“Affording distinction to many companies and delight to many more individuals”. That is how Javier Vila defines his profession, “one of the best in the world” the calligrapher asserts. A statement that takes on real meaning when we discover a little of his history. Even as a boy, Javier was horrified by the idea of having poor handwriting, and engaged in a tireless pursuit of the perfect ‘G’.
In the school playground he could be found discussing such unlikely topics as the most correct way to write the letter ‘A’. His destiny, then, was inevitable, and his passion for letters and their forms took on greater meaning when he began his studies in graphic design and calligraphy in Barcelona, and later in New York.
He says that he now spends 90% of his time on calligraphy, and aside from the odd visit to the osteopath to correct poor postural habits, Javier Vila boasts true love for his profession. His speciality is protocol calligraphy, but he continues to train in fields such as graphology, loves giving calligraphy classes, and above all is ceaselessly in pursuit of examples to follow and new ideas. When faced with a commission, he simply settles himself down with his writing implements, puts on a little jazz or classical music, and puts pen to paper. Sometimes at the weekend, or even at night. “I work better” he assures us, without interference from telephones or noise. A routine that he enjoys even when time is pressing and a deadline looms. He has never, though, failed to fulfil a production schedule.
Punctuality, if nothing else, is a matter of pride with him. “If I am told that I will be sent 800 invitations, I consider the job, make a clear calculation and give a delivery date. And from that moment on, the date is set in stone”. As is his confidentiality, since he handles the details of millions of people, including celebrities and politicians that would serve “to create one of the best databases in the country”. He even recalls having access to information about the president of the USA. His professional practice in some cases is always to destroy the lists once the commission is complete, “like in a spy film,” he laughs.
His is a solitary job, in which patience and discipline must be combined with excellent techniques, huge typographical knowledge, and enough individual style to be able to convey emotions. “You are writing thousands of envelopes and invitations a year, or numbering thousands of books. Unless that excites you it could be really tedious, but for me it is relaxing, and very gratifying”. Jaime’s typical customers are looking for palpable distinction, an added value that conveys elegance and sophistication in cards, invitations, envelopes… an aura of craftsmanship that cannot be achieved any other way. A profile that ranges from leading fashion houses to the most demanding brides, who entrust the announcement of their wedding to Jaime Vila. It is a job in which the excellence of the end product is also dependent on the savoir-faire of the partner, which is why any collaboration between SYL and this outstanding calligrapher is always a pleasure. At our printing house, he typically handles the numbering of collector’s books, “unique pieces that are themselves true works of art, and of which I always feel proud,” he asserts.
To follow Javier Vila’s work, visit www.javigrafia.com