Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21
After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.
Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.
Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!
FAIRE TYPE: Sabrina Nacmias & Maxime Gau
Brooklyn, NY & Lyon, France
When did you first learn about Young Guns?
We both went to art school, Sabrina in Brooklyn at Pratt Institute and Maxime in France at ESAD Valence. We started following Young Guns while we were in school, probably sometime around 2014. The creatives winning Young Guns were producing work that was so inspiring to us at a time when we were just starting. It was always a community we aspired to join.
How did you end up in typography?
We started in art school knowing only that we liked to make visual things, and as we went through our respective programs, we each discovered design and fell in love with it. There’s something so nice about visual problem solving. Once we had been working in the graphic design field for a few years, we started to gravitate more towards projects that could be expressed purely through typography. Eventually that led to us getting into type design.
Congrats on the W! Why did you decide to enter this year?
Thank you so much! We've followed Young Guns every year, and we always planned to enter at some point. A few years into our careers we realized we wanted to shift our design practice from graphic design towards type design. Once we knew that, we knew that when we entered Young Guns we wanted our type design work to be what we entered with. Type design is a slow process, and it took us a while to build a type portfolio that we felt really strongly about. After years of working and planning, we were able to launch our type foundry, Faire Type, in January of this year, so it finally felt like the right time to enter. And this also happened to be the last year we were eligible to apply, so we were so excited to see we did it!
You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?
We have a lot of projects we’re proud of, and we’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people. But when we really started to think about what we want to be recognized for, it comes down to type design and letterform experiments. We spent so long thinking about which projects best represent us as designers, and which represent the kind of work we want to continue doing.
What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?
Sabrina: NYC was in the middle of a flash flood. I was working from home, and Maxime was on his way into Manhattan. I called to tell him the news and it went straight to voicemail. He was stuck on a Q train underground for two hours, no service. When he finally got out of the train, the conversation went like this: “Omg two hours underground, are you ok?” “Yeah, I’m alright.” “WE WON YOUNG GUNS!” *collective screaming*
In what ways does your hometown inspire your creativity as an artist? What about your current city?
Maxime: I grew up in France where it’s really normal to spend hours and hours at a table with people just eating, drinking, and talking. There’s a lot of interesting ideas that come when we stop working for a little while and think about other things. Traveling is another way to do this, seeing new places, meeting people you might not have normally had the chance to talk to in your normal life. Living in NYC is also endlessly inspiring. It can be easy to fall into a routine with work and life, especially when things get busy, but this year we’ve been making an effort to go see more lectures, gallery shows, events, and I always come back from those with a lot of creative energy.
Sabrina: I agree! I also find working in a partnership to be really inspiring. We’ve been working together for several years now, and we’ve developed a fluidity to our design process. It’s nice when you get stuck on something you’re working on to be able to ask the other person if they can spend an hour, try some stuff and see where it goes — this back and forth is where a lot of our best work is produced.
Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire? What is it about their work that you love?
Yes! Shoutout to Beatriz Lozano (YG20) who’s making really innovative and killer work. Last Spring Sabrina took her Augmented Reality class in the online school Type Electives and it really sparked her love of AR, and it’s since become a fun part of our practice.
Tre Seals (YG17) is also producing amazing and important typefaces for the design community through his foundry Vocal Type, and we highly recommend everyone go check his stuff out.
And lastly we’d like to shout out our friends at Grilli Type (YG13), who in our opinion have raised the bar for how a type foundry can connect to the design community. And who are also just all around super nice people!
If you could create a new Young Guns tradition, what would you want it to be?
A game night could be fun. A few years ago there was an annual foosball tournament for graphic design teams (WGDFC) and that was always a good time. Would totally attend a Young Guns ping pong tournament for example!
Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!
Maxime: We are both big sports fans, so we’d love to make a custom typeface or help with the branding for a team, league, or a tournament.
"We are both big sports fans, so we’d love to make a custom typeface or help with the branding for a team, league, or a tournament."
Sabrina: Making a custom typeface for a film or tv sequence is a major dream!
This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?
Hopefully we’ll continue to be surrounded by friends and family and working on cool projects with nice people. We’re in our first year right now with our type foundry so Faire Type is for the most part just the two of us with occasional, amazing, outside collaborators. We’d like to imagine that in 10 years Faire Type will be a type foundry with a nice team of people working together on large scale cultural and commercial projects.
Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!