesses.

A typical day always begins with a good coffee with my wife (us Kiwis love a good espresso). It then involves collaborating with my team and working through numerous projects throughout the day. This includes working sessions, client presentations, more coffee, and lots of discussions.

I’m fortunate to work with some incredibly talented people who have been instrumental in supporting and pushing me in my creative endeavours.

Typeface design specimen.

What are your hobbies besides typography or design?

Travel, films, golf, beach, and coffee.

Do you know any of the other Ascenders personally? If yes, whom ?

I’ve been fortunate enough to follow a few of the 2019 Ascenders through their career, particularly Ben Johnston, who I spotted on Instagram some years ago. I’ve also a been a big fan of Vincent Chan from Matter of Sorts, an Australian-based typographic practice.

Do you have any favorite designers and/or artists? Who are they?

I have numerous favorite designers who I respect and admire. From international type designers and letterers both past and present, designers from all disciplines who continue to inspire and provoke new ways of thinking, and those who create the little typographic gems that I have discovered which inspire me and are completely unnamed. A few standouts are Herb Lubalin and Kris Sowersby from Klim Type Foundry, based in New Zealand. Bringing typography from New Zealand to the world stage is something we’re all pretty proud of back home.


Do you think you have a design philosophy or methodology? If yes or no what is it?

An idea is at the heart of anything I do. It should be the hero in any point of the process that I undertake – regardless of whether it is at the beginning, middle, or end. It informs how anything I create will function, look, or behave and is a brilliant source of inspiration. Hard work is also a common ingredient in my methodology, as I try to immerse myself fully in whatever I’m working on. Collaboration with others is always a must too, as combined efforts are always more powerful than yours alone.

Now that you have had some time to think about it, what does the award mean to you?

I feel incredibly humbled and honored to be recognized by the TDC alongside some of the most talented designers in the world. Coming from New Zealand, this presents a great opportunity to connect with the international type community.

Instagram: @anthonyjhos

To see the list of all the 2019 Ascenders, click here