How I Became a Type Designer

How Do I Start to Become Type Designer From Self-Taught by Wayan Bill Natih

Do you like trying new things? Do you like self-taught? If the answer is “yes,” you can read I Wayan Bill Natih’s experience from his education to his career as a reference.

I, Wayan Bill Natih, am a Type Designer from Bali – Indonesia. The other side of youth really teaches him how to achieve goals with confidence. The journey was long and felt so natural. Time is the best teacher who teaches him to find the goal even though it feels so slow. Starting from junior high school, he didn’t know and didn’t dare to dream of his goals, until he ended his Mechanical Engineering Study because of his Father’s direction. Then he tried various things, from playing traditional Balinese music, being a photo editor, designing t-shirts illustrations, being a failed volleyball athlete, designing custom motorbikes, selling t-shirts wholesale, freelance printing services, working with relatives in the embroidery business. Now he is convinced of his true passion as a Type Designer when he is 31 years old.
Interesting? “hmm not really”, too slow? “yes” hehe. But, this is I Wayan Bill Natih he tells about his life honestly. For him there are things must go through before got the big things.

How was your University time?

This is the most confusing question because my current job is not in line with the education I have completed. A technician is a good job for me, but that was my dad’s version. I had no choice to choose a university because my father really wanted me to become a professional technician. I believe that’s the best future for me, but study engineering for 3 years under direction was strange. I never regretted finishing my mechanical engineering study because, at that time, I had the experience of having a computer in my room. During junior high school and vocational engineering, computer lessons were only a complement; studying at school didn’t Increase my skill; when in college, playing with AutoCAD, 3D, and Adobe Photoshop makes my mind bouncy.

The curriculum never taught me Photoshop; curiosity made me learn it without a teacher, without the internet, only with tutorial books that I borrowed from the campus library. Some suggestions from friends were not working well because they were stingy with their skills. Photos manipulation was the first skill that made me familiar with Adobe Photoshop’s tools. I continued with illustration drawing on Wacom tablets. The most exciting thing was when I won a design competition on my campus. That was cool? “Not yet” because at that time, my goal was split by the desire to achieve more musicians, volleyball athletes, and t-shirt entrepreneurs. Confusing, but that’s what happened in my life; I am not a thinker; t live and pass my days as they are.

Why did you choose a career in this field?

Long story short, I built a vintage workspace named Balibilly Design Studio, located in Canggu – Bali, My studio in a row with a coffee shop, bar, restaurants, and close to Berawa Beach. Here I design anything and produced t-shirts, print media, and anything I do base on my client’s wishes. What is my niche as a graphic designer? “I don’t know” all designs I have done are various, from logo design, illustration, product design, custom motorcycle design, and much more. Then, Niche’s question was answered when I joined the type foundry community Bali Stock Designer in November 2019. The community embraced me and opened my mind about how to create and sell typefaces in the marketplace. I started to try, learn, discuss typography, buy books, join courses, and prepare font software. This is fun; why? Because creating typeface saves me from client deadlines, lengthy revisions, and neck-grabbing price bargains.

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I feel free to work without pressure and sell it to people around the world. This is my big dream, and this is Balibilly Design, now I confidently say I am a Type Designer. One of my typefaces that I named “Kage” became popular on MyFonts.com in September 2020, sales from Kage exceeded my expectations. Is this a coincidence? “I don’t think so.” This is the actual path that I am walking on; this is the achievement of my doubts over the years. I believe in working wholeheartedly will lead me to places I haven’t thought of before; it doesn’t matter what my background or what my original goals were; live the day and do what can be done; that’s it. Simple? “Yes, of course.” Now I work well in small team structures, versatile, organized, focused, and committed to producing typefaces.

What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?

I have never worked at a design company or agency that hires graphic designers. My certificate will never allow me to apply for a job as a graphic designer. My first experience was an unpaid job, unfortunate. Self-taught skills make me reluctant to sell my artwork, I don’t know how to determine the value, and unfortunately, my clients (in this case, they are my friends) are also unaware of how to pay for my work. Only thank you for my artwork.

I make my designs into products, such as t-shirts, invitation cards, banners that have a definite selling value. It continued until I had enough capital to build a studio and complete my device. I still felt the awkwardness in determining price until I got clients from large companies. It was sad, but I took a lot of positive things from there until I started to feel confident about the minimum price of my job at that time, and now that’s not happening anymore because I got to this time with proper results. I consider it was the school fee that I have to pay if I went to a graphic school. Yes, maybe… that’s just on my mind.

All those things may have happened, and I have been through. I will say that’s what brought me to be a type of designer now. Even though my foundry is not big yet, however, it will grow up. Just live it, and no one will know what will happen next.

Advice for someone looking for a job?

For me, a job does not need to be sought; just by knowing your potential, persevere, do it wholeheartedly, then the money will come to you. Our orientation at work is indeed money, but patience and adjusting the earning rhythm will lead you to a proper income. Keep designing! Unconsciously you will meet other goals that are actually your true passion.

Also read: How I Became a Graphic Designer and Self-Published Author

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