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12 November 2012

Were you a socialising bunch?

It’s been a few weeks now, so you may have forgotten that many of you filled in a brief survey when I joined GraphicDesign& founders Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright at TYPO London in October. I, on the other hand, have been sifting through your responses – 181 of them, to be exact – with great interest, and some surprise.

Who could have predicted, for instance, that fully two-thirds of respondents – 67% – would be women? While this may well reflect the overall gender breakdown of the conference, it is equally likely to reflect self-selection on the part of female conference attendees, or a greater tendency on our parts – as women – to distribute the survey to women rather than men! We are less likely to have influenced whether UK citizens or people from other parts of the world got the survey so here, the split was nearly equal, with Brits accounting for 49% of the 181 respondents and the international crowd for 51%.



Of the 89 British respondents, an overwhelming majority were left-leaning in their political affiliations. One-third reported having voted Labour in the last general election, 17% Lib Dem and 14% Green, compared to just 6% who reported voting Conservative. Likely reflecting the high proportion of students – students accounted for over half of those surveyed – 28% of British respondents reported that they hadn’t voted in the last election. This data begs the question: are designers generally a liberal bunch, or did the theme ‘Social’ appeal particularly to liberal designers? But this in itself is a simplistic, and misleading, set of propositions. Statistically speaking, people who choose, and are able, to attend a conference in London – whether British or international – are more likely to be from urban areas, which tend to vote liberally. Thus, we’d predict similar results with regard to political affiliation at both the TYPO Berlin and TYPO San Francisco conferences too.



Likewise, it’s impossible to say for certain why a staggering majority of respondents – 90% – affirmed that design bears a social responsibility and that designers should be concerned about the messages they shape. Did the conference theme draw exclusively socially-conscious designers to TYPO London? Did we happen upon the 181 designers who are fervently committed to the social impact of design? Did the survey, in asking so directly about social consciousness in design, prime respondents to answer in the affirmative? Only one brave individual admitted to thinking that designers shouldn’t be concerned about the messages they shape. Interestingly, though, of the respondents who answered ‘yes’ to both questions, 32% had nevertheless worked for clients whose business practices or political aims they disagreed with.



On success, the results were more decisive. Personal satisfaction was overwhelmingly reported as the most important factor in success, with 60% of respondents ranking it first or second. Social value and client satisfaction were a close second and third – 44% and 43% ranked these first or second, respectively. Appropriately for such a socially concerned sample of designers, the least important factor in success was career advancement.

Many thanks to those of you who agreed to be contacted and/or interviewed in the future – I look forward to involving you in my extended research on designers, which will be published by GraphicDesign& as a GraphicDesign& Social Science title next year.

– Nikandre Kopcke

25 October 2012

TYPO London lettering bike tour with Erik Spiekermann & Phil Baines

To round off the design conference, Erik Spiekermann and Phil Baines, professor of graphic design at Central Saint Martins, led a guided typographic bike tour through London. Taking off at the British Library, it took the group through Bloomsbury (School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square (Coliseum & St Martin’s Schools) and Victoria (New Scotland Yard) to St Bart’s and Smithfield and King’s Cross. Among the participants who braved the pouring rain were: Tony Chambers, editor of Wallpaper, who tweeted his impressions for wallpaper.

Phil has also prepared a leaflet to follow the tour: PublicLettering.pdf

19 October 2012

TYPO London 2012 has commenced!

The seats of Logan Hall and the those of the second stage at Jeffery Hall are taken. Opening speakers Sara De Bondt in the main hall and Anna Gerber & Britt Iversen from Visual Editions on the second stage kicked off this year’s TYPO London conference. Today and tomorrow more than 30 speakers will investigate the social impact on design.

Typo London 2012, "Social" Sara De Bondt

Sara De Bondt opening this year’s TYPO London conference with her speach “The Office of Statistics“, photo by Gerhard Kassner

There will be a live streaam for those who can not make ist this year:  At twelve o’clock you can watch Anthony Burrill’s speach “Working Hard and Being Nice to People” at or live stream site. There will be further covering of the conference to which everyone is invited to follow or to contribute. Select your favourite channel to follow the two day summit:

For the spontaneous: There are some day passes left for today or tomorrow. TYPO London takes place at the Institute of Education LondonUniversity of London.

16 October 2012

GraphicDesign& TYPO London survey: Are you a socialiser?

As a social scientist, I’m interested in something you probably rarely think about – who are designers? All sorts, you might say. Like other creative industries, graphic design has a reputation for heterogeneity and inclusivity. It isn’t who you are that matters, but rather what you create.

Nikandre Kopcke speaking at the GraphicDesign& launch, Design Museum, London copyright Richard Hubert Smith

But does who you are influence what you create, and how you perceive your role as a designer? As a commercial industry, graphic design shapes public opinion on everything from politics to artificial sweeteners. In this sense, all graphic design is inherently social. But do some designers see their practice as bearing more of a social responsibility than others? If so, who and why?

The publishing house GraphicDesign& asked me to investigate this for TYPO London. On Friday and Saturday from 5-6 pm, I’ll be distributing a mini survey that aims to find out a bit about who you are, and how you perceive your role as a designer. The survey is anonymous and won’t take you more than five minutes to complete. Please come by and fill one in – the research will be more interesting and robust the more people participate! The findings will be posted on the GraphicDesign& news pages and the TYPO London blog in the days following the conference.

The TYPO London survey is a precursor to a much larger research project due to be published as a GraphicDesign& Social Science title next year. This will use gender as a starting point to examining who graphic designers are and how success is defined in the industry. GraphicDesign& is a pioneering publishing house dedicated to creating intelligent, vivid books that explore how graphic design connects with all other things and the value that it brings.

Please participate!

Drama Studio/Creativity Awards Lounge
19, 20 October

by Nikandre Kopcke, social scientist

16 October 2012

How to get your badge

The badge is your key to TYPO London, it makes sure that you can enter the conference at any time without waiting. You can pick up your badge at the registration desk in the foyer of the Institute of Education. All you need to bring is your registration confirmation. Conference times are from 10:00 to 21:00, but beware if you want to see the first talk on Friday, better be early. We open doors at 08:30 am. (Photo: Gerhard Kassner)

12 October 2012

Make it your schedule

The programme for the two conference days has been finalised. Opening speaker will be London-based Belgian graphic designer, publisher and editor Sara de Bondt, and the inimitable Irma Boom will round off the conference. Between these two cornerstones, participants can look forward to a packed programme in the Logan Hall, the Jeffery Hall and the Drama Studio / Creativity Awards Lounge at the Institute of Education.

TYPO London map of conference site

We will have a small coffee bar at the venue in case you need to replenish your energy, as well as a number of exhibitions to peruse. We strongly advise you to plan your schedule beforehand if you don’t want to run the risk of missing something!


If you log in to MyTYPO you can create your own schedule by ticking the grey balloon behind each speaker. Ticked balloons turn yellow, reminding you at a glance  which presentations you want to follow. Another click on the balloon reveals the number of TYPO visitors planning to attend that particular talk.

TYPO London ticked speaker

MyTYPO offers still more benefits: You can see who else registered for the conference and get unlimited access to videos of the main presentations, even after the conference has ended.

There are three days left to register before the ticket price range rises to last minute. Register now and save … 


12 October 2012

Calligraphy workshop: Writing with the goose quill

Again we will have a calligraphy workshop with Andreas Frohloff, the Head of FSI Type Department. The topic this time is writing with the goose quill. Places in this workshop are strictly limited. If you want to take part, make sure to be there early. The workshop starts on SAT 10:00, Jeffery Hall.

10 October 2012

Let’s get together @ Cicada

Have some drinks on us and mix with the speakers and other attendess. After the last talk on Saturday evening, we’ll head over to Cicada Bar, 132-136 St John Street, London EC1V 4JT. Free admission for all. (Photo: Gerhard Kassner)

Head over to Google Maps to see how to get there.

10 October 2012

Joshua Davis’ Social Grid

Joshua Davis came up with a very special idea for his TYPO London talk. He developed something he calls The Social Grid. Joshua asks you to send in artwork based on this grid, which he intends to integrate into his presentation. For your online-submissions check: www.behance.net/gallery/244-the-Social-Grid/5319191.

You can also participate at TYPO. Look out for Joshua’s table in the foyer where paper, pen and instructions are waiting for you. Hand in your patterns until Friday evening directly to Joshua or our lovely TYPO crew.

The Social Grid, a request for HELP ! from Joshua Davis on Vimeo.

10 October 2012

Social Publishing with Blurb

Blurb LogoOne of this years partners of TYPO London is Blurb, an online book publisher. A blurb is a short summary accompanying a creative work; the word was coined in 1907 by American humorist Gelett Burgess. It may refer to the text on the back of a book but can also be seen on DVD and video cases, web portals and news websites. A blurb may introduce a newspaper or magazine feature story (source: wikipedia).

Blurb believe that it should not take a lot of time, technical skills, financial resources, or influential friends to publish books. Consequently Blurb developed a creative publishing service that allows anyone to be an author, be it a blogger, cook, photographer, parent, traveler, poet, pet owner, marketer …

TYPO London: Blurb Bestseller

One of the current Blurb best selling books is “Terretoires Intimes” a book on places around Paris by a French photographic association 

Blurb publishers passionately believe in the joy of making books – reading them, sharing them and selling them. Holding a finished book with ones name on the cover is a truly amazing feeling; it’s one of those experiences everyone should have. Getting other people interested in buying one‘s own publication adds extra pride and Blurb put a lot of effort into the sharing and community thought.

TYPO London: Blurb Bestseller

Another best selling volume is Steffi Rauchwater‘s  ”Nicht erschrecken!“ about the acquaintance with beasts and monsters, a counsellor in three languages 

As software people, designers, and publishing professionals are at the top of Blurb‘s hierarchy, both is in focus: the easy making and the professional look of the books. Everybody can publish his or her subject at Blurb. There are 35 subject categories with more than 180.000 self published books in the Blurb library.  “Social” is an important subject in Blurb‘s online library. Fifty pages with volumes covering social topics account for the overall increasing numbers of self publishing, let alone 25 pages coming up for the subject of “social design”.

There is even a volume on TYPO conferences Berlin, London and SanFrancisco 2011 & 2012 in the Blurb library. Graphic artist Eva-Lotta Lamm sketch noted the three TYPO conferences thus catching a unique sample of current graphic ideas and concepts. The book features talks from Michael Bierut, Tina Roth-Eisenberg (Swissmiss), Christoph Niemann, Khoi Vinh and many more:

TYPO Lodon: Blurb TYPO sketchnotes by Eva-Lotta Lamm

Sketchnotes from TYPO “Shift” Berlin 2011, TYPO “Places” London 2011 and TYPO “Connect” San Francisco 2012. The double page shows the sketch notes from the talks of Marina Willer and Morag Myerscough of of last years TYPO London.

Meet Blurb at their booth at the foyer area and see for yourself what they have created and who they are. On both conference days Blurb will introduce themselves at 11 o‘clock a.m. in the drama studio.

This years TYPO London is set up to start next week and it will boost its audience once more with the key people working in different areas of creativity, media and design. Catch opinions, processes and ideas that will re-shape the way you think, work and develop as a creative practitioner or student. Make sure not to miss it. Register now!

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