About the TypeCon2013 Program

This year’s conference program is shaping up to be one of the best ever. From August 21st through 25th, we’ve gathered together some of the brightest names in type and design to bring their experience, skill, and stories to Portland, Oregon.

Special events include the eighth annual Type & Design Education Forum, the twelfth edition of the always entertaining Type Crit, plus the international TypeGallery2013 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.

Wednesday, August 21st

9:00am – 4:30pm

6:00pm – 10:00pm

Thursday, August 22nd

9:00am – 5:30pm

9:00am – 4:30pm

2:00pm – 5:00pm

6:00pm – 9:30pm

Friday, August 23rd

Main Program

8:00am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

8:30am

  • Opening Remarks

8:40am

  • The State of Letterpress: Pictures and Stories from a Photographic Documentary

    John Labovitz

    In 2012, I began a project to photograph letterpress printers, book binders, type founders, papermakers, and book artists. In my travels so far (with more to come), I’ve traveled through more than a dozen states and visited nearly fifty fascinating practitioners of what was thought to be a dying art.

    Far from it: I’ve spent many pleasant afternoons chatting with printers both commercial, artistic, and amateur. I’ve seen technologies varying from pre-industrial hand-cast type, through precision typecasting machines from the early 20th century, to polymer plates being created using the latest CNC laser engravers. Through it all I’ve found a wonderful community of people who are sharing their skills and their knowledge, and maintaining the long tradition of printing.

    In this talk, I will present photographs of the people I’ve visited, their studios, and their work, discuss the genesis and evolution of my project, and extrapolate a bit about the future of letterpress and printing in general.

9:25am

  • Chris Stern, Printer: From Phototype to Letterpress

    John D. Berry & Jules Remedios Faye

    A presentation of the work of seminal Northwest printer and typographer C. Christoper Stern (for whom the C.C. Stern Foundry is named). Chris Stern was a uniquely talented artist and craftsman, fiercely ambitious for excellence. Before his death in 2006, he was in the middle of writing and casting a “typographic manifesto” to explore his fascination with sans serif type in hand-printed books and broadsides. The artifacts that would have gone into that manifesto exist, and have for the most part never been seen. We will show many of them and weave through them the narrative of Chris’s evolution: from hardworking phototypesetter at a Seattle job shop to renowned letterpress printer, who never felt constrained by the boundaries or expectations of technology old or new.

    Chris Stern and Jules Faye printed together for a decade and a half, under the name of Stern & Faye, Printers. When they moved out of Seattle in 1994, they settled in the rural Skagit Valley and set up what they referred to as the “printing farm,” with a barn full of working presses and typesetting equipment. Separately and together, they produced an impressive body of printed work.

10:05am

10:30am

  • Type in 20:
    The Calligraphic Book Jackets of George Salter and Philip Grushkin

    Paul Shaw

    From the moment he arrived in the United States in 1934 until his death in 1936 George Salter was the premiere book jacket designer in the United States. His jackets were often characterized by a variety of personal calligraphic styles. Philip Grushkin was a student of Salter’s at Cooper Union in the early 1940s. From the middle of the 1940s until the early 1960s he worked as a freelance book jacket designer. Many of his jackets are marked by calligraphy that is superficially like that of Salter, but upon closer examination is revealed as his own interpretations. This talk will summarize and analyze Salter’s and Grushkin’s calligraphic styles.

10:50am

  • Type in 20:
    Roots of Ornament

    Carl Crossgrove

    There is currently a surge of interest in highly ornamented lettering and type. The trend is a recurring one; ornamentation and decorative lettering have resurfaced periodically in printed and hand-lettered work. Celtic, Mediaeval, Renaissance, and craftsman periods have all birthed exquisite and elaborate decorative graphic works. This is a visual review of some of those precedents.

11:10am

  • Type in 20:
    The Role of Emoji in Font Technology Innovation

    Michelle Perham

    The history of typography is a history of technological innovation. We know what prompted the invention of movable metal type, the pantograph, the typewriter, and typesetting machine. But the latest innovations in type technology around color fonts, were fueled by something unusual. Innovation was ignited by the desire to encode and display roughly seven hundred and twenty tiny color pictures used on Japanese mobile phones. I will discuss the rise of the emoji, and how it led to technical innovations in digital type and how those innovations will change the way we look at and use fonts forever.

11:35am

  • The Typographic Reinvention of the Kannada and Telugu Writing Systems

    Erin McLaughlin

    The South Indian languages of Telugu and Kannada, though distantly related, are mutually unintelligible. Speakers read, write, and buy fonts in either the Telugu or Kannada script. They are officially recognized as separate writing systems. But by peeling away the layers of stylization, and the influence of writing tools and typesetting technology, we uncover the forms of a shared common script. This talk demonstrates how early typefounders, missionaries, rulers, and aristocrats changed the style, shape, and function of the letters of the early Telugu-Kannada script, and transformed it into two separate writing systems.

12:15pm

  • Lunch Break

2:00pm

  • Backasswards!

    David Ross

    Reversed-stress typefaces occupy a funny little corner of the world of typeface design. While most genres have grown organically, these faces intentionally flip conventions on their head, with jarring, amusing, and sometimes even useful results.

    These faces can offer more to typography than the novelty of gunslingers and swinging saloon doors. I will explore the history of the genre, take a closer look at some particularly interesting specimens, and detail the drawing challenges that arise when the thick parts get thin and the thin parts get thick.

    One of the hardest parts of drawing a typeface is finding a new approach to the same old alphabet. I will demonstrate how the reversal of one little attribute is enough to open up a host of uncharted letter-drawing possibilities.

2:45pm

  • Type in 20:
    Your Typographic Librarian

    Amelia Hugill-Fontanel

    Archives and libraries contain infinite resources for twenty-first century typographic inspiration. Obscure matrices, colonial papers, scrawling personal letters, and rare films from the RIT Cary Collection have all recently stimulated creative endeavors by our most enthusiastic patrons—type designers, educators, and aficionados like you! Join me, “your typographic librarian,” as I describe some great projects where history, technology, and design intersect—perhaps encouraging you to get to know your local library scientist.

3:05pm

  • Type in 20:
    Wood Type by Blunt Force and Sharp Tools

    Kitty Maryatt

    There is hardly a more direct way of learning to construct a geometric typeface than drawing letters and carving them in wood. In cherry wood. Type high. Individually. In eight width groups derived from the Trajan inscription. Print them by letterpress on Vandercook presses and then digitize them using Fontographer. Make photopolymer plates and print those by letterpress as well. Bind the pages into a limited edition book of 103 copies. This is the experience we developed for students taking the Typography and the Book Arts class at the Scripps College Press in Claremont, California, in the Spring of 2012. The undergraduate students are neophytes, so to get started, we selected an inspiring print by German lettering artist Hans Schmidt as our model. He brilliantly developed positive and negative letters within the print, using color and overprinting for enhancing legibility and artistry. We embraced and extended his ideas, and the font the students created, affectionately called NeoSchmidt, has several alternate characters. We now have 1.5 inch wood type, a font we can use digitally in any size, and are exploring experiments in carving the font in plastic and wood using a router.

3:25pm

  • Type in 20:
    Resurrecting Type of the IBM 1403

    Jeff Kellem

    A random query, idly wondered aloud by a friend, sparked the creation of a typeface inspired by the 1960s era IBM 1403 mainframe line printer. A weekend side project to create 52 glyphs reminiscent of the A and H printer chains turned into a full-blown, uppercase, monospaced typeface supporting most languages using the Latin alphabet. The IBM 1403 was a workhorse, quite popular, used throughout the 1960s and 1970s on everything from bills and checks to library card/book catalogs to automobile service parts identification labels. One of the first high speed, quality, line printers, the IBM 1403 is an interesting piece of technology, using replaceable chains (including the individual metal slugs on a chain). This presentation will provide an overview of the technology and show historical samples along with the resulting typeface.

3:45pm

4:00pm

  • Type in 20:
    The Evolution of Font Licensing Comprehension in the Creative Community

    Jim Kidwell

    Those in creative fields haven’t always given the respect to the licenses governing fonts that they deserve. Designers see fonts as the virtual paints for their design canvas, and not always as licensed software. With the advent of web fonts, the pool of creative talent that needs quality fonts has expanded exponentially.

    Backed by data from a recent survey of designers, web developers, and those who use fonts in their creative work, this presentation includes:

    • An exploration of the evolving perception of font licensing by creative individuals, the past, present and future
    • How the expanding pool of designers who desire quality typography affects this perception
    • How web fonts are changing the game
    • How the typographic community can engage the rest of the creative community in the licensing discussion

4:20pm

  • Incidental to the Hand Process: Lessons Learned from Printing Letterpress at a High Level

    Ben Trissel

    The Press at Colorado College was a unique venture — outside the confines of having to make money as a job press, and under the auspices of the Colorado college Art Department, the proprietor, Jim Trissel, was able to explore book-making both as an art form and an investigation of the Incunabula. He worked with many future Poet Laureates as well as Dana Goia, who later went on to Chair the National Endowment for the Arts. His wit, humor and unreasonable desire to make beautiful books led The Press to acclaim during Jim’s life. His books continue to have a strong influence over letterpress printers and designers today.

    Letterpress printing at a high level of precision is fraught with perils. This talk will be about lessons learned around the bed of a press, and how those lessons have translated into the new world of Digital Publishing. The talk will be punctuated with images from Jim Trissel’s work and from The Press.

5:05pm

  • SOTA Catalyst Award Presentation
    The Society of Typographic Aficionados will present Kyle Read with the 2013 SOTA Catalyst Award for his achievements and future promise in the field of typography.

    This talk will be about the little things, how typography can be seen in everything, and how I’ve tried to tap into this to make letters. It will be about race cars, thread count, and serif shape, how planes fly, readability, and type in uncharted territory, seismographs, Paul Rand, and the lines we cannot see. Ultimately, I will share my journey through type so far, and where I’d like to take it next.

Evening Event

8:30pm – 11:00pm

Saturday, August 24th

Main Program

8:00am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

8:30am

  • Opening Remarks

8:40am

  • Blurry Thoughts of Reading

    Kevin Larson

    The text rendering has changed in each recent version of Internet Explorer: IE7, IE8, IE9, and IE10. Sometimes reader reactions to the text rendering change was positive, while other times there were complaints that the text has became blurrier. While readers have been vocal in their response, it has been difficult to measure large performance differences between these text rendering techniques. In order to better understand what makes text rendering blurry, we measured some of the key components of blur to see which factors were the most important. We found some of the findings very surprising.

9:25am

  • But… But… Pony! Adventures in Open Source Font Development

    Paul D. Hunt & Miguel Sousa

    Paul Hunt and Miguel Sousa will present their experience releasing Adobe’s first open source font families, Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro. In particular, the discussion will focus on how interaction with the open source community has impacted many aspects of the Adobe type team’s work. Some of these aspects include font development tools, workflow, version control, and customer engagement. Paul and Miguel will speak about all of these changes and describe how the engagement with collaborators from the community has driven them to reconsider these aspects of their work and to attempt to make tools, processes, and communication more open.

10:05am

  • Coffee Break
    Sponsored by MyFonts

10:30am

  • Type in 20:
    Why Metal Typography Matters in the 21st Century

    Jeff Shay

    It is 2013 and the maker movement continues to thrive. For makers and their communities and consumers, the appeal of letterpress printing — slow, tactile, personal — is clear. When done at human speed and human scale, type design and use can seem more real. Still, apart from debates over punching or kissing, most letterpress designers and printers interaction with type happens primarily at the two dimensional surface of the screen. This is one of the reasons the process of casting and using metal type — of making type in three dimensions — has much to offer the typographic aficionado.

10:50am

  • Type in 20:
    Type of Taiwan

    Fu-Chieh Wu

    As a vehicle of communication, a written language is a visual representation of a culture. Traditional Chinese written language has provided rich contributions in form, sound, and meaning to visual communication. However, China simplified traditional Chinese characters to raise the nation’s literacy rate and therefore lost the profound cultural essence of their written language. On the other hand, Taiwan has inherited the meaningful quality of traditional Chinese characters from ancient China. This thesis addresses the need to explore the uniqueness of traditional Chinese characters and their typographic elements in order to discover an identifiable Taiwanese typographic language. The study covers linguistic aspects to understand the profound history of traditional Chinese characters. It continues into Taiwanese history and culture to reveal its distinctive cultural relevance. Additionally, a comprehensive investigation focuses on the current status and future trends of Taiwanese typographic communication design. Ultimately, an identifiable Taiwanese typographic form will perhaps be discovered in typographic visual communication, which uniquely represents Taiwanese culture.

11:10am

  • Type in 20:
    Pureosseugi: Script Reform for a New Age

    Aaron Bell

    The Latin alphabet had it easy. With only 26 letters, it was relatively easy to create a keyboard capable of high speed typesetting. Korean typesetters, however, weren’t so lucky.

    In early 20th century Korea, frustration over this situation led to the formation of organizations dedicated to accelerating the typesetting of Hangeul, Korea’s national script—but with over 11,000 characters to support, this proved challenging. Many efforts attempted to work around the inherent limitations of Linotype and Monotype machines.

    One particularly enterprising scholar decided that the problem lay in Hangeul’s design itself and advocated the introduction of pureosseugi, or ‘linear hangeul’. This system broke apart the syllables into their core consonants and vowels, reducing the number of necessary characters to under 50. In one stroke, Korean typesetters could join the modern age, working at the same speed advantages as their Latin-based counterparts. However, it was not to be.

    This is the curious story of pureosseugi.

11:35am

  • Iran Contemporary Typography and Poster Design

    Nahid Tootoonchi

    Posters have long been the primary medium in which Iranian designers work and these works have attracted a great deal of international recognition during the past fifteen years.

    Designing type electronically is limited. Calligraphy and handwriting are the dominant forms of typography. One can see the use of handwritten Farsi text on many posters and book covers working perfectly in terms of composition and style. Because of nature of the alphabet with many curves and movements, it easily becomes part of the composition in a very expressive form.

    Designers readily borrow the signs, symbols, media, and literature of the past as a language in which to communicate with the present, and
    their posters often challenge the beliefs and conventions of our day via references to the calligraphy, typography, and other artifacts of their Iranian heritage.

12:15pm

  • Lunch Break

2:00pm

  • Fonts by Subscription: Threat or Menace?

    Thomas Phinney

    The past year or two has seen an explosion of new approaches to making fonts available, often feared or viewed with suspicion by those with a strong stake in the status quo. Subscription services for web fonts have been joined by subscription services for desktop fonts (Monotype’s Skyfonts and Adobe Typekit’s Desktop Font Sync). What is the impact of these developments on end users, type designers, foundries, distributors, the business of type, and the typographic scene as a whole? How might it differ in the short term vs the long term?

2:45pm

  • Type in 20:
    Diggings from Many Ampersandhogs

    Steve Matteson

    In 1937 Paul Bennet of the NY Typophiles organized the production of a small book celebrating the ampersand. Contributors included many giants of typography: W. A. Dwiggins, Fred Goudy, Paul Standard, Bruce Rogers and Melbert B Cary — to name a few.

    This Type in 20 shares the beauty, craftsmanship, scholarship and humor of this rare book “Diggings from Many Ampersandhogs”. Explore the origins of the written form of &; the evolution of the & as type; an article written on actual SANDpersand Paper; the strange tale of Gulliver’s travels to the Island of Et Cetereans; and a beautiful “ampersand machine” made from type ornaments.

3:05pm

  • Type in 20:
    A “face” for the New South Africa: The Sociogenic Imperative of Typography

    Kurt Campbell

    The South African Corporate Identity and Branding Guidelines (2005) regulates the visual communication protocol of the new Republic of South Africa. The Guidelines were symptomatic of the profound political shift that came into effect with the end of the Apartheid era. This article analyses the fonts officially selected for the new visual identity as it pertains to the country’s ‘Great Seals’. It will argue that, in contrast to the other visual elements of the design, the policy on fonts works against the stated aims of the Branding Guidelines to produce a ‘visual symbol … [t]hat distinguishes us from other countries’ and ‘reflects a unique history in addition to embracing the future’. Central to the argument is the importance of viewing typography as a sociogenic object, symbolically and ideologically potent as it performs both history and culture. The article concludes by introducing alternative approaches by South African designers to typographical design that seek to respond to the challenge of a ‘face’ for the new South Africa.

3:25pm

3:40pm

  • Type in 20:
    Vintage Record Label Design and Typography

    Jeff Moore

    A look at the design and typography of vintage country music record labels. Over the past 25 years, Jeff Moore has collected thousands of 45rpm records, mostly in the classic country music genre. He’s excited to share the good, the bad and the interesting design of these records’ labels, and maybe even play a few clips of some of these songs (Johnny Paycheck’s Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer, for example).

4:00pm

  • Fame & Fortune

    Pete McCracken

    Fame & Fortune explores what it takes to become rich and famous as a type designer. Real, fictitious, pithy and tongue-in-cheek. Discover the uncensored true stories of Marcus Burlile, his work, including Able, used as the Yahoo! logo and main typeface for Harry Potter, creating glyphs for new media, making fonts no one will use, rock bands, adult entertainment, galactic type and creating brand typefaces for corporations.

4:45pm

  • SOTA Typography Award Presentation
    The Society of Typographic Aficionados will present the 2013 SOTA Typography Award to this year’s recipient.

Evening Event

8:30pm – 11:00pm

Sunday, August 25th

Main Program

8:30am

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Exhibits & Marketplace Open

9:00am

  • Opening Remarks

9:10am

  • Tweaking Opentype Features to Solve Design Problems

    Crystian Cruz

    With the advent of OpenType technology, most of typefaces started to incorporate new features, improving the usage of fonts. But in a few cases, new behaviors were added by tweaking the original purpose of OpenType features, such as P22 Operina Pro and its roman numerals, Greta Symbol and its clever way to activate symbols or FF Dingbats 2.0 and the interesting way to add colors to its pictograms. Using my background as media designer, I’ve created fonts with features to incorporate bar charts as glyphs (Quartzo, 2009) and an innovative way to automatically compress letters by the end of text lines (Brasilêro Pro, 2012). Now that we have webfonts, these behaviors are pushing typefaces to a new era, and this is the main discussion that I want to bring to the conference.

9:55am

  • NeoRetroModernFLommism: (Re-)Building a Video Gamefrom the 1920s

    Steve Mehallo

    The concept is simple: ‘What would a video game look like if designed in 1923 by a bunch of angry modern artists?’ The game metaphor: Modern vs. Tradition. The construction: Complex. Over a period of 4 years, designer Steve Mehallo developed FLomm: The Battle for Modern 1923 as a personal project, an educational experiment as well as an homage to classic arcade games, Futurism, DADA, the Bauhaus, early cinema and Frederic W. Goudy. This talk is an overview of the erudite process in which FLomm was created, where detail is everything and manifestos still seek to change the world.

10:35am

10:55am

  • Type in 20:
    Accessibilitype!

    Erik Vorhes

    Since its inception the internet has promised to be a great equalizer among people. But even in the parts of the world where access is common, we leave too many people behind through inaccessible design and development. We could spend weeks talking about how to solve these problems; for the sake of sanity, this talk will focus on how type and typography can make the web more accessible. If time allows, we’ll explore other media, too. Let’s make the world a better place, letter by letter.

11:15am

  • Type in 20:
    The Amazing World of Box Drawing Characters

    Frank Grießhammer

    Releasing the monospaced Source Code Pro typeface via GitHub was different to most of Adobe’s font releases. The audience on GitHub consists mainly of programmers, who responded with suggestions and requests immediately. An enhancement requested quite frequently was the addition of “Box Drawing Characters” (Unicode U+2500–257F).

    Box Drawing Characters are an enclosed system, they work together like a puzzle. This aspect lends itself to automated creation. Consequently, I wrote a script to draw them based on a handful of parameters; and made that script available on GitHub.

    Researching the background of Box Drawing Characters, I got quite interested in the subject. I found out that they are among the earliest characters found on computer systems. They are useful not only for programmers, but can also be a nice toolkit for designers.

    In my talk I would like to raise awareness for this neglected Unicode range, go into the history of Text-Based Interface design (think MS ScanDisk, MS Defrag); and give an example how type designers can use my script and extend their monospaced fonts with essential Box Drawing Characters.

11:35am

  • Type in 20:
    How Much Wood Would a Wood Type Type?

    Richard Kegler

    The HWT foundry was initiated by Bill Moran of Blinc and Hamilton Wood Type Museum and Richard Kegler of P22 type foundry as a digital type foundry with a mission to be a supportive agent of the HWT Museum. This presentation will cover the thought process on how to approach an already flooded field of “digital wood type” and use sales as both a funding source and an awareness builder for the museum. A heavily illustrated slide show will feature images from the museum’s collection, various rare specimens and finished fonts.

12:05pm

  • The Work of W. A. Dwiggins

    Rob Saunders

    You may know W. A. Dwiggins as the designer of Electra and Caledonia, or the first to use the term “graphic designer”, but he was so much more. A true polymath of twentieth century design, he was a calligrapher and lettering artist, type designer, author, illustrator, book designer, master of deco ornament, and private press printer. Rare original examples spanning the entire range of Dwiggins’ work will be presented in a high definition show-and-tell by a designer who’s been collecting his work for over 35 years.

12:45pm

  • Closing Remarks

1:30pm – 3:10pm

Evening Event

7:00pm – 10:00pm