Assorted Type

Experiments in drawing letters

Ivan Ruiz-Knott Type Design

Writeup by Ivan

My first time seriously playing with type design was out of need. My studio was redesigning the global identity system for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the project required a solution for typesetting the name in hundreds of different languages.

As far as global redesigns go, it was a very low-budget project, so commissioning a custom, multi language typeface was way out of the question. So I went about learning how to make some slight modifications to a few cuts of Noto, Google’s then-recently released type system covering more than 900 languages.

A few years later I got into type design in earnest, reading extensively, going through online courses, learning the tooling, and discovering the pleasure of pushing and pulling positive and negative space—of playing with form and optical corrections. I have learned enough to have immense respect and envy for professional type designers, and to enjoy being an amateur.

Currently I’m enrolled in Practica Two, working on refining and expanding RK Serif.


Zero was the first full font I designed, building off an extreme axis. I leaned heavily into the weirdness, partially to make something with a lot of character and partially to mask my inexperience with the finer subtleties of type design.

There are a lot of ways to classify typefaces, but two major classifications into which most type can divided are display faces—ones meant to be seen large—and text faces—ones meant to be readable at length. Papyrus and Comic Sans? Display faces. Times New Roman and Helvetica? Text faces. On the whole I find display faces much more fun to design, and easier to pull off.


Suits came soon after—a custom display face for the Ruiz & Knott identity. Designed to feel a little top heavy, the goal with this was make the letters feel a little bit like kids wearing suits. Something playfully serious.

Because I overthink things I’ve tried to figure out why I like drawing type. There are so many good fonts already out there. There are so many typefaces that are far better than any I could ever create, both in terms of originality and functionality. This is a tremendously professionalized industry and what can any hobbyist contribute to it? The best I’ve been able to figure is that I just enjoy making them, in much the same way I suspect that people enjoy making food from scratch. There’s a satisfaction to having made the ingredients that, as a graphic designer, I usually just buy.


Santitas was named after a bag of chips. It started with the lowercase A, with the other letters borrowing the pinched join motif. I used it as a text face on this website before replacing it with RK Sans.

RK Serif

RK Serif was designed specifically as a text face—a way to challenge myself to make something subtle and functional.

Something fun about making fonts is that I am impatient and rarely systematic, so at some point I just start using them on things and quickly discover all the poor kerning and missing characters. And because a single character is rather quick to design, I find myself slowly building out the font as needed.


Strokes is a font I designed for use with Penelope, the pen plotter Livvy and I co-own with Norton. Most fonts are constructed as closed shapes, with volume to those shapes, whereas fonts for pen plotters (and CNC machines, etc.) need stroke fonts, with unclosed paths.

Strokes in use

Here is Penelope using Strokes to write a letter to a friend.


This was a font designed for a very specific use: a 64 x 32 pixel LED display called Tidbyt. First imagined for use in a custom clock app, it was designed to use up as much space as possible for four characters.

Audio Serif

Audio Serif is a display font I worked on during Practica One, based on a custom wordmark proposed (and rejected) for a client project at my studio.

Site designed and developed in-house by Ivan & Livvy. Project managed with Notion and Slack. Screens designed in Figma. Custom fonts “Suits”, “RK Sans”, “RK Serif”, and “RK Mono” designed in Glyphs. Hosted with Netlify, managed with Contentful, built with Gatsby, styled with Tailwind. A work in progress. Site version 1.1.
© 2014–2023 Ruiz & Knott