Although Typeshed11 was a rather pricey adventure it was definitely worth its salt and was a real typographic eye-opener. With a very impressive range of speaker, packed into 3-days, the whole event was very well organised [by Catherine Griffiths and Simone Wolfe] and setup well with lot of side events, workshops and social minglings.
What was particularly encouraging was that the NZ / AUS speakers definitely held their own against the European juggernauts. If anything, the local crowd have a much more progressive approach to typographic design without the burden of a Modernist, and somwhat creaky canon of thought.
Particular highlight for me were:
*Christian Schwartz [USA] a very charismatic and intelligent type designer responsible in part for the redesign of the Guardian newspaper [link]
*Stephen Banham [AUS] of Letterbox. Great storteller, witty and involved in a lot of interesting typographic studies, yarns and designs. [link]
*Kris Sowersby [NZ] of Klim Type Foundry. Beautiful type designs and a great [and very funny] presenter. He seemed quite rough around the edges for a Type designer which was refreshing but at the same time so thorough and fluent in what he does [link]
*Bruno Maag [UK] and Meena Kadri [NZ] both really interesting views of type design for different cultures and in particularly non-latin letterforms. [link]
*Sarah Maxey [NZ] low-tech, elegant type design [link]
Leonardo Sonnoli was first up. Beautiful designs but a little bit show-and-telly.
Towards the end of the third day there was a live cookery session which kinda eased the seriousness of the event format [in a good way]. Bruno Maag is a natural in this role. Sarah Maxey drew [projected onscreen] while Maag, Scwartz and Liza Enebeis of Typeradio cooked mussels and couscous and talked about life outside of type design. Quite entertaining. Maxey’s drawing was given away at the end which happened to go to the person directly behind me , dammit! [they had a red pepper under their chair].
Another highlight of the event was of course our very own Noel Waite. By far the most theoretical and historical approach by any speaker but very astute and equally entertaining and interesting.
Unfortunately Noel drew the short straw of the time stakes, presenting early on the third day when all were starting to get a bit weary. Noel though held everyones full attention. Very well received by the audience.
The Shed space was filled with lots of type inspiration, with books and posters adorning the walls throughout the event.
This was the number one highlight of the event for me [and favourite photos] – Joseph Churchward talking with David Bennewith. It was so captivating to watch Joseph engaging and describing elements of his typefaces [some 600 or so] in a very tactile way; pointing and chuckling about decisions he made about crossbars, stroke widths and ascenders. Great to see someone with so much passion still about his profession. View Joseph Churchward typefaces [here].
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