past event

Open studio

Wednesday 12 Sep 2018

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Join type designer Kris Sowersby and current designer-in-residence Johnson Witehira for a lunchtime open studio and informal discussion at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wednesday 12 September, 11­–2pm. 

As long-time collaborators, the pair will discuss approaches to and methods of typeface design, beginning with a discussion in response to letterforms designed by Witehira. Following this, Sowersby will demonstrate processes of typeface drawing in software, including the basics of setting up a design file and working on letterforms.

All are welcome to this open studio, which is free to attend as part of A working week—a series of consecutive one-week residencies and accompanying public programmes at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, September 10–29, 2018. Visitors are welcome to come and go throughout the discussion and demonstration.


Kris Sowersby studied at Whanganui School of Design and worked briefly as a graphic designer before founded The Klim Type Foundry (Klim) in 2005. His typefaces combine historical knowledge with rigorous contemporary workmanship, and are used internationally in analogue and digital media.

Since releasing his first retail typeface, Feijoa, in 2007, Kris has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Certificate of Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club for his second typeface, National, in 2007; being named an ADC Young Gun in 2010; being accepted as a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (the second New Zealander to do so) in 2013; and receiving the John Britten Black Pin in 2015, the highest award given by the Designers Institute of New Zealand. Kris has designed custom fonts for such clients as The Financial Times, PayPal and National Geographic. Klim sells its typefaces directly through and is based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Johnson Witehira (Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), Ngā Puhi (Ngai-tū-te-auru), Ngāti Haua and New Zealand European) is an artist, designer and Lecturer in Communication Design at Auckland University of Technology. He completed a doctorate in Māori Design at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi (School of Maori Studies, Massey University) in 2013. In his thesis, “Tārai Kōrero Toi: Articulating a Māori Design Language,” Witehira developed a platform for contemporary Māori design practice through the exploration of traditional carving. Witehira has contributed to projects and exhibitions at ST PAUL St Gallery, The Suter Art Gallery, Pātaka and City Gallery Wellington, as well as public art projects for Wellington City Council.