Is Pragtique your first shared project? Who came up with the idea and how long did it take to bring it to life?
Yes, it is. I first had this thought a few years ago but we became serious about it in late 2014 and started to realise it some time in February last year.
Didn’t you worry that ‘souvenirs’ are being discredited by the floods of distasteful shops that offer non-authentic souvenirs?
That was a challenge that motivated us to found our brand. We want to rehabilitate the reputation of souvenirs and give dignity back to them by creating imaginative, graceful, and affordable keepsakes that will make people happy and will remind them of Prague. Prague is a beautiful city and deserves to be represented by beautiful souvenirs.
Do you cooperate with Czech artists only? How do you select them?
We work mostly with Czech artists and the selection process is diverse. All of us work in creative industries – in visual arts, film, design, advertisement, etc. We are surrounded by artists and we enjoy meeting new ones, too. It is an ongoing process and we keep our eyes peeled. If anybody interests us, then we’ll approach them about a collaboration on the theme of Prague. Today, artists also approach us.
What is the proportion of custom-made objects for your shop? Do you plan new collections?
Everything in our shop is custom-made, apart from several books and magazines that we also offer alongside our keepsakes. We certainly do plan new collections; it keeps our adrenalin levels high.
Is it only foreigners who visit Pragtique or is your shop also popular with local people?
Both. We are very happy not to have a shop for tourists only but also for the locals who buy presents for their friends and family here.
Do you bring souvenirs from your travels? What is your favourite?
Of course we do. The thing we are focused on is whether the product is made locally. We don’t like souvenirs made, for example, in China just because they carry a name of the place we visited.
Briefcase is actually kind of a database of high-quality Czech fonts by top-class graphic artists. Have you also had any success abroad?
Definitely! The most recent example of this is the success of the font BC Mikser by designer Filip Kraus, who is also the author of the font Smalt on the new Prague street plates. We have published the font BC Mikser recently and have already managed to win the Communication Arts Magazine 2016 competition with it and gained a space in their typographical yearbook.
Do typographers design fonts tailored to the needs of each ‘patient’, or do they try to design universal fonts for various purposes?
Generally speaking, Briefcase Type Foundry creates only tailored fonts made for a special purpose or event.
Who are your clients and why do they choose fonts from you? Do small businesses also approach you?
We call them patients. Small companies, big companies, women, kids… everybody. The proportion of Czech and foreign clients is equal.
Who designs new fonts in our country today? Are they still the same well-known names or is there a new generation of typographers? Do you design new fonts in your studio, too?
We, in Briefcase, are something like the music group Milli Vanilli; we don’t do anything but everybody thinks we do everything. Fortunately, there have been many new type foundries coming to existence - Superior Type, Heavyweight, Signature Type... and soon there will be others. The flourishing generation of Czech typographers is very noticeable.
Do you think that a good font can be made for free?
There's no such thing as a free lunch.
How do you find the location of your studio in the centre of the Old Town? Do you have any favourite spots in the surrounding area?
It’s great here. UMPRUM, Fišer bookshop, restaurants U Parlamentu, and two Žabkas (convenience stores). There are also a lot of beautiful shops with Russian fur and cut glass. ;)