What happened at Type Con 2006?

scruggsdesign's picture

I wasn't able to go to TypeCon this year so when I saw all the features on the TypeCon website (TypeCon Talk, Type Gallery, TypeCon TV!) I was excited that I wouldn't be totally missing out. Well, it's been a few weeks now and theres still nothing up. I was hoping to see video or audio of speekers, blog posts... It looks like TypeRadio didn't do anything special either. So... what happened? Those that went, what was the highlight for you. Best presentation, workshop, best thing you learned...

Josh

dezcom's picture

Best presentation for me was the Frutiger tribute. I also learned a great deal from the Dwiggins Fest. The best one-liners were from David Berlow "Scrolling all the way to Martha's Vinyard"
The best part is always meeting the people and being able to unabashedly talk type without seeing the unannointed glaze over in boredom :-)
The PunchCut online hazing via onscreen textmessaging was a scream too! The Boston weather was PERFECT!

ChrisL

Stephen Coles's picture

Only one session was recorded (OS X Font Management) and it will be up next week. We'd like to do more recording (at least audio) next year, but that is largely dependent on able volunteers.

Miss Tiffany's picture

TypeRadio isn't a part of TypeCon, but they have in the past (and hopefull will again) broadcast from TypeCon.

TypeCon TV is something we are hoping to incorporate in the future.

TypeGallery will be updated soon(ish).

Jonathan Clede's picture

I enjoyed everything David Berlow said, and I also enjoyed the presentation on the type design for the Xbox 360. I would have been annoyed enough to stab myself if I had to do such a project without being able to see what it would look like in its final setting. That, I suppose is one of my personal issues I ought to work on. ;)

Also, if you haven't already, I recommend checking out the Typecon group on Flickr. Viewing those photos will give you an idea of what went on at typecon.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/typecon/pool/

Daidala has a few good blog entries on TypeCon too.
http://www.daidala.com/

-Jon-

andi emery's picture

I really enjoyed meeting all the real live typographic afficionados and talking to them face to face (rather than online). It was so wonderful to be surrounded by people who all dealt with and who were all involved with type in different ways. I thought the most entertaining bit was the typographic videos that were presented at the start of the conference and especially the little video on what a typographer sees when out in the real world. I would *love* to get a copy of that to show my students!

For me, seeing the Helvetica film preview was a real treat; hearing personal stories about Adrian Frutiger was really impressive; meeting other type teachers and attending the type education forum was great fun and provided me with lots of ideas; and I really enjoyed the presentation by Nicolas Benson on the memorial he designed and his experience with cutting all the letters into the stone and battling the elements.

It was a really great time.
Andi

dberlow's picture

David Berlow “Scrolling all the way to Martha’s Vinyard”

I did not say that...we were too far north at the time and looking at a character that had no descenders, (I).

Thanks to Sota and the attendees, there was a good amount for content with guts. My faves: Apple admitting their font management is thin. w3c's Lilly announcing that the "network" was going to take care of this (screen font) problem. MS announcing that they would not help was also refreshingly honest. The fashion show was really cool, I wish now that I'd bought a "kern" hoodie. And it's always nice to be un-caffeinated, as I always am, amongst a whirling swirl of addicts. But the most joy I always get at conferences is seeing the people come out of the engine rooms of this industry to sit in the sunshine and hear nice things about type, because they deserve it the most.

dezcom's picture

"I did not say that…we were too far north at the time and looking at a character that had no descenders, (I)."

LOL!!! But it at least was always 10pt :-)

ChrisL

hrant's picture

David, I think those observations arise from the "blue-collar" (as you've put it) advantage that Typecon has over ATypI (although I personally think we need both for balance). Now if we could just get SoTA to revert to more populist venues...

http://www.ehi.com/travel/mexico/majorcit/tijuana-hotels-grand-hotel-tij...

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Being a "grass roots" organization, SOTA relies on locals for a significant part of its attendance. Conferences are organized by a local committee, and these are also people who have been involved as volunteers at previous TypeCons. So there is a combination of conference experience, committment, and local knowledge and connections going into every TypeCon.

A number of South Americans have attended TypeCon, and one board member, Claudio Rocha, is from Brazil. So Sao Paulo would be a more likely venue than Tijuana.

hrant's picture

We've had this exact same discussion before, but the Typophile search isn't working properly, and I'm too lazy/bored to rehash all the reasons why I think Tijuana is a much better option than anywhere in South America (at least until SoTA really gets its feet internationally wet).

Get in touch with Jorge de Buen, and you'll have the best Typecon to date.

hhp

dezcom's picture

I guess Tijuana is an easy drive from LA?

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

>at least until SoTA really gets its feet internationally wet

Once again Canada gets lumped in with the US - no wonder they all hate us up there :-)

dezcom's picture

With all the type folks in Canada, it seems like a good choice. I don't know which city would be best though. Toronto?

ChrisL

Si_Daniels's picture

Yep, we did Toronto in 2002. Hence the smiley.

Cheers, Si

hrant's picture

Chris: Yeah, that explains how I drove to Thessaloniki, twice.

Simon: Please note the "really". It's a magically useful qualifier. Really.

hhp

Ale Paul's picture

Seattle is the farest point of US we have from South America :) (between 17 and 26 hours from Buenos Aires). Anyway I think I ll go next year.... but San Diego or Tijuana sounds more funny and less rainy for me :P

Si_Daniels's picture

>Tijuana sounds more funny and less rainy for me :P

Seattle is 'funny' but in a different way. As for the rain that's a myth designed to keep the Californians away (sorry Hrant) - sure it's gray and damp between October 1 and June 1st, but NYC gets more annual rainfall. First week of August is a safe bet, and my guess is that the weather will be more comfortable in Seattle than Tijuana at that time of the year. Not that the weather really matters - my forecast "72 and fluorescent" inside the hotel.

Nick Shinn's picture

72 and fluorescent

LOL!

Nick Shinn's picture

I think Tijuana is a much better option than anywhere in South America

That may be, but without anyone from Tijuana getting involved with TypeCon first, it's unlikely to happen. Si waited for so long for TypeCon to come to Seattle, he went over to the other side.

dezcom's picture

"that explains how I drove to Thessaloniki, twice."

LOL!!!

ChrisL

PS: Wish I could drive to Thessaloniki once!

crossgrove's picture

I understand TJ is getting some culcha, once you get out of the immediate vicinity of the border. Might be a very fun location....

I'm biased; I'm a Mexican citizen.

hrant's picture

Hombre, TJ's culture is muy pero muy rico, and it's the Typecon kind.

> without anyone from Tijuana getting involved with TypeCon first

What is this, Israel versus Hzballa? Judging from what I've seen (like the Q&A after my talk at a university there about what it takes to design type) the merest flicker of attention on SoTA's part would trigger a deluge of interest. Giving that a shot certainly wouldn't take much energy; in fact with Jorge in the picture all it might take is one email. BTW, MS and Adobe aren't exactly "grass roots"...

And Simon: The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.

hhp

hrant's picture

Mira, just ask Armin Vit.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>And Simon: The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.

Where there's smog there's ire ;-)

Nick Shinn's picture

MS and Adobe aren’t exactly “grass roots”…

That's what we keep telling them, and hopefully next year MS will rise above the "24pt" sponsorship level.

ebensorkin's picture

Ha!

But we should get back to answering Josh's question I think.

I'll have a slash -

Best workshop - for me Adam Twardoch and Thomas Phinney talking about using MM tech with fontlab.

Best pressentation - That's hard because I liked nearly all of them and the vast majority were very strong. But if pushed I would make it a 3 way tie between John Benson talking about Dwiggins, Bruno Steinert talking about Adrien Frutiger & Mike Parker talking about Adrien Frutiger.

Best thing I learned... probably the current state of font tech/management and how difficult is is inevitably going to be to be even mostly on top of it.

My feeling is that you are only ever going to get 2% of what an attendee had available to them via typophile even if we all cooperate fully & disgourge all our fave info from TypeCon.

Nick Shinn's picture

The strangest moment: In a darkened room, Bruno Steinert at the lectern, reading the Book of Genesis to the hushed congregation, while we gazed in awe upon Adrian Frutiger's illustrations and book design for the same.

ebensorkin's picture

That was remarkably weird & cool.

dezcom's picture

Amen Brother Nick.

ChrisL

dberlow's picture

Hr: "the “blue-collar” (as you’ve put it) advantage that Typecon has over ATypI"

Sadly, the gap is widening as A continues to put it's money into professional managment, turning the content into a Sponsor-Feast of lessening interest to the constituents at the required price point. Or as V.P. Hudson put it, you "Must be willing to work with others" or you can't speak. Good for a miner's convention perhaps, but you end up with a majority of content from folks who are willing to be herded together intellectually, which basically means the food and weather has got to be good, or else. The other option seems to be getting on the programme commitee, allowing you to appoint yourself to as many sessions as you want, something I never had the "class" to do even when I was both sponsoring and organizing my little butt off.

An example of this content mismanagement is the Tech thingy, where one 1 hr. session would do for all the "Table Editor Wars", but instead it's 3-4 hours of developers, giving a demo, some of which are about "automatic" OT (like du-udes, how much do you need to know, (in person), about something that's automatic?!). This one's not for me, being more interested in things like CT vs. Quartz, Optical scaling for midgets, and the Em as a unit of thought.

"Tijuana" ??? They don't have a four-star conference center there which is why I suggested Cancun. And no, I'm not organizing for a summer conference there, that would be stupid.

hrant's picture

I do agree with some of your perspective on ATypI. On the other hand,
Typecon itself has been veering towards the ATypI model in some ways...

Cancun?! Spoken like a true right coaster. Guys, just spend the extra couple of hundred, forego the 50s-Cuba of the 90s, and see something real (like grade-A bicultural graffiti) on your breaks from the oversized margaritas and guacamole nachos. Cancun isn't a town, it's a really big wetbar.

I've stayed at the Grand Hotel Tijuana (which is a short drive from San Diego, so you can guess at the quality of the weather there) and I suspect it would work out, but I admit that's an inexpert evaluation (for one thing I don't know if the audio-visual technicals are in place). But if the technicals are there, it's El Venue (for Typecon if not for ATypI).

hhp

hrant's picture

A parallel to Cancun tourism:
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28470

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>An example of this content mismanagement is the Tech thingy

I think this is somewhat insulting to the volunteers (Tiffany, Tom, and John Hudson before) who've put in many hours pulling these forums together. I've been involved in three or four of these, and I don't recall seeing a single submission from you or anyone associated with the Font Bureau.

John Hudson's picture

David: Or as V.P. Hudson put it, you “Must be willing to work with others” or you can’t speak.

It is a good thing that people can go and read what I actually wrote, David. I never said that willingness to work with others was a prerequisite to speaking at an ATypI conference, I said it was a prerequisite to getting involved with organising an ATypI conference. It is simply a practical observation: they are collaborative efforts.

John Hudson's picture

David: Sadly, the gap is widening...

Hrant: On the other hand, Typecon itself has been veering towards the ATypI model in some ways…

So is it widening or narrowing? Reports I hear from attendees of both conferences suggest that it is indeed narrowing, and that doesn't surprise me at all. I suspect TypeCon will become more and more like ATypI simply because the grassroots enthusiasm and verve that pulls off something like the first TypeCon or pulls off TypeLab or pulls off the first Font Technology Forum (Leipzig) is not sustainable. Things become institutionalised in order to continue to happen, and there is a constant tension between what is gained in terms of sustainability and what is lost in terms of experimentation and immediacy. Some of us do our time in the institution, trying to balance these things, and some of us (Jean François, myself, many other ATypI board members) do so despite grave doubts about even the wisdom of perpetuating the institution, but in an effort to see if it can be improved. Other people just complain a lot, which can be helpful too.

After the Font Technology Forum in Leipzig, David, you came up to me and told me that it was the only worthwhile part of the conference. Now you are telling me that what that evolved into -- the TypeTech Forum -- is 'content mismanagement'. Also in Leipzig, Erik Spiekermann suggested to me that the best type conference would consist of about 50-100 people with a few projectors and screens in a warehouse. No caterers. No 'official conference hotel'. No association. No conference planners. No programme committee. Just the right people getting together to talk about the best ways of doing things and to share information.

I basically agree with that. And I think it would happen once, and if one tried to do it more than once it would start to assume an institutional structure and would follow TypeCon into ATypIdom. I remember when Petr van Blokland was elected to the ATypI board, and he expressed discomfort: that he had gone from being a revolutionary to being part of the establishment. I told him then that it is the purpose of every revolution to create a new establishment.

My view of ATypI is this: it is going to need to change and to become something new, but in order to do that it needs to be structurally changed. The ways in which decisions are made need to be freed up and made more democratic and transparent. Fifty-years worth of ossification and outdated statutes need to be broken down, and then members have to want to take control of the association. And all the while, the thing has to be kept afloat financially. I think its great that people are talking about what they like and dislike about ATypI and what they think it should do differently, because that conversation needs to happen. But after two years on the board, my ambitions are pretty much limited to structural change, to allow others to take control of the future of the association.

When my term on the board ends, and Erik's term ends, perhaps we'll go find that warehouse.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Also in Leipzig, Erik Spiekermann suggested to me that the best type conference would consist of about 50-100 people with a few projectors and screens in a warehouse.

I love it! TypeScrum!

Si

John Hudson's picture

TypeScrum!

Add to my list of no caterers, no official hotel, no etc. no trademarkable name.

Stephen Coles's picture

The Type Conference With No Name

dezcom's picture

If there are no caterers, then it can't be scrumptious.

ChrisL

scruggsdesign's picture

Thanks for your comments everyone. It's obvious there is no experience like being there. I will have to make next year my 1st TypeCon experience.

Josh

hrant's picture

John, are you implying that David and I agree as a rule?!
Anyway, the gap between Typecon and ATypI could be
getting narrower or wider, but they could still be both
going in the wrong or right direction!

> Things become institutionalised in order to continue to happen
&
> it is the purpose of every revolution to create a new establishment.

These are classic Western fallacies.

> Fifty-years worth of ossification and outdated statutes need to
> be broken down, and then members have to want to take control

Aaah, how nice it would be to hear you admit that about the alphabet,
chirography, etc... Not that I think Control is the point of life though.
But certain people are only capable of being critical of things they
don't already own. It's OK - the world needs all kinds.

hhp

Jonathan Clede's picture

I would definitely go to Typecon in Tijuana. It's a hell of a lot more convenient than Boston or Seattle, though I realize that this is not true for many of us. And there's so much wonderful lettering there that is so genuine and alive!

John Hudson's picture

If there are no caterers, then it can’t be scrumptious.

Sure it can, it just needs to be located close to some good restaurants.

John Hudson's picture

These are classic Western fallacies.

So what is the classic Eastern counter example? The Cultural Revolution?

hrant's picture

Large warehouses close to good restaurants?
A type conference in downtown LA, yay!

> counter example?

There you go again.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>If there are no caterers, then it can’t be scrumptious.
>Sure it can, it just needs to be located close to some good restaurants.

I'm sure we can convince the local roach-coach/catering-trucks to stop by - however they may up their prices when they see the line of expensive Beemers and Audis parked up outside the warehouse.

As an alternative to the warehouse space I was thinking we could use a largish bar/nightclub during the day - they could provide some nice pub-grub and other "refreshments", and such a location might help convince the typorati to hang around into the evening. I'll suggest this to Tamye.

John Hudson's picture

John, are you implying that David and I agree as a rule?!

No, I was just drawing attention to the fact that we had two contradictory statements about the comparative relationship of TypeCon and ATypI. Both of them are interesting statements, but they can't both be true or, rather, in order to both be true they need to be talking about different aspects of the two conferences.

But I really think David just wants to give ATypI a hard time -- perhaps for good reasons --, and I find it bemusing that his biggest target is the TypeTech Forum which a) is not part of the ATypI conference, b) is not planned by the conference programme committee, and c) is run by three people whom you can expect to be very involved in next year's TypeCon conference in Seattle.

dezcom's picture

I am not sure how a venue is picked for either AtypI or TypeCon but I imagine it starts with some grassroots interest at the locations who want it to be there. This means a core of zealots who are willing to bust their butts to make it happen and have the contacts and wherewithall to do it. This hardcore group are of course volunteers and willing to sweat blood for free to make the event a success. I assume there might be competing groups from various cities and countries pushing for their own region.
So, I imagine if their were such a hardcore group of volunteers in either Tijuans or Cancun, or Brisbaine or Tuscaloosa, that they could make their case and do the work.
I, for one, am very grateful to the folks who have put forth the tremendous effort it took to make the 2 Typecons happen which I have been to. I applaud their effort and wish them a speedy transfusion to replenish their blood count! I am sure the same is true for AtypI events, TDC events--some of them are the same core people who continually give of themselves. Certainly everyone on the SoTA board needs a solid round of applause from the rest of us who have been able to reap the harvest of their labor.

Bravo to all those who make things happen!

ChrisL

dberlow's picture

Atypi Is headed, from 500-700 people to 200-400. TypeCon is headed from 50-100 to who knows, 400-500 is likely to be a minimum.

"the TypeTech Forum which a) is not part of the ATypI conference," lol. This...is a distinction that very very few people would recognize, anywhere. Anyone here who can tell from the web site that the Tech forum is a separate entity? raise your mice.

"c) is run by three people whom you can expect to be very involved in next year’s TypeCon conference in Seattle."

And?

"After the Font Technology Forum in Leipzig, David, you came up to me and told me that it was the only worthwhile part of the conference"

You have to pay attention John, a.) I got in for free, b.) just about the same content was offered then as now...but it was fresh.

Miss Tiffany's picture

TypeTech is separate insofar as it is a mini-conference leading up to ATypI and is, similar to the workshops at TypeCon, an additional fee for those who wish to attend.

This is my first year being involved with TypeTech as an organizer, so I cannot speak for past years. I hope Thomas or Simon respond as they understand the topics to a level that I do not.

That said, this year the hope was to have content for intermediate to advanced people who wish to spend 2 days delving deeper into the various topics. Given that the talks are not longer than 1.5 hours (except those that also have tuturials) and not shorter than .5 hours, they are to some extent introductory. But, that is not to say they are introductory for someone who has never designed type.

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