A recap of the day from your friends at Proof&Co. — Day One

Day one of TypeCon2021 is in the books!

We had a great time kicking things off with a mega keynote, a few visions of the future, some raging tunes and thrashing letterforms, and vibrant history. We don’t know about you, but we noticed a few themes coming together — the arrow of time, typographic expression, and revitalizing perspectives — all setting an optimistic and ambitious tone to the virtual conference.

Here are some of our highlights from the first day of the main program:

Keynote Presentation: Now And Then

Alex Trochut

Alex Trochut took us into the 3D world of lettering and explores non-static type, type that is in transition. From imitating brush strokes in digital type to creating something that looks spontaneous and uncontrolled with a digital air brush to exploring lettering design by simulating moving your laundry around, it’s clear Alex is truly living his statement from the beginning of the keynote: “Fun is the most important thing when creating.”

Alex brought up the importance of tools, whether it’s using the right tool, making your own tools for creation, exploring new tools you haven’t used before, and what new things you can make from existing tools. He also covered a lot of behind the scenes insights into his beautifully expressive work and got us thinking about new dimensions that type start to explore: motion, 3D, Augmented Reality, 4D, AI, and generative art … there’s no limit!

Book Design: From Print Pedigree to Digital Dynasty

John D. Berry
Jason Pamental

John Berry and Jason Pamental introduced the question, what does the future of the book have for us? After a whirlwind tour through the history of book layouts — from scrolls to bound two page spreads to eBooks — we hurdled into the future, noting that reading on phones and tablets isn’t going anywhere so let’s not settle for anything less than a great reading experience.

We got to ponder what variable fonts can do for reading experiences, noting that variable fonts allow us to maximize legibility, readability, and pacing, but we just need to make sure our layouts evolve as the technology evolves. John and Jason also had us think about what makes a book a book in the first place and what’s still left to be done to build the future of the digital book.

A Typographic History of Extreme Metal Music

Jess Meoni

Jess Meoni guided us through the history of metal band logos and it is impossible to ignore the correlation between the logo composition and the music composition of the bands they represent. We frankly had no idea how deep this rabbit hole went before the talk started but are now seriously considering starting our own Norwegian Black Metal group and scoping out ebay for Celtic Frost swag. All this heavy metal lettering begs the question: how much further can these logos go? If the music becomes even more abstract and aggressive, can the logos follow suit? What could be next in metal music and logo design? Rock on.

Baybayin: The Ancient Script of the Philippines

Tiffany Prater

Tiffany Prater introduced us to Baybayin Script, a supposedly dead Filipino script. The written script of Tagalog, Baybayin has fallen out of use in the Philippines in favor of latin lettering. Filipino culture is wildly proud of its history and its language, and to that end, Filipino artists are working to keep Baybayin alive in paintings, murals, and tattoos.  We loved the framing of a conversation of what it means to exist in the now while carrying the weight of a culture affected and shaped by existential powers like colonialism and global influence. Seeing so many artists and top shelf creative work had us asking “How can we find modern cultural identity through typography and lettering?”

Asemic Writing, Mandalas, Speaking in Tongues and Ecstatic Expressions

Laura Chessin

Something that’s not talked about as often as it probably should — meaning. Laura Chessin brought us close to the enlightened beyond by presenting writing as a physical act, a practice, a gesture, a study in rhythm, drawing, a sensory experience. When we think about typography, we tend to think about glyphs, shape, spacing, and a litany of technicalities that are merely a modern expression of what typography is at its core: an act of communication. We loved the complete top-down perspective reset on what writing is in the first place, and what the meaning of typography is for us as individuals.

Ghost Story / Love Story (or How I Learned to Love the Dead)

Ian Lynam

The ghosts of fonts past are all around us, but do we see them? Ian Lynam shared his story hunting for the history of Oswald Cooper and all the rabbit holes that led him to, including the discovery of the “screamer” punctuation mark. “Screamers” are oversized exclamation points, part of the Cooper Black release, but too quickly rushed into production for Cooper’s liking. The mark fell out of favor in the US after World War II but kept hold in Japan, where it can still be found today. Ian reminds us that there are typography ghost stories out there, bits of fonts from days gone by that have been lost to time, and it is up to us to search for them, find them, and turn them into typography love stories.

Proof&Co. — A deeper look at the world of independent typography.

This recap is provided by Proof&Co. — A research and media project devoted to a better understanding of the modern world of independent typography, and a proud sponsor of TypeCon!