Wayne Thompson – Typography Designer

Wayne was born in 1967 in Wollongong, NSW. The son of a coal mine manager and a registered nurse, he spent his early childhood in various Hunter Valley mining towns such as Singleton and Kurri Kurri. The youngest of five brothers, Wayne was lucky enough to experience adventure and a freedom of movement unlikely in today’s more cautious society. These included long days riding motorbikes in the bush, crawchy fishing in muddy ponds and chasing snakes, echidnas and frill-neck lizards. It also included riding to school through a cemetery and disused quarries, and occasionally fighting small bushfires.

At the age of ten Wayne’s family moved to Lake Macquarie, where he traded his westie flannos for wetsuits, and spent the bulk of his teenage years sailing and windsurfing, culminating in two appearances at the Windsurfer World Championships in 1985 and 1989.

Wayne was interested in art from an early age and drew obsessively. His drawings were cartoony in style, and concentrated on fictional animals and cars. Wayne also became interested in writing and publishing, producing a single copy of a hand-written comic at the age of 13, which reached an audience no wider than his immediate family.

Around this time, Wayne’s life changed course when his father brought home some old art supplies from the commercial art studio of a relative who had just died. Among the supplies was a 1977 Letraset catalogue and some rub-down lettering. Wayne immediately became fascinated with type and could often be found hand-painting imitations of Bottleneck and Dynamo on pieces of wood he found under the house.

After high school, Wayne studied Communications at university, and around this time discovered it was possible to do graphic design for a living. He began to do free jobs for friends and family, eventually landing a job in a small graphic art studio. From there, during the 1990s, he moved on to advertising agencies, where he rose to the position of Art Director.

During this time in agency-land Wayne became increasingly aware that, despite the wide variety of typefaces available, he was unable to find suitable type for many jobs. So he began to draw his own. With the advent of the internet and digital type foundries, he decided to start marketing his typefaces via his own business, Australian Type Foundry, which he launched in 2001.

Since then, Wayne has continued to design his own typefaces, which now number well over 100, and has collaborated on many custom-type projects for corporate clients both nationwide and overseas.

Wayne lives and works in Newcastle, NSW. He is married with a 12 year-old son, three cats named Ernest, Margot and Desmond K. Stripey, and likes to drink coffee while staring at the ocean.

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