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by lohit arora  |  June 14, 2023

Creativity Without Boundaries: Typography Expert Clint Hutzulak Reveals How He Has Mastered His Artistic Book Layouts

Clint Hutzulak

Meet Clint Hutzulak – a graphic design professional based in Vancouver, Canada, with over 30 years of experience as a Creative Director. From humble beginnings designing posters for nightclubs and poetry readings in the mid-1980s, Clint’s career took off when he landed his first major contract with an international jazz festival. Throughout his successful career, Clint has remained loyal to QuarkXPress, a “typography powerhouse” he has used for many years.

In this Q&A, he shares his professional journey, his favourite design projects and offers practical advice for those starting their careers in design and digital publishing. So, let’s dive in!

How did you get started in graphic design and what was your journey to becoming a Creative Director?

While at university in the mid-1980s studying creative writing and literature, I started organizing poetry readings, for which posters were needed. These were done on a 1-bit Apple computer (pre-greyscale monitors) using MacPaint. A friend suggested I get a job at the graphics shop at the student union, where I designed posters for nightclubs and worked on student newspapers and magazines and the occasional book cover.

Eventually clients started coming to me directly, and my first big contract was for the International Jazz Festival, which I did for a decade or so. That in turn led to all my contacts in the arts and publishing and eventually government, universities and commercial clients.

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What is it about graphic design that you enjoy the most?

Every day is an adventure. I’m always looking for new types of work I haven’t done before. Learning new software, and developing new systems, keeps it fresh and exciting (with a generous dollop of stress).

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Can you tell us about a design project you’ve worked on in the last 1-2 years that you are especially proud of?

Books for artists are always a pleasure. One of these is a career survey of the artist Sandra Meigs, with lots of her super colourful and playful images to work with. The accompanying book-length essay comes with the layout challenge of pull quotes, captions and footnotes.

The other images are from a series of small books about artists associated with the University of Victoria. I proposed making four small chapbooks, each of different sizes, which were delivered as a box set. Typography and design reflects the eras and technology associated with the various artists.

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What are some of the top challenges in graphic design and how does QuarkXPress help you overcome them?

You have to work fast. Sometimes I’ve had to design six book covers in a week, each requiring 3 – 5 options, so 20 – 30 unique book cover designs in total. That’s springtime in the publishing world. QuarkXPress allows me to design and iterate quickly.

Can you tell us why you love using QuarkXPress and how it differs from other software?

QuarkXPress has retained its edge in typography and book layout over the decades. I have QuarkXPress documents that date back to the 1980s, and it’s great to be still working with the same tool. (The other tool I still have at hand is the Xacto knife I used to cut ruby lith and line tape with in the 1980s.)

Quark has retained its edge in typography and book layout over the decades.

Having been a loyal customer for over three decades, it would be great to hear your perspective on how QuarkXPress has evolved over time?

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QuarkXPress has always been a typography powerhouse, and text handling keeps improving. I’m really happy to be able to work natively with right-to-left languages at last. Tech support has improved a lot over the last couple of years (there were some dark days in the 1990s and early 2000s).

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I’m really happy to be able to work natively with right-to-left languages at last.

Is there any feature or capability that you can’t live without? And why is that?

Badia Software’s BigPicture XTension is an essential. It was updated for compatibility with the latest version of QuarkXPress, after a month of hobbling along without it.

What advice would you offer somebody who is very early in their design and digital publishing career?

Take chances on projects you don’t know how to do: you can figure it out as you go. If you don’t keep it challenging and interesting, you’ll burn out. (Contact me if you can’t figure it out.) Use stylesheets. And no detail is too small to pay attention to.

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Thanks for reading! You can find and connect with Clint on here. We’d love to hear from you, so let us know what you liked or what you would like to read more of in this series? And, if you would like to be featured in an upcoming post, get in touch! Contact us at qxpsales@quark.com

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