advice establishing The Australian Typography Club

noftus's picture


I am a type enthusiast living in Sydney Australia, and have been frustrated by the lack of organisations and interest groups inspired by our wonderful world of typography.

Rather than get frustrated, I have decided to do something about it, and am going to establish an informal club called The Australian Typography Club. Inspired by organisations like The Typographic Circle, and Type Club of Toronto, the purpose of our club will be to promote choosing, using, and creating great typography.

The short version of this thread is that I am seeking advice and direction regarding:

  • setting up a typography club
  • knowledge of the type scene in Australasia
  • general guidance

If you can help, please read on!


In the world of typography, I am just another keen user (a mere nobody). What's worse, I write quite messy (but that's another thread). I am however a very capable person, and run a publishing design studio in Sydney. I will make sure The Australian Typography Club succeeds.

For the past couple of months, I scoured high and low to find any sort of organisations, group, or course concerned with type. Bonus points for anything in Sydney. Results:

There is The Australia Graphic Design Association (AGDA). Many have their views on AGDA - and I have heard them being described as inaccessible or irrelevant. Most importantly, I do not believe there is a focus group concerned with typography. To be honest, I'm a little hesitant to contact these people.

There is an online community Australian INFront. This is a great online only community, with respect of typography.

Education-wise: There are the usual type subjects taught as part of tertiary courses. Various industry short courses also exist, for example run by AFTRS "Typography for the Screen". Oh dear, but this is run in Melbourne.

If you're aware of other organisations, groups or courses relating to type in Australia, please let me know!

The mission of our club will be to promote choosing, using, and creating great typography.

On a day-to-day level, the purpose of the club would be to create a real-life community for type enthusiasts to meet, collaborate, and learn. Meetings would be held periodically (in my studio if needed), where Australian typography enthusiasts of all ages can discuss choosing, using, and creating great typography.

As a 27 year-old, I have a personal interest to get younger professionals / uni students involved. The type scene exists in Australia. There's a type gene in our DNA - we just have to get together.

As an informal, not for profit, general interest club, I would imagine that the membership would steer it's direction over time. It however firstly needs to be established.

The following are 3 issues I would love advice with. Please help!

==> Issue 1 of 3: What is Australian Type?
When it comes to type, Australia is no New York or Amsterdam. Heck, we're only 220 years old. Compared to other cities, there is little historical culture. How can we define Australian Type? What is it? Is there such a thing? Where have we come from, and where are we going? Is it even important that there is such as thing as Australian type?

==> Issue 2 of 3: Attracting the right leaders
We would love to attract respected and knowledgeable type industry leaders to be involved in the club in some way. Those in Industry, type designers, foundries, educators. Who are these people in Australia?

From Industry:
Developers: I am aware of Elliot Harper, Chapter Rep of the Sydney Adobe InDesign Users Group. Also Mike McHugh, Creative Systems Engineer at Adobe - a fantastic Adobe CS trainer.

Agencies: My knowledge of type specialist in design agencies in Australia is limited. There are of course highly respected agencies like Frost Design, and others specialising specifically in type, magazine and newspaper redesign. Problem is: I am not aware of who the gurus are.

Type Designers / Foundries:
Unfortunately drawing major blanks here. Kris Sowerby of KLIM fame is from New Zealand. That's the closest I get.

They lurk around teaching courses in places such as Billy Blue and TAFE Enmore amongst others. They know their stuff. With more homework I can find out these peoples names', but would love some help.

Attracting these people involves inviting them to contribute at meetings with talks, help set up the club, or merely come along for the ride, if they're at all interested. Remember it's about choosing, using, and creating.

==> Issue 3 of 3: Getting members to join
Get issue 2 right, and this one should be quite easy.

For industry professionals: word could spread with the right seeds planted.

For young professionals and uni students, from first hand experience I know there are plenty of young enthusiasts out there. Promoting typography to up and comers is only positive for the industry. Quite easy and effective to contact design colleges, I also hear a community announcement on FBI radio etc.


So all in all, I'm keen to hear any words of advice, direction, or comments about the ambition for The Australian Typography Club.

...especially in relation to the 3 issues raised, and names of people / type designers / foundries / gurus.

Is there anyone from other type clubs who also could provide advice?

Thanks for any help and advice.

*edited to expand scope to Australia (was initially Sydney based only)

A Forum has been established. Please help out if you can!

James Arboghast's picture

Simon—that sounds great. Keep at it (making fonts).

Tiffany—I'm sorry I'm such a mess lately. It's good to know there are other non-drinkers at Typecon. So thanks for filling me in, it makes a difference.

Nick—thanks for the advice. I agree free membership for type designers, or any other kind of member, isn't the way to go. We need as much revenue as we can get. Not looking forward to board meetings either.

Pardon me people, I'm feeling very sick and incoherent.

j a m e s

Sye's picture

james - thanks.

nick - i totally agree.

Keith Morris's picture

Keith Morris is a lettering artist in Sydney specialising in brandmarks, logos and general lettering mostly for FMCG. ><

Keith Morris's picture

In conjunction with Russell Bean in Sydney Keith has designed typefaces listed at My Fonts under Bean & Morris. Also custom fonts for clients.

Sye's picture

So... it's 2014, did anything ever happen with this? I never heard. We had a TypeCamp down here in 2012 which I was lucky enough to go to, and I am aware of lots more Aussie type people, but nothing like a 'club' that I can think of.

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