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15 October 2012

Four (or so) Questions to … Lucienne Roberts

Lucienne Roberts entered the fray of design practice with a utopian zeal that has never left her. In both sans+baum and her current studio LucienneRoberts+ her intention is to make accessible, engaging graphic design with a socially aware agenda. Influenced as much by feminism as Swiss typography, she believes that ethical design is defined by its ability to increase quality of life alongside the messages it conveys, and places emphasis on clear thinking, visual simplicity and the application of craft skills. Projects include exhibition design for the Wellcome Collection, British Council and The Women’s Library; identities for the Petrie Museum, the David Miliband campaign and AVA Academia; and book design for the Design Museum, Triangle Arts Trust and Panos London.

Alongside studio-based work, Lucienne writes, lectures and publishes on her subject. A signatory of the First Things First 2000 manifesto, her books include The Designer and the Grid [Rotovision, 2002] and Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design [AVA Academia, 2006]. Her latest book, Design Diaries: Creative Process in Graphic Design [Laurence King, 2010] was co-written with design educator and writer Rebecca Wright.

With Rebecca, Lucienne is co-founder of GraphicDesign&, 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.

For her presentation at TYPO London (October 19, 2012, 11:00 am in Jeffery Hall), Lucienne will be joined by Rebecca and the social scientist Nikandre Kopcke.


1. Which work are you particularly proud of? Which work best represents your style or approach?

Given the theme of this year’s TYPO London it’s apposite to show work that I am proud has made a difference ‘socially’. Here’s an old favourite, an annual review for Breakthrough Breast Cancer when I was their design consultant. At the time one in twelve women in the UK developed breast cancer so using this as a theme seemed obvious.

Twelve photographers were invited to work with us. Shown here are the contributions from Clare Park and Fleur Olby. Fleur’s is a heartrending shot taken in response to hearing about a woman who had frozen food for her family before she died.

This text spread is really indicative of my approach to typography. Ever since reading Jan Tschichold I’ve been interested in the relationship between abstract art and typographic layout. Here the graphic interventions are restrained – a combination of alignments and large blocks of colour guide the reader around the text.

The subject matter was a bit gory but I took real delight in working on the recent Wellcome Collection exhibition Brains: the Mind as Matter and making the material as accessible and engaging as possible. The show’s focus was not what brains do to us, but what we have done to brains in the name of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change. Slicing, cutting, collecting and classifying were our starting point. We wanted to ‘preserve’ the exhibition title and visited the Royal College of Surgeons to learn how specimens are made. Shown here is the entrance and our title graphic. Each letter is made of ‘slices’ of Perspex contained in an acrylic box filled with glycerin and water. The refractive index matches that of real specimens so at different angles each letter appeared in multiples.


The exhibition wall texts alluded to diagrams and labels, incorporating leader lines and typographic devices to code each exhibition section while long inventory lists of the material on display were positioned at the end of each wall.


I am in love with books so am pleased to have written several on graphic design related subjects and be co-founder of the publishing house GraphicDesign&. My favourite book as author is probably my first, The Designer and the Grid in which I indulged an ongoing obsession with abstraction, structure and systems both in terms of the book’s layout and its content.

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15 October 2012

Four (or so) Questions to … Marius Watz


Marius Watz is a Norwegian artist working with computer code as a creative material. His work is concerned with the synthesis of form as the product of generative processes, and is known for its hard-edged geometries and vivid colors. Watz has exhibited his work widely at venues like Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Todaysart (The Hague), ITAU Cultural (Sao Paulo), Museumsquartier (Vienna), and Galleri ROM (Oslo). He is a lecturer in Interaction Design at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Marius’ presentation »Co-discovering with Machines (Or: Algorithms, our Beautiful and Problematic Friends)« will be held on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm in Jeffery Hall.


1. Which work are you particularly proud of? Which work best represents your style or approach?

Pride is a fickle and occasionally dangerous vice, but as a creator you’re bound to suffer from it. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of lo-fi 3D printing using a Makerbot, which I’m excited about even if I don’t know exactly what these objects are yet. They are conceived as objects, but I also like them for their graphic qualities.

Photo © Marius Watz


Photo © Marius Watz


Photo © Marius Watz


2. The theme of this year’s TYPO London is »Social«. Do you consider design to be a social discipline? Which design project do you consider to be particularly socially relevant?

I believe that design is inherently social, whether it deals with issues of communication or providing solutions for human needs. No people, no design.


3. A conference like TYPO London is in itself an obvious example for a social event: what are you especially looking forward to?

Personally, I’m looking forward to being around designers and thinking about design processes for a change. I spent years participating in design culture before realizing I was not in fact a designer, but even though my art practice often has little to do with that body of knowledge I am still fascinated by principles of design.


4. Required reading/watching: What are currently your favorite interesting/beautiful publications, exhibitions, books, movies and/or websites?

 As a person who is deeply embedded in the fractured world of social media I have been reduced to a consumer of hyperlinks, typically delivered in chunks of 140 characters. I currently read a fair amount about architecture while maintaining a guilty habit of watching documentaries via online streaming. Last favorite exhibition: Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim.


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!

9 October 2012

Four (or so) Questions to … Anthony Burrill

Anthony Burrill

Anthony Burrill has gained a following in the design world for his innovative collaborations with friends and fellow artists, designers, print-makers and film-makers. Burrill works across a range of media, including posters, moving image and three-dimensional work. His persuasive, up-beat illustration and design has been commissioned by cultural, social and commercial clients around the world from New York, to London to Tokyo.

He combines an instinctive handling of colour and composition with a witty approach to words. He has worked on advertising campaigns and posters for clients such as The Economist, the British Library and London Underground. He regularly collaborates with musicians and animators to make films, music promos and animations, using his distinctive visual vocabulary and passion for fusing sound and image. His installations and 3-D work have been commissioned by Colette in Paris and The Design Museum in London among others. Printmaking is an important part of Burrill’s practice and he creates limited edition prints with slogans that have become mantras for the design community and beyond. One of theses slogans inspired the title for his talk, which will take place at TYPO London 2012 on October 19, 2012, 12:00 pm in Logan Hall: »Working Hard and Being Nice to People« .


1. Which work are you particularly proud of? Which work best represents your style or approach?

In 2010 I collaborated with Happiness Brussels to print a poster using oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. The poster reads ‘OIL & WATER DO NOT MIX’ – a simple statement. When you consider the way the poster was produced, it gives a deeper meaning and resonance. The poster became popular, people responded to the idea positively, the way it was produced and what it said. It’s the simplest ideas that have most effect. The idea and execution were strongly linked with each other. The poster makes a comment in a clever and engaging way, this is something that I try to do with all my work.

Poster "Oil & Water do not mix" © A. Burrill


Poster "Oil & Water do not mix" © A. Burrill


2. The theme of this year’s TYPO London is »Social«. Do you consider design to be a social discipline? Which design project do you consider to be particularly socially relevant?

Design is an incredibly social discipline, it is about communication between human beings. My work wouldn’t exist without the network of friends and collaborators I am part of. I think the ‘WORK HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE’ poster is a social project. It has gained widespread recognition and popularity, escaping the ‘design’ world and becoming known not because it is a piece of graphic design, but as a piece of communication. The message resonates with a wide range of people, it is a positive message, simply communicated.

Poster 'WORK HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE' © A.Burrill


3. A conference like TYPO London is in itself an obvious example for a social event: what are you especially looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to hearing my contemporaries speaking about their work and experiences. Everybody has a fascinating story and their own approach and it’s always fascinating to see how people have developed their work and the way in which it engages with a broader society.


4. Required reading/watching: What are currently your favorite interesting/beautiful publications, exhibitions, books, movies and/or websites?

My favourite thing to do is walking in the countryside where I live, my family and I have recently moved to a new house and I’m gain inspiration from the surrounding countryside. As for exhibitions, I recently saw new work by Antony Gormley at White Cube in London. The new pieces are sculptures of simple human forms constructed out of numerous small metal boxes, almost like one of his regular pieces bitmapped at 72 dpi. The atmosphere in the gallery was calm, meditative and very inspiring. I’m currently reading ‘Publikation’, a biography of the band Kraftwerk by David Buckley, the book is exhaustive in its research, I’m a big fan of Kraftwerk, so it’s a real treat!

8 October 2012

Join a typographic bike tour with Erik Spiekermann

TYPO London: Cycling Erik

Follow Erik Spiekermann by bike through London and get to see typographic hot spots (Photograph: Susanna Dulkinys)

TYPO London’s facilitator Erik Spiekermann and Phil Baines, professor of typography at Central Saint Martins, invite nine TYPO attendees to follow them on a 2 hour lettering themed bike tour through Bloomsbury on Sunday, October 21st 2012. Get to know their favourite typographic sights: we will be starting at the British Library gates, heading through Bloomsbury (School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), pass Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square (Coliseum & St Martin’s Schools) and Victoria (New Scotland Yard) and then head north to St Bart’s and Smithfield to end up having a drink there or near King’s Cross.

We decided to give away a tenth spot to someone out there in the digital world. All you have to do is, answer the following question: What typographic London hot spot would you like to show Erik and why? Write it down in the comment field below until Tuesday 16th. We will draw one person on Wednesday, October 17th that has the chance to join Erik’s and Phil’s bike tour with the TYPO attendees.

Please note, that we don’t provide bikes and helmets. Participants need to have time on Sunday afternoon and a roadworthy bike.

If you were not the lucky devil who has won the competition: tickets are still available. Hurry up, regular ticket prices apply only until Oct 14th. Watch over 30 amazing speakers over two days and get inspired. Full speaker’s list: Kirsty Carter & Emma Thomas (A Practive For Everyday Life) • Rick Banks (Face37) • Paul Barnes (Commercial Type) • Béa Beste • Tim Beard (Bibliothèque) • Sara de Bondt • Irma Boom • Anthony Burrill • Matthew Butterick • Tony Chambers (Wallpaper*) • Patrick Cox • Joshua Davis • Noel Douglas (Occupy Design UK) • Ken Garland • Peter Gregson • James Jarvis • Rian Hughes (Device Fonts) • Hjalti Karlsson (karlssonwilker) • Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer) • Eike König (Hort) • Henrik Kubel (A2/SW/HK) • Gerry Leonidas • Simon Manchipp (SomeOne) • Sean McBride (Typekit) • Grant McCracken • Kate Moross • Vaughan Oliver •  Lucienne Roberts • Freda Sack (Foundry Types) • Mariana Santos & Mark McCormick (The Guardian) • Paula Scher (Pentagram) • Anna Gerber & Britt Iversen (Visual Editions) • Marius Watz. We will pick the other 9 lucky persons during TYPO London.

The random generator has picked Silvia! Congrats from the TYPO team. You’ll soon get an e-mail from us with all infos. Have fun and bike carefully.

8 October 2012

Four (or so) Questions to … Kirsty Carter & Emma Thomas


Entering a visual dialogue with the spectator: the works of London-based A Practice for Everyday Life draw international attention. Recent projects include the exhibition design and publication of “Bauhaus: Art as Life“ at Barbican Art Gallery and a new visual identity for Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. Working on everything from brand identity, print to signage, wayfinding and exhibition design, Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas enjoy investigating, exploring, collecting and experimenting to arrive at outcomes that surprise, delight and engage on many levels.

Currently they are working on the graphic identity of a new cross-disciplinary arts space in Hong Kong and the design of a major new retrospective publication for artist Linder. At  the TYPO London Kirsty and Emma will show us how their communication skills create settings that one feels inescapably drawn into. (Photo: Carol Sachs)

1. Which work are you particularly proud of? Which work best represents your style or approach?

As well as our work for The Hepworth Wakefield, Postmodernism and Tristram Shandy, which were featured in an earlier TYPO blog post here, there are a handful of other projects that we think represent us as an agency very well. In no particular order…

Title: Bauhaus: Art As Life
Project: Exhibition Design, Catalogue & Marketing Materials
Client: Barbican

Bauhaus: Art as Life at Barbican Art Gallery was the largest exhibition of Bauhaus work to be held in the UK for almost 40 years. Alongside architects Carmody Groarke, we were challenged to work within the Barbican Art Gallery’s complex layout to create an installation and graphic scheme that would lead visitors through an exhibition narrative encompassing over 400 Bauhaus works. Our design aimed to contextualise the content of the exhibition whilst avoiding pastiche. Graphically, it was informed by an awareness of the Bauhaus’ own principles of colour, structure and typography – painted walls, bold panels and supergraphics draw together objects, themes and ideas, and the typeface used throughout is a contemporary revival of the letterpress typeface used within the Bauhaus itself, Breite Grotesk.

Bauhaus exhibition at Barbican book cover © APFEL


Bauhaus exhibition at Barbican © APFEL


Bauhaus exhibition at Barbican marketing material © APFEL


Bauhaus exhibition at Barbican © APFEL


Title: The Art and Craft of Richard Woods
Project: Book Design
Client: Lund Humphries

This book showcases the work of Richard Woods, an artist and designer who practices at the convergence of a variety of disciplines ranging from architecture to furniture design—it’s a scrapbook of his works, ideas and production processes. We worked closely with Woods for the book and, after extensive dialogue and several visits to his studio, decided on a format that emphasised the strong visual character and impact of his work, with graphic interventions kept to a minimum. Photographs and installation shots are presented full-bleed, interspersed with sketches, working notes and facsimiles of press releases, email exchanges and magazine articles. Divider pages cut through the book as the only intervention amidst the assortment of collected ephemera, and on the cover, the title is silkscreened over an image from one of Woods’ works.

Richard Woods book – Lund Humphries © APFEL


Richard Woods book – Lund Humphries © APFEL


Richard Woods book – Lund Humphries © APFEL


Title: Design Research Unit 1942–72
Project: Book Design
Client: Koenig Books / Cubitt Gallery

Design Research Unit was formed in 1943 as the first ‘full service’ design consultancy in the UK, bringing together expertise in architecture, graphics and industrial design. Based on original research, this retrospective publication was produced to accompany last year’s touring exhibition about the DRU, curated by Michelle Cotton.

This project was a graphic designer’s dream to work on. Its design took its cues from a broad range of DRU materials including early studio documents, advertisements and commonly-used typefaces. The book is set mostly in Monotype Grotesque, which was used widely in their studio work, and Futura Schlagzeile is used on the cover and throughout as the headline typeface, echoing an early advertisement for DRU predecessor the Industrial Design Partnership. The cover displays a quote taken from a leaflet (c.1943) that Design Research Unit supplied to prospective clients, along with artists and designers, outlining what the agency stood for and how their design process worked.

Design Research Unit – Koenig Books / Cubitt Gallery © APFEL


Design Research Unit – Koenig Books / Cubitt Gallery © APFEL


Design Research Unit – Koenig Books / Cubitt Gallery © APFEL



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