This information is subject to change.
Wednesday, August 12th
9:00 am – 4:30 pm
View the workshop schedule for details.
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Special Presentation: Nicholas Felton
8:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Ink Lounge Open House
Thursday, August 13th
9:00 am – 5:50 pm
Type & Design Education Forum
View the forum schedule for details.
9:00 am – 4:30 pm
View the workshop schedule for details.
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Type Walk with Paul Shaw
View the special events schedule for details.
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Keynote Presentation: Marian Bantjes
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
AIGA Colorado Afterparty
Friday, August 14th
SOTA Store & Exhibits Open
Life Lessons from Globe Poster
Globe Poster Printing Corp., started in Baltimore., MD, in 1929, is best known for its iconic jazz and R&B posters, promoting the greats from B.B. King to Marvin Gaye to Aretha Franklin. The posters dominated rural crossroads and city walls with bold wood type, fluorescent colors, and “type that moved” — vivid lettering that shouted phrases like “Live!” and “In Person!” as it promoted both the greats and lesser-known performers. To keep the tradition of Globe alive, Bob and Frank Cicero, the last owners of Globe Poster Printing, sold the type, cuts and lettering to MICA, Baltimore’s historic art school, in 2011. This talk blends the historical import of Globe with “life lessons” for creative people today; lessons passed down through the decades and lessons learned every day as we work to keep Globe fresh, relevant and in production. We will look at the elements that defined the Globe style, the artists behind that style, and talk about how that can inform design in this digital era.
Money Talks: A Brief History of Type Markets
Why are some fonts cheap or expensive? Or are they? Was it always like this? And what really is the value of a font? Patrick Griffin runs through the tale of type markets from early metal all the way through to the digital present — a story spans half a millennium of designers, punch-cutters, printers, calligraphers, letterers, typesetters, publicists, middlemen, distributors and con artists. This presentation will take you on a journey through free markets, plausible and otherwise, offering a revelatory take on the myriad interactions between fonts and finance, and how competition and conflicts have shaped type design’s past and are molding its future.
Wrong Reading: Examples of Double-Sided Wood Type
Double-sided wood type in the letterpress world is a unique thing. Since I started collecting wood type, I’ve come into many pieces that were double-sided: the type as the manufacturer intended it on one side, and a hand-carved image on the other. Intrigued by this, I’ve asked printers from all over the world to send me examples of double-sided wood type in their collections. From a simple need for an extra letter in a broadside, to a logo for an advertisement, printers would take to the unfinished side of wood type and when necessary, create unique works of art by carving into them. This presentation will show the examples I’ve collected thus far.
The Hershey Fonts
In 1967, Dr. A.V. Hershey was working at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory in Virginia; on some of the earliest digital representations of type: The Hershey Fonts.
Hershey used the tools of his time, which likely meant operating room-sized computers on FORTRAN commands. His fonts are nothing like the digital fonts we know today — simple lists of coordinates, to be connected by straight lines, and displayed e.g. on cathode ray tubes. They might look crude; but certainly they were a remarkable achievement for their time.
Given the limitations, it is amazing how comprehensive and elaborate Hershey’s designs are. A fair amount of alphabets was created; not only for Latin, but also for Greek and Japanese. A wide range of styles and variants was “drawn” too: Sans-Serif, Serif (including Italics and Ligatures), Script — even different styles of Blackletter exist.
I came across this remarkable chapter of type history when reviewing Jean-Baptiste Levée’s “Minotaur” family for Typographica’s “Best of 2014” special. Since then, I have not stopped my research on this — admittedly very specialized — topic, and I think it is time to introduce my discoveries to a bigger audience.
The Commercial Monograms from the GramLee Collection
This talk examines a small subset of West Virginia University’s GramLee Collection of 20th century wood engravings: the company monogram. As precursors to the modern logo, these monograms would have been locked up with wood type and printed on paper sacks for flour, corn meal, or animal feed.
Each monogram is a set of uniquely drawn letterforms integrated and intertwined to create a single unit. By examining the wide range of monograms, and investigating the lettering techniques used, this presentation will deconstruct specimens and attempt to analyze the magic of some of the GramLee Collections most curious examples of commercial lettering. In addition to formal exploration, experimental letterpress prints will also be showcased.
Filmotype Junto: The First Font Cooperative
In 1948, Alan Friedman with his wife Beatrice pioneered the first portable typesetting system complete with an easy to use typesetting machine, the Filmotype, and an exhaustive library of expressive display typefaces that were created for it.
Eventually morphing into the Alphatype Corporation which was dissolved in the 1990s, Filmotype and its typeface library were frozen in time on 2″ filmstrips and nearly lost to the annals of graphic design history only to be rediscovered and reborn in 2006 by Stuart Sandler of the Font Diner.
Led by the inspiration that historic preservation was a group effort, Sandler formed the first co-operative font development group, the Filmotype Junto, as a true collaboration of talented font designers focused on the preservation and revival of this amazing font library.
With nearly 100 Filmotype typefaces revived since 2006, we invite you to join us in a 20 minute presentation and 20 minute panel discussion with the Filmotype Junto about how these independent font designers from across the world successfully came together to collaborate on this massive undertaking.
Moderated by Scott Boms
A New Approach to Type Design at Adobe
Adobe has a long tradition of developing massive digital typeface projects. This wasn’t always the case, but over decades, projects steadily grew in scope, until “huge” became the norm. The in-house type designers have many new project ideas, but the sheer scope of creating such mega-typefaces makes it difficult to get them off the ground, due the resources and time commitment required. Aware of this barrier, the designers found a way to overcome it by starting small and releasing sooner, using Agile Development practises usually reserved for software development. Steve will discuss the idea, motivations, challenges, and lessons learned in creating a new typeface design methodology. Miguel will discuss the practical, hands-on experience in creating the first ATC typeface, Vortice. He went from sketches to releasable product in months rather than years, while keeping up his other responsibilities at Adobe. Finally, they will close with a discussion of the customer feedback received, and how it is used to inform further development.
Yes, But Can OpenType Do This?
Can animations be put into fonts? And what about games? Learn the answer to these questions, and how Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked the gamification of fonts, in this short and fun presentation. This presentation contains no prepared slides, all typing is done live.
Using Type to Add Data to Data Visualizations
In data visualization, data is transformed into geometry. Geometric properties, such as position, color and shape are modified based on data values.
Unfortunately, most visualization designers today do not leverage typography to express data using type attributes such as bold, italic, condensed and so on. Type is an afterthought and our visualizations are typographically mute.
Instead, the design space of visualization could be much richer harnessing typography to express data embedded directly in to text. There are many exciting possibilities that result from design exploration. Examples include formatting texts for rapid skimming; weighting many opinions to quickly assess the consensus; revealing character traits; and analyzing trade-offs — all exposed visually using typographic attributes.
The above is just a start and there is even more potential. New possibilities may exist with a font systems with variable serifs or a type family that offers multiple x-heights or other new types of type.
The History and Future of Font Licensing
Type designers love seeing their fonts used, but are also extremely protective of their work. We will talk about the business side of type design, looking at the earliest examples of font piracy, typeface licensing and alternative distribution methods. What can we learn from the first 500 years of typography that will allows the discipline to adapt to the requirements of the 21st century?
Type design is in a stage of turmoil, and designers need to take responsibility for making their work relevant today. Large numbers of fonts are now available via low cost subscription based services or even for free, diminishing the value of type designers work. We believe, that independent designers and foundries should still play an important role in defining the value of high quality type by creating new innovative ways of distributing and licensing fonts, while also helping to find them new audiences and answering common needs with more flexible tools.
Style Points: A Look at Basketball Uniform Design and Aesthetics
Basketball is tremendously popular in American urban popular culture in large part due to the seemingly superhuman superstars who take the court. As the game of basketball evolved as a showcase for individual feats of skill and athleticism, the design of basketball uniforms have adapted as an extension of that expressiveness.
I explore how basketball jersey design, logotypes, and individualistic style and expression within the confines of a uniform have evolved over the past 50 years, from traditionalist to flamboyant, futuristic to retro, and back again. These changes are a reflection of trends in design and fashion over time, especially the emergence and growth of hip hop culture.
Typeset In The Future
A brief glimpse of Eurostile Bold Extended can set a movie in the FUTURE far more effectively than an expensive effects shot. Typeset In The Future will introduce you to corporate beer, zero-gravity toilets, and the universe’s most expensive localization error. Expect a funny, detailed, and obsessively geeky look at your favorite movies, with a focus on that thing on the wall in the background.
Inspired by Dave Addey’s Typeset In The Future blog, this talk shows how science fiction movies use typography, design, and iconography to transport us out of the mundane, and into an idealised, futuristic world. You’ll never watch Alien in the same way again.
SOTA Catalyst Award & Presentation
The Society of Typographic Aficionados will bestow Shiva Nallaperumal with the 2015 SOTA Catalyst Award, followed by his presentation.
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The Denver Letterpress Tour
View the special events schedule for details.
Saturday, August 15th
SOTA Store & Exhibits Open
Life and Times of Father E. M. Catich
Reverend Edward M. Catich has an international reputation as a calligrapher, teacher, scholar and artist. He was also a professional Chicago sign painter and musician in the 1920’s while he attended the Art Institute.
Catich received his B.A. in 1934, and received an M.A. in Art from the University of Iowa in 1935. He conducted intensive paleographic and epigraphic research in Rome while attending the seminary from 1935 to 1938. During that time he made a complete study of the Trajan Column and proposed a theory on how the incised letterforms were actually made; using a flat brush. A complete explanation is found in his book Origin of the Serif. In addition to being a calligrapher, he had an international reputation as a stone inscription cutter, was a recognized authority of liturgical art, working in slate, stained glass, watercolor, and print. Among Father Catich’s other published works are, Letters Redrawn from the Trajan Inscription and Reed, Pen and Brush Alphabets. All of his books were printed on his own Catfish Press.
In addition to being an artist, Catich was also an accomplished musician! Many of Father Catich’s works will be shown as illustrations of his life during the presentation. Paul Herrera was a student, apprentice and friend of Father Catich. He traveled with him, worked with him and taught with him at the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery in Davenport, Iowa.
An Illustrated History of Non-Latin Typeface Development at Adobe
Adobe introduced PostScript fonts in 1984, and as early as 1988 we began working with Morisawa, a leading Japanese type foundry, to get their designs into the new font format. Minion Cyrillic, released in 1992, was Robert Slimbach’s and Adobe’s first foray into typeface development for any script other than Latin. In the intervening 23 years since, Adobe has added Greek and Cyrillic to many of its new releases. In 1997, Adobe released its first new Japanese type family, Kozuka Mincho. By 2000, Adobe began to commission typefaces for other scripts including Arabic, Hebrew, Thai and Devanagari, being driven by Adobe applications entering a wider market. Within the past few years, Adobe has tripled its offering of type families for Middle Eastern scripts, has embarked on an ambitious program to develop fonts for the top ten languages of India, and has continued to add to the list of writing systems supported in its library. Paul will discuss the rationales, challenges, and rewards to Adobe for venturing into the world beyond the Latin-centric type.
The Bee in the Lotus Flower
In 2011, John Hudson and Fiona Ross began work on the first set of custom fonts for typesetting the Murty Classical Library of India, a major new multilingual book series published by Harvard University Press. The first five volumes were launched this year, and the series is expected to continue long after all those currently involved have passed from this world. In this presentation, John Hudson discusses the design of the typefaces for the MCLI books, and, by way of a Sanskrit proverb, considers the perspective of the type designer looking beyond the confines of daily detail.
Briefcase Type Foundry: Milestones in Czech Type Design
Briefcase’s aim is to digitise typefaces that have never been released before and publish unique work of important figures of our local region. A type design is an integral part of Czech cultural heritage. The nineties brought about an explosion of experimental type designs, a trend whose continuation we see to this day. Since 2012, we’ve been intensively working on the Briefcase Type project to shine a light on significant design from our recent history. The project is accompanied by printed newspapers, it contains details, pictures, sketches and it serves not only for foundries but also as a good source of almost forgotten “Czech-type-curiosities”. BC News has recently received the “Certificate of Typographic Excellence” and It will be included in the Annual of the Type Directors Club, and will also be shown at the 61st Awards Exhibition.
Re-imagining Farsi Writing System
Farsi (Modern Persian) writing system has developed over 1500 years of calligraphic explorations through which it has gained its richness and personality. With the prevalence of letterpress typesetting methods in Iran 15 decades ago, many qualities of this writing system have been demolished and opportunities to explore the potentials have been overlooked. Ever since, there has been no major movement to question or even re-evaluate the state of the art. For instance, “connectivity” — the joints between the letterforms while sitting next to each other — as one of the main characteristics of this writing system was explored and emphasized by calligraphers centuries ago, and new ways of enriching this attribute were introduced. However, this barely is the case today, even amongst traditional calligraphers. The overshadowing bias of the established writing system has rarely fostered any researches to be done in this area. Today, with the endless capabilities of opentype features, there is an opportunity to attain and investigate those possibilities and improve this ever-growing writing system.
How Culture Affects Typography
This presentation will take a close look into how culture affects typography and the decision-making processes that are in our everyday life. I have given 16 AIGA talks across the country on this topic in the last 3 years. For each presentation, I ask local creatives to send me their pictures of the typographic landscape that makes their city unique. Pictures are due 1 month prior to my talk so that I can create a customized presentation using these pictures to discuss the comparisons (and contrasts) in type choices based on location.
The TypeCon presentation is a culmination of all 16 talks. It will highlight the analysis that I observed prior to visiting the city and then after being there and taking in the culture.
Building Brands with Type and Architecture
Type designers and architects create work for people to use. Both are judged on their rigorous ability to serve, captivate, or be invisible as needed. Neither have control over how their work is ultimately used. This is a survey of design projects where building and typographic aesthetics blend or clash, often by the hands of third party corporate designers. There is much to be explored. What is architectural type beyond wayfinding and signage? What can be learned from studying the branding of prominent architects, whose image must balance between adept engineer and artistic force? What typographic styles might emerge from architects working with typographers across multiple creative fields, following the tradition of Mackintosh, Van Doesburg, or Gropius?
Stencil Type: Fusing Form and Function
Stencils have been commonly used in lettering and type for centuries, and for a variety of reasons. Rooted in function, stencil styles have remained in use despite the advances in technology that could feasibly render them obsolete. Shifting in some cases entirely from their utilitarian origin, stencil styles give opportunity to explore the letterforms, breaking up the strokes and patterns that the eye is accustomed to reading and sacrificing ease of use for dramatic effect. In other instances the stencil is made necessary by the medium, but takes advantage of the variance in form to fuse aesthetic and necessity. This talk will cover some unique and notable uses of stencils in a variety of environments, writing systems and styles, touching on both historical use and recent instances. Whether the broken serif styles of early French stencils, utilitarian military stencils or the scintillating Dala Prisma, stencil type presents a fascinating study on form, function and everything in between.
Lettering Comics for Digital Display
Lettering in comic strips and comic books changed in the 1990s with the advance of better graphic software, and better lettering fonts. The speed that a book or strip could be lettered was cut in half or sometimes even less. Over the last few years, reading comics on digital devices has become increasingly popular. This leads to more questions about how to get the best in legibility and expression from letter in comics. Current processes and solutions will be discussed.
Bathos and the Bauhaus: Branding Church for Millennials
In the 21st century, the trend towards humanist type treatment in the branding efforts of urban churches echo the Bauhaus heritage. Case studies in this presentation will include CASE STUDIES: Watershed in Charlotte, Fusion Church in metro Atlanta, Calvary Chapel in Chattanooga, and Vintage21 in Raleigh.
Ernst Schneidler & His Students
Ernst Schneidler was one of the most influential and beloved teachers of letter arts in the twentieth century, whose students included Georg Trump, Albert Kapr, Imre Reiner, Walter Brudi, and Rudo Spemann. This talk will present a rich selection of the calligraphy, type design and book design of Schneidler and his students in a high definition show and tell from the collection of the Letterform Archive.
SOTA Typography Award Presentation
The Society of Typographic Aficionados will present the 2015 SOTA Typography Award to this year’s recipient.
8:30 pm – 11:00 pm
The Infamous Type Quiz & Silent Auction
Sunday, August 16th
SOTA Store & Exhibits Open
Type of Place
Can particular cultural identities be expressed through vernacular typography? And what can we learn from isolating typography from different parts of the world? I believe there is such a thing as “typography of place” and I’m curious how it can be defined in today’s more globalized cultures.
My project, Type of Place, began documenting and archiving vernacular typography in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2011, and has continued with additional collections in Seattle, Toronto, Rome, Budapest, Prague and Vienna — with an aim to address these research questions.
What’s next? There is a need for a global, user-generated, photographic archive of vernacular typography in the 21st century. The best way to build a significant database of this nature is through the lens of mobile technology.
A beta version of the Type of Place app will be available for download at the time of this conference. I will share the history of this project and demonstrate how the app works, and how research is enabled via the app and the corresponding website.
Letters & Crime: Making Pulp Paperbacks in the Digital Era
The old paperback original crime novels were written fast and sold cheap from a revolving wire rack. They were designed fast, too, largely by anonymous in-house art directors, and helped create a new typographic vernacular based on speed, intensity, a small number of vaguely modernist metal typefaces, and an array of lettering styles that were eye-catching but not too technically demanding.
Twelve years ago mystery writer Charles Ardai and I started a new imprint we hoped would revive the tradition of the cheap, lurid PBO. It would publish both lost gems from the old pulp era and new work written in the spirit of the old, all in covers done in the grand noir manner. The name we settled on was Hard Case Crime.
This presentation will discuss the mix of B movie and Bauhaus influences that shaped hard-boiled typography and lettering, and the typefaces it relied on. I’ll attempt a taxonomy of the major genres of cover lettering, including Psycho Jazzy, Urgent Stencil, and Horroresque. Lastly, I’ll show a selection of Hard Case’s own books and discuss the cultural and commercial pressures that shaped our designs as we adapted a mid-Century print genre to the digital age.
The Beautiful Island of San Serriffe
On April 1, 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a seven-page “special report” about the island of San Serriffe. The island is located in the Indian Ocean and has a surprising semi-colon shape. The newspaper contained articles about the geography, culture, and economy of this small republic as well as advertisements from several international brands.
However, San Serriffe did not actually exist. The articles and advertisements were an April Fool’s Day joke that played on typographical printing and newspaper terms.
Although many have seen one or two small images from the newspaper, this talk will show all of the inside jokes and interesting articles and advertisements created for this elaborate joke. The talk will also give insight on how it played out in the British public life.
What’s on Cyrillic Type Designer’s Mind?
As Cyrillic script (as a system) seems to be younger than Greek or Latin, it is still evolving, even when we are talking of the most traditional text faces. The unified, systematic theory of Cyrillic type design has not formed yet, so every designer uses his own combination of different approaches. So how do early and late history of Cyrillic, calligraphic theory, traditions, environment, technology and personal factors influence on type designers (mostly in Russia) and what do we get as a result?
Learning (and Unlearning) from Letraset
For people of a certain age, Letraset and other bands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down type made it possible for students, professionals, and everyone else to design — or just throw together flyers or labels — with real typefaces, and without needing on professional typesetting services. It was a cheap and easy way to experiment with typography and other graphic elements, and with some care and attention it was a great way to develop an eye for typography.
Letraset put a lot of care into making type easy to use well, but it also resulted in a lot of ways to use type badly, but with interesting results.
This talk will be a look at Letraset’s type and other graphic supplies, showing how they put the tools of professional design into everyday hands. It will also look at how people had to improvise with Letraset, and make the most of the materials at hand.
Adventures in Contextuality
The Contextual Alternates feature was introduced 13 years ago. Nick Shinn provides a history of the various ways that type designers have since exploited this most novel of OpenType features — going far beyond its original purpose — with special attention to his own work, from the conventional script Handsome to the pseudo-random sans Neology.
1:30 pm – 3:10 pm
View the special events schedule for details.
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
There’s a Party in the Parking Lot!
View the special events schedule for details.