Type & Design Education Forum

Due to my conflict of schedule with family reunion, I can’t attend the TypeCon conference, but I managed to signed up for the Type & Design Education Forum, which allowed me to hear Tobias Frere-Jones’ keynote presentation.

This is my first time at TypeCon. Even though I haven’t made to the main event, I am already impressed. The attendees were very friendly, at least the ones at the Education Forum. What I learned was that most people who came to the forum are design teachers at universities and colleges. They shared their teaching processes, experimentations and student projects. I was very impressed and inspired. These speakers’ knowledge of type and typography were way above me. While all of the presentations were excellent, the one that stood out for me the most was Mitch Goldstein’s on Delightful Confusion. In a nutshell, he made his students embrace the idea of confusion: “Design what you don’t know.” In the process of searching for what they don’t know, they would find a solution that is unexpected. I don’t think that theory could apply to web design, but it worked on graphic design projects.

The highlight of the day was Frere-Jones’ keynote. His topic titled In Letters We Trust, in which he documented the history of bank notes starting from how Benjamin Franklin used type to make currency hard to counterfeit to the state of our bills. All the details he pointed out, such as reversing italics, using an upside down q for b and little nuances to avoid money fraud, were fascinating. Just the ways he took notice of these things alone proved that he is a brilliant type designer. I was so glad to get the opportunity to hear him speak.

Another person caught my attention was the sign language interpreter. I was sitting in the second row and couldn’t keep my eyes off her. Even though her sign language was amazing, what mesmerized me was her expression. One of the male speakers spoke in a monotone voice, but she translated with so much passion. Watching her helped me stayed awake. I loved it when a speaker took a pause to think, she expressed the same emotion on her face and body language. I don’t know how to describe it, but she was like a cartoon voice-over for sign language.

I’ll definitely attend the TypeCon next year or every year if I get the chance.