Taking typography into the mainstream and mixing it with his love of hip hop, Jay Roeder is one to watch.

Do you view yourself as an artist, typographer or graphic designer?
Hmm, is “graphic-artistographer” an option? I’d consider myself an artist at heart, who’s pursuing graphic design with a focus on typography. In other words – all of the above!

What first interested you about typography?
I have always had an interest in typography and more specifically: hand drawn type. Having worked in the design industry for a while, I always had to sketch my ideas to sell them in. Drawing type lockups and different fonts really honed my skills throughout the years, without me even knowing it. On a side note, I’ve always found the imperfection of hand lettering to be extremely appealing which is why I try to always embrace the imperfections – erasing is overrated!

When do you think you found your style?
Being a perfectionist, it was not until I learned to accept the crooked lines, misaligned type and illegibility, that my lettering took on interest and character. As odd as it seems, creating these imperfections is as much of a craft as striving for perfection. Don’t be afraid to screw things up, because it might be more interesting that way!

Where do you get ideas for your typography pieces?
I pull my inspiration from everywhere, which a lot of times has to do with music, art and culture. I have a list in my iPhone of never ending thoughts and phrases that I plan to draw – all inspired by my every day life. To be specific, I always tend to come back to hip hop, retro technology, boomboxes, Nintendos and tape cassettes, that kind of stuff. It’s very cool to look back on my daily drawings because it tells a story, almost like a visual diary.

What inspired you to illustrate the entire lyrics to ‘Juicy’?
A few years ago I was in the Philadelphia and saw a “T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape” T-shirt. That shirt told me that almost any lyric from the song ‘Juicy’ could be taken out of context and still be recognised. Feeling inspired, I decided to focus on what I felt was Biggie’s most iconic song and my personal favorite: ‘Juicy’.

Besides Graffiti, the art linked to hip hop is often overlooked. Do you agree?
I think artwork that is linked to hip hop has traditionally been overlooked, but not for long. As younger generations grow older that stigma will change if it hasn’t already. I guess it depends on who you ask. I think the younger generations definitely have an appreciation for it. Hip hop related artwork is here to stay, so get used to it people!

This is an extract from the Summer 14 Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.

New Issue

Subscribe to the Viper Newsletter for the latest news, events and offers

Top Stories