About the TypeCon2012 Program

Something is brewing in Milwaukee. From July 31st through August 5th, dozens of the brightest names in type and design will share their knowledge and skills, exploring topics such as: the library of the future; Marshall McLuhan and design; vernacular lettering; identity development with students; Cherokee syllabary; South American beer labels; the changing world of font licensing; stories from the Monotype archives; Mayan writing reform; responsive web fonts; press checks in the web age; creative pangramming; optimizing typefaces for the cockpit; wood type galore; and so much more.

Special events include the seventh annual Type & Design Education Forum, the eleventh edition of the always entertaining Type Crit, plus the international TypeGallery2012 exhibition. Workshops, presentations, panel discussions, networking events, tours, and social gatherings will form a typographic adventure that will inspire you for years to come!

This information is subject to change.

Tuesday, July 31st

5:30pm – 7:30pm

Wednesday, August 1st

9:00am – 4:30pm

10:00am – 11:00am

5:30pm – 7:30pm

8:00pm – 9:30pm

Thursday, August 2nd

9:00am – 6:00pm

9:00am – 4:30pm

7:30pm – 9:00pm

Friday, August 3rd

Main Program

8:00am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

8:30am

  • Opening Remarks

8:40am

  • From The Monotype Archives
    Daniel Rhatigan
    Monotype Imaging’s UK office, based on the same site as the company’s former factory in Salfords, Surrey, holds a rarely seen stockpile of typographic history: the complete archives of British Monotype’s drawing office, documenting its activities from 1897 onwards. Taking a look at an assortment of original artwork, master pattern drawings of the typefaces, technical documentation, and other ephemera from this archive, this presentation will show how a close look at the details of primary-source material reveals many layers of stories about the development of type in the 20th century.

9:25am

  • Inside Paragraphs
    Cyrus Highsmith
    A paragraph of printed text is where typography started from. Since then typography has evolved in all sorts of directions, some times leaving printing behind entirely. However, understanding what goes on inside a paragraph of printed text is still a solid foundation for strong typographic education. With this in mind, Cyrus Highsmith wrote the book, Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals. It explains what goes on inside a paragraph of text, including how type works, how we read, and how the typographer works with different kinds of space within a paragraph. In this presentation, he will explain how and why he did it.

10:05am

10:30am

  • Type in 20:
    The Vista Sans Wood Type Project

    Ashley John Pigford & Tricia Treacy
    The Vista Sans Wood Type Project is a highly collaborative and experimental pursuit involving the creation of wood type of the Vista Sans typeface with a purpose-built CNC router and the dissemination of this type to the studios of 21 international artists, designers, printmakers, and letterpress operators with the intention of creating 38 sets of prints reflective of the post-digital and multidisciplinary nature of contemporary, collaborative artistic practice. Each participant received five letters of the same word: “touch” and 50 sheets of paper.

10:50am

  • Type in 20:
    What’s Our Vector Victor? Optimizing Typefaces for Cockpit Navigation

    Steve Matteson
    The history of cartography is a vast and complex story of calligraphy, illustration, iconography, typography, and now GPS technology. From Ptolemey’s famous “Geographia” written in the year 150 AD to OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation the once sacred art of cartography can be enjoyed on any family vacation from the seat of a rental car. However, aircraft pilots still lumber aboard jumbo jets carrying a suitcase full of paper approach charts, maps and other critical information about their flight plan. Steve Matteson worked with an industry leading producer of aviation charts as they adapted typefaces to best display this complex information on screen and print. The resulting comparative readability studies involving professional pilots produced satisfying evidence for improved performance in next generation aviation charts. Heads up display panels, tablet computers and iPads are the future of aviation and this project was a large step in advancing safety and accuracy in cockpit navigation.

11:10am

  • Type in 20:
    25 Years of German Typefaces, and the Revivals Still With Us

    Dan Reynolds
    Around 1890, as Industrial Design formed into a profession, German foundries began hiring external artists to create their new typefaces, instead of developing these in-house. By 1914, the type design profession was established. A virtual Schriftmania seems to have arisen: not only was new type more popular with printers than ever, but calligraphy was added to art school curricula, and the Blackletter/Roman question was even debated in parliament. Today, we still use several designs from this period, including Akzidenz-Grotesk, Korinna, and Venus. Other gems are due for a comeback, like Nordische Antiqua or Breite Grotesk (FF Bau).

11:35am

  • Filing a Historical Blank: A Conspectus of Nineteenth & Twentieth Century Wood Type
    David Shields
    This proposal for a main conference program presentation would report on the current state of my research project, the Conspectus of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Wood Type. The new body of research grows out of my previous work cataloging the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection. The substantial work of correcting and updating the inadequate or inaccurate historical information for the types in the Collection has provided the groundwork for this much larger and more ambitious project. Initial phases of the work on the Conspectus include expanding the existing bibliography of known wood type specimen catalogs, indexing the contents of the specimen books and greatly expanding the known wood type manufacturers of the 20th century.

12:15pm

  • Lunch Break

2:00pm

  • Engraving and Type, A Beautiful but Somewhat Dysfunctional Relationship
    Nancy Sharon Collins
    This presentation will explore a chronology of how commercial engravers have interacted with more traditional typographic communities — such as type foundries and publishing houses — and how these relationships are mutually beneficial. Examples will include: Introduction to Hart Engraving — how a small engraving press currently functions; the process through which Steve Matteson and Terrance Weinzierl, Monotype Imaging, created two fonts from historic engravers’ lettering styles; how digital media exponentially changed the technology, and appearance, of legal stationery and branding; how, according to the 1923 American Type Founders Company catalog, ATF blatantly copied traditional engravers’ styles to stimulate new markets. Mr and Mrs Brian Hart own and operate Hart Engraving, the third generation Milwaukee engraving press founded by Brian’s grandparents almost a century ago. Brian will talk about the challenges of maintaining a small engraving company, and demonstrate a hundred year old engraving proofing press that he can continue to operate at various times throughout the conference.

2:50pm

  • Type in 20:
    H&FJ’s Landmark: Discoveries in Creating Inline and Dimensional Type

    Erin McLaughlin
    How do you kern an invisible letter? What happens when shadows overlap? How do you inline-ify an outline? This presentation will highlight the unexpected amount of tears, trickery, and trompe l’oeil involved in creating “Landmark”, a new typeface release by Hoefler & Frere-Jones. Regular, inline, shadow, and dimensional — four well-known approaches in display type, which were finely tweaked to improve upon the results of purely mathematical extrusions. For example: Weight issues with legal symbols and other small characters; alterations to overshoots and shadow direction angles; creating .alt versions of letters to eliminate shadow overlap problems.

3:10pm

  • Type in 20:
    Harmonization versus Standardization: The Case of Air Inuit

    Jean-Baptiste Levée
    Air Inuit is an airline company operating in the Canadian Great North. In 2011, a rebranding was initiated that implied the design of a custom typeface family. The Air Inuit rebranding project started with the following question: how to communicate efficiently in three languages and two scripts? How to preserve cultural sensibilities whilst retaining the essential need for consistency? during this presentation, various aspects of a multicultural typeface design project will be equally discussed: brief analysis, client relationships, work process, tryouts, failures, and successes.

3:30pm

  • Coffee Break
    Sponsored by Typekit

3:30pm

  • Book Signing: Cyrus Highsmith
    Cyrus will be available outside the SOTA store to sign copies of his book Inside Paragraphs.

3:50pm

  • Oz Cooper: Fitting In
    Ian Lynam
    The presentation is on the life and work of Oswald Bruce Cooper, the designer of Cooper Black and many other popular American typefaces. The presentation will highlight a large amount of Cooper’s development for his typefaces including a wide array of early sketches and press proofs, little-known history about his life, and wrap it all up in cultural context that helps to place Cooper as a designer, writer and educator in the continuum of American proto-Modernism. This will all be backed up by a wide variety of images of little-seen work of Cooper’s.

4:40pm

  • SOTA Catalyst Award Presentation
    The Society of Typographic Aficionados will present Niko Skourtis with the 2012 SOTA Catalyst Award for his achievements and future promise in the field of typography. Niko will provide a presentation of his work, entitled Typograph. The result of his undergraduate graphic design thesis at California College of the Arts, Typograph is an interactive database cataloging thirty years of typography. Typograph presents each typeface that appears in the Type Directors Club annuals and their frequency through various interactive platforms that offer perspective, insight, and context. They range from an interactive chart that displays hard data for each typeface, a dynamic image-based timeline to view the type in context over the years, to a visual built with Processing that offers a more atmospheric overview on the past thirty years of typography.

5:00pm

  • Sneak Peek: The Sign Painter Movie
    Stick around after the Catalyst Award presentation for a preview of The Sign Painter Movie. This independently produced documentary film co-directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon is due for release later this year.

Evening Event

8:30pm – 10:00pm

Saturday, August 4th

Main Program

8:00am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

8:30am

  • Opening Remarks

8:40am

  • Bustani: A Classic Arabic Typeface with Calligraphic Features
    Patrick Giasson & Kamal Mansour
    Early in the twentieth century, Amiryyah Press in Cairo was esteemed in the Arab world. Its Naskh typeface, rich in repertoire, was considered a paragon of Arabic text typography. Inspired by this model, we set out to create a new typeface that pays tribute to it while surpassing its hot-metal limitations. We labored to create Bustani, a font that is fluid and rich in calligraphic forms, yet still directly useable in OpenType-compliant applications. Bustani offers calligraphic Naskh style to a broad range of users, while staying within the bounds of pragmatic typography.

9:25am

  • Learning To Design The Cherokee Syllabary
    Mark Jamra
    A presentation about the issues and questions that arise when designing non-alphabetic forms that lie outside a designer’s experience. How do the history, function and particulars of the Cherokee syllabary affect a type designer’s understanding of typographic communication? Do any of the characteristics of the contemporary, multi-font family actually apply to a syllabary with such a unique history and purpose? This will be a personal account of the lessons being learned from a challenging project that’s leading to new typographic forms for this particular language.

10:05am

  • Coffee Break
    Sponsored by MyFonts

10:30am

  • Type in 20:
    HTML5 Enabled: Responsive Web Fonts

    Craig Kroeger
    With great power, comes great responsibility. This presentation will explore how a mobile first, responsive web design approach can be enhanced with web fonts. Topics to be covered include flexible grids, media queries, and web font deployment options. Focus will be placed on type optimized for mobile devices.

10:50am

  • Type in 20:
    PersonaType: Living Type Specimens

    Amy Papaelias
    PersonaType: Living Type Specimens is an experiment in web typography that makes auditory and visible the emotive qualities of type. Through the magical wizardry of web fonts, CSS3 animation and a few sweet jQuery plugins, these “living” type specimens allow users to watch/listen to text speak/move, demonstrating the personified characteristics of a typeface. The project serves as an experimental prototype to model future methods for exploring the kinetic experience of web fonts, screen readers and voice recognition software. This presentation will include an explanation of the process for developing the site, a live demonstration of the PersonaType website and participation from a brave audience member to “record a specimen”.

11:10am

  • Type in 20:
    Press Checks in the Age of Web Type

    Erik Vorhes
    With the proliferation of webfonts over the past few years, the demands on web designers have increased. Instead of having a handful of typefaces from which to choose, a designer is faced with thousands of options, from more than a dozen sources. While this embarrassment of riches feels like the best thing to happen to web design since embedded images, not all webfonts are created equal. A wrong choice can doom a design. This presentation will discuss the challenges that webfonts present designers and web users and offer a practical approach to prevent the worst of them.

11:35am

  • Mongolian Script: From Metal Type to Digital Font
    Jo De Baerdemaeker
    This presentation introduces De Baerdemaeker’s postdoctoral research project at the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading (UK). De Baerdemaeker’s research investigates the development of Mongolian writing practices and printing types, adopting a methodology tested in his work on Tibetan typeforms, and offers practice-oriented guidance for the design and development of new digital fonts for the Mongolian script. He will clarify the main objectives of the project and will highlight the descriptive framework that he developed for communicating about Mongolian typefaces. The talk will be supported by original and rare material especially collected for the project’s database.

12:15pm

  • Lunch Break

2:00pm

  • Type in 20:
    My Type of Beer

    Rafael Díaz & Ketty Miranda
    Beer has always been the most consumed drink in Colombia. Today, it’s a huge part of its collective identity; even to those who don’t drink it. It’s an important part of celebrations and sports; being a major sponsor of both. Bavaria, the nation’s biggest industrial brewery, is also the oldest and most influential company in Colombia. Through a tour along its beer labels, the recent history of a country and its people emerges. From the first signed and hand-drawn label of Bavaria Bogota, to the Helvetica-only designs of Bogota Beer Company.

2:20pm

  • Type in 20:
    The Daily Pangram

    Craig Eliason
    “Type designers just love a-z idioms like ‘the quick brown fox…’” That sentence not only describes pangrams, but is a pangram itself, as it contains every letter of the alphabet. Pangrams have long been a useful tool for testing or exhibiting typefaces. In 2008 Craig Eliason began authoring original pangrams and publishing them every weekday on his Daily Pangram blog, which in January hit number 1,000 and is still going. Eliason will explain some of the history of the pangram, give a behind-the-scenes look at the Daily Pangram, and share some of his favorites from over four years of pangrams.

2:45pm

  • Kickstarter Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Thomas Phinney (Cristoforo)
    Panel: Jeremy Dooley (Chatype), Marcelo Magalhães Pereira (Londrino/Folk), Matt Griffin (Letterpress Wood Type Fonts), Ajay Surie (Google Web Fonts)

    Are we witnessing the rise of a new model of funding font development? Many type designers have tried Kickstarter to “crowdsource” font funding; we can learn from their collective experience. How does it work? Does it work for type design? What are the main factors in successfully funding a typeface? Why do some succeed and others fail? How important has been the backing of Google Web Fonts, and how has Kickstarter worked for proprietary (rather than open source) fonts? How will it impact the financial and aesthetic future of type design? Thomas explains Kickstarter and discusses the results of his surveys and interviews; the panel discusses their Kickstarter font funding experiences and what they learned.

3:55pm

  • Coffee Break
    Sponsored by Frank Martinez

4:15pm

  • Type in 20:
    Rea Irvin: The Forgotten Face of the New Yorker

    Emily Gordon
    From its debut issue in 1925, The New Yorker’s striking typeface and graphical covers were as much the magazine’s signature as its witty and sophisticated prose. Thank Rea Irvin, the magazine’s first art editor, a seasoned bon vivant who educated founding editor Harold Ross about art, designed monocled mascot Eustace Tilley, and drew hundreds of covers (many of which featured playful type treatments) and illustrations. As for the oft-pirated “Irvin type” — so iconic it’s an instant stand-in for High Class — it has a backstory that spans continents, art forms, and centuries, and puts Irvin in a fascinating new light.

4:35pm

  • Type in 20:
    McLuhan, Fuller & Fiore: An Inventory of Electric Information

    Scott Boms
    Considered to be one of the great thinkers of the last century and “the oracle of the internet age”, McLuhan’s work is often cited as being almost incomprehensible to anyone outside the academic world. But when viewed through the lens of the artist and the designer, his writing, supported by a unique group of collaborators, including designer Quentin Fiore, designer/artist Harley Parker, and poet Wilfred Watson, is carried to another level. While none of his books were directly about design, they have largely become inseparable from it. This brief talk will explore how a cinematic, mosaic approach around McLuhan’s writing transformed often confusing and opaque concepts into international best-sellers, and ushered in an entirely new category of books.

5:00pm

  • SOTA Typography Award Presentation
    The Society of Typographic Aficionados will present the 2012 SOTA Typography Award to this year’s recipient.

Evening Event

8:30pm – 11:00pm

Sunday, August 5th

Main Program

8:30am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

9:15am

  • Opening Remarks

9:25am

  • Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum Presentation
    Bill Moran & Jim Moran
    Our talk will encompass wood type design and it’s relationship to the historical processes used to manufacture it. Beginning with Darius wells in 1828 and culminating with Hamilton Wood Type’s rare 1906 specimen book we’ll trace the development and aesthetics of wood type design. We’ll also examine the design modifications made by subsequent type makers who regularly stole patterns from each other. Finally we’ll discuss the demise of the company that was once Hamilton Manufacturing. Showing the last of the Hamilton employees and a heritage of craftspeople in Two Rivers, Wisconsin that goes back five generations.

10:05am

10:30am

  • Type in 20:
    Before the Circus Came To Town: The Prairie Print Shop of Andrew King

    Gillian Mothersill
    From seeding until harvest early 20th century Canadian farmers hoped that their crops would prosper. Although farm life was busy, summer entertainments such as the arrival of the circus were highly valued. Before the Circus Came to Town looks at the growth of a prairie printer in the small town of Rouleau, Saskatchewan (known as “Dog River” in CTV’s television show “Corner Gas”. Andrew King’s print shop became a central point for printing circus posters for many north American venues. This presentation will describe life in the print shop and explore the speaker’s family connection to Andrew King.

10:50am

  • Type in 20:
    Custom Stop

    Antonio Cavedoni
    From fast cars to Star Trek, Stop by Aldo Novarese is a typeface one can’t forget. Under those future-of-the-past shapes lies the perfect logo-making machine — by design. But what makes it so successful? Why is it such a ubiquitous and universal design? Unlock the secrets of the Custom Stop, let it guide you to a galaxy far, far away…

11:10am

  • Type in 20:
    Perception of Typefaces: A Quantitative Visual Methodology

    Beth Koch
    There are virtually no rules to empirically interpret the meaning inherent in typeface designs — people intuitively decipher typefaces (Van Leeuwen, 2005). Terminology, methods, and scales used in typeface perception research have been inconsistent. Recent scientific findings provided evidence about the role of emotion in visual processing, suggesting an alternative approach for design research. An animated interactive survey, PrEmo™, validated in product emotion research (Desmet, 2002) was adopted to collect emotion response to typeface samples. Paired t-Tests (α=.05) compared one typeface design’s features to another. The resulting quantitative approach proved a successful method for evaluating emotion response to visual design features.

11:35am

  • Mayan Writing Reform
    Steve Ross
    An estimated 7.5 million Maya currently inhabit southern Mexico and Central America, and approximately 2 million of these speak Mayan languages. As a people, the Maya remain alive and well, although they will be forever linked to the grandeur of their ancient civilisation. One of the Maya’s greatest accomplishments was the original logosyllabic writing system the employed to record their ancient history. At the time of conquest, however, the use of such writing was forbidden, (nearly) all recorded histories were burned, and the Maya were forced to adopt the Latin alphabet to write their own language. This presentation aims to provide an analysis of both hieroglyphic and alphabetic writing systems, and also the crucial bridging process that permitted such a switch. This process remains one of the least studied facets of Maya research, and provides crucial insight into the current state of the written Mayan languages. Analyzing both social context and both writing systems will provide attendees with a greater appreciation of the magnitude of this writing reform.

12:15pm

  • Lunch Break

12:45pm

1:30pm

  • Type in 20:
    Tablets and Their Typographic Challenges

    Ricardo Martins
    Tablet devices have forced designers to “MKE A SHIFT” in the way they think about the layout and typography. In the printed matter, pages flow side by side. In tablets, they flow vertically. In print, the designer fully controls the final layout. In tablets, the user is who gives the last word. So, what are the implications for the design and typography? Liquid layouts? Liquid type? Parallax scrolling and text independent of the background? The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the challenges that the publication in tablets brings to typography. And how we could think less about limitations in digital layout and focus more on typographic new interactions that are emerging from them.

1:50pm

  • The Future of Font Licensing
    Stuart Sandler
    Regardless if you’re a font creator, font reseller or font buyer, licensing is confusing! Font licensing has a very specific purpose and must satisfy not just the buyer, but the seller and the laws that enforce it, yet it’s the last thing folks think about during a font purchase. We’ll look at the history and evolution of the modern day font license and deconstruct how it works and affects all aspects of the font business as needs change over time. Whether you’re a font buyer trying to understand what you can and cannot do with the fonts you just purchased or a font designer responding to customers looking to expand their licensing, we’ll explore every angle in the mobile “cloud” age and beyond looking at the future of font licensing from the perspective of our distributorship Font Bros and as the creator and manager of the Font Diner library.

2:30pm

2:45pm

  • Type in 20:
    No Alternative: The History and Challenges of Alternates in the Age of Stylistic Sets

    Jeremy Mickel
    Stylistic Alternates have been a mainstay of the typographic palette since the days of metal and photo type. In early digital type, alternates were placed in underused character slots, which had advantages and disadvantages. OpenType has made rich typographic options available to designers, but most features remain unused because they are difficult for designers to access. This talk will examine the history and future of Stylistic Alternates, including new ways that type designers are approaching the challenges of OpenType accessibility.

3:05pm

  • Type in 20:
    Chromeography: A Brief History of Letters on Cars

    Stephen Coles
    Stephen will talk about the Chromeography project, an online archive of chrome lettering affixed to vintage automobiles and electric appliances. These unsung metal emblems and badges are usually overlooked, forgotten, damaged, lost to time or the dump. Chromeography.com answers (and poses) questions about how and why these little pieces of typographic art have changed over the years. It also showcases the kind of thematic curation that has only become possible in a social/digital world.

3:30pm

  • Technological Shifts and Their Effect on Letter Shapes
    Indra Kupferschmid
    Throughout typographic history there have been many technological developments that had a large influences on the design and production of typefaces — from the earliest attempt to standardize type via various typesetting systems to our output devices of today. Some classic typefaces have been subject of several reworkings over time. Initially for my research about Neue Haas Grotesk and Helvetica I dug deeper into typesetting and printing technology and compared letter shapes throughout several incarnations of a typeface.

4:10pm

  • Closing Remarks

Evening Event