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Manuel Krebs: The physiognomy of typefaces

Manuel takes us back in history on the evolution of physiognomy. His talk is based on the thesis that character descriptions of human beings can be used in the same way to describe typefaces. To judge the character by its appearance clearly falls into the system of stereotypes. In the examples he quotes it even goes so far as judging the personality of human beings by the silhouette of a person’s head, or by the shape of the human scull formed by its brain. Measuring and categorising were the tools of these so called pseudo scientific results.

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Ferdinand Ulrich: Hunt Roman – Touching Type

Ferdinand Ulrich erzählte über die Hunt Roman, zwischen 1961 und 1962 gestaltet von Hermann Zapf. Spannend dazu ist sein Forschungsprozess und sein daraus entstehendes Buch, das er als Diplomarbeit an der Universität der Künste Berlin gemacht hat.

ファーディナント・ウルリッヒはヘルマン・ツァップが、1961年から1962年にかけて作ったHunt Romanについて語り始めるにあたり、まずこの文字が作られるきっかけを作った、ジャック・シュタウファーという人物について述べる。

Tricia Treacy and Ashley John Pigford: Touch – The Vista Sans Wood Type Project Book

High tech and high touch, this project is very fitting in the spirit of this year’s conference.
Touch: The Vista Sans Wood Type Project was born out of Tricia Treacy and Ashley John Pigford’s mutual love for type, letterpress and fascination for experimenting with different creative processes and the joy of collaboration. The idea was to embrace the old and new, the traditional craft and technological digital and produce a hybrid form of typographic design. It would also involve a collaboration with various artists to see how they would visually interpret and respond.
So what was the deal?
Twenty letterpress artists, designers and printmakers around the world were each sent a five piece set of CNC-cut wood type letters plus paper.
They had to make an edition of letterpress prints and send them back by a said date. The letters were T-O-U-C-H.
And the catch?
Receiving a full set of everyone’s prints, being involved in a fantastic collaborative project and taking part in a stack of exhibitions and presentations. There is no catch. Everyone also got to keep the beautiful machine routed pieces of wood type.
The artist collaboration and what was produced are of course key to the project. But it’s also important to mention the concept and process in developing and creating the physical letters. Designed by Xavier Dupré, Emigre’s ‘Vista Sans’ typeface seemed right as it was designed as a contrast of graphic and mechanical form. This spoke to the project conceptually and stylistically. Each Vista Sans letter was then cut by a 3-axis CNC router customised and constructed by Ashley. Pretty impressive.
So after three years of hard work and a little help from Kickstarter, the self published ‘Touch: The Vista Sans Wood Type Project’ book has finally launched. Tricia and Ashley were absolutely thrilled to release their labour love here at TYPO Berlin.
Hot off the press, the artists involved haven’t even received a copy themselves.
The book is a capstone to the project, each with its own unique letterpress cover and  loving sewn by hand. But rest assured, if you couldn’t make it to the conference you can purchase it fromAmazon.com.
The aim was to inspire others to explore letterpress, typography and collaboration.
They have indeed. The creative cogs in my head are turning but as are Ashley and Tricia’s. Word is, they have already made start on their next project.
Maggie Tang

Van Bo Le-Mentzel: Karma Economy oder über die Notwendigkeit sich zu erheben

Karma Chakhs: nach Crowdfunding und Crowdsourcing kommt das Crowducing

Van Bo Le-Mentzel at TYPO Berlin 2013 © A. Blumhof

Van Bo Le-Mentzel hat es gerade rechtzeitig zu seinem Vortrag auf die TYPO geschafft. Vorher hat er sich noch schnell impfen lassen, weil er demnächst nach Sri Lanka reist. Aber dazu später mehr.

Er beginnt seinen Vortrag mit einer Geschichte. Es ist die Geschichte seiner Mutter aus Laos, die eigentlich gerne Sängerin in Frankreich oder sonst wo in Europa geworden wäre, stattdessen aber eine Schneiderlehre machte und nebenher putzen ging. So lernte sie seinen Vater kennen, einen Chinesen, mit dem sie in letzter Sekunde vor dem aufkeimenden Kommunismus erst nach Thailand und schließlich nach Europa floh. So kommt es, dass Van Bo Le-Mentzel in Berlin aufwächst, immer mit dem Versprechen seiner Mutter im Ohr, dass er es einmal gut haben wird. Er ist nach eigenen Aussagen ein Kind der 80er, lebte sich in der Graffiti-Szene aus und studierte später Architektur. Als Architekten kennt man ihn auch, vor allem als Erfinder der HARTZ IV MÖBEL. Er selbst bezeichnet sich als KARMA ECONOMIST.

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Michael Johnson: Gitarren und Grafik

Michael Johnson hält einen Vortrag über Gitarren und Grafik. Nicht wirklich. Eigentlich hält Michael Johnson einen Vortrag über Gitarrenmusik und deren Entwicklung in den letzten hundert Jahren. Das macht er nicht nochmal, sagt er, weil er dafür nämlich verdammt lange und verdammt viel üben musste. Sein Vortrag ist der Versuch, die Berührungspunkte von Gitarrenmusik und Grafikdesign geschichtlich zu verorten.

Florian Kaps: The impossible instant photo

Florian Kaps at Typo Berlin 2013 © G.Kassner

Florian Kaps talks about a phenomenon that we’ve forgotten for a long time: the Polaroid. For him, the adventure began few years back, when he found one at a fleamarket. Florian takes us back to the invention of the Polaroid by a genius called Edwin Land in 1972. It changed the world, as pictures could be printed instantly, it was a unique and personal item. Nevertheless, in nowadays’ society digital cameras are the king, so the Polaroid company was forced to shut down its last factory. At that time Florian had quit his job to become a Polaroid dealer, and he found out, that there was an international market for it. People got really excited at the idea of going back to the authentic feel and touch, to this peculiar object. This is when he started the Impossible Project with the former manager of the Polaroid company. Together they brought to life an innovative product which was real, unique, expensive, analog, yours and that you could share in real life: this product was the Polaroid film. They started developing all sorts of films such as 400 colours, only the blue colour and many others. They opened their first shop in New York in 2010 and hope to sell a million films by the end of 2013. They arere also going to launch ‘The impossible instant lab’ for Iphone, which will enable the instant development of Instagram pictures. There is a famous mantra in the advertising world: ‘sell or die’. I believe that Florian really sold it.

Héloise Jutteau

Kate Moross – There is no wall

Kate Moross at TYPO Berlin 2013 © G. Kassner

Kate Moross presents: The punk rock guide to business! What does the punk approach to work entail? Being good at bullshitting. Or to put it in a less in-your-face way – being adept at the art of improvisation.

Kate Moross is known for her illustration, design and art direction, but this talk focussed on the things she’s not so well-known for – video, photography, record label ownership, and all the other stuff she made up as she went along.

The process of discovery has been part of Kate Moross’ life and work, from childhood and onwards, into her professional life. She taught herself to code so she could sex up her Myspace page (Myspace, lol); she learned how to attach a camera to a microscope and film sugar, window cleaner and food dye to make a dreamy, kaleidoscopic music video; she became a “music visuals person” so she could go on tour with her favourite band; she discovered that to film an ice-cream you make one from mashed potato. Her career has been an exercise in bullshitting – in finagling and fudging; in not being afraid to venture into new territory, to learn as you go, to take a nutso brief and say “sure I can do that”.

The theme of Kate’s talk – “there is no wall” – was all about removing the mental limitations you place upon yourself as a creative. Most of us, when we talk about our work, define ourselves by the media we are comfortable in – as a photographer, or an illustrator, or a web designer, or a typographer. But really, as a designers, we are problem solvers. Our work always involves a set of constraints, and it’s our job to find solutions to those constraints and problems. We often come to a wall when we work – “I’m not a letterer, I can’t hand-draw this logo” – and the easiest thing to do is to stop and walk away from it. But Kate Moross doesn’t accept that – the wall is really only ever in your mind, and our minds are amazing, adaptive things.

So don’t be afraid to experiment, learn, hack, improvise, and maybe sometimes fail. Be comfortable, but not too comfortable. Challenging yourself keeps the creativity alive.

Kate is still learning, every day. It’s a well-worn phrase, but it’s true – you can be whatever you want to be.

Ally Long

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