Typographics 2017@Cooper Union

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday June 7, 2017

Typography has become the essential way of communicating language, but the mechanics involved in crafting elegant typography can sometimes seem mystifying.

Professor Alexander Tochilovsky, Co-director of the Typographics festival and conference and Curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, says, “There is always language in graphic design, and typography is what shapes that language, it’s what gives it form. When it’s done well, typography allows the viewer to access the information faster, better and to get as much out of it as they can.”

If this sounds like serious business, which it is, the fun side of typographic design is also celebrated in numerous presentations, workshops and tours being offered in the 2017 Typographics Festival and Conference at The Cooper Union, in the East Village neighborhood of New York.


Hansje van Halem’s Amsterdam studio. Van Halem will give a talk on the experimental aspects of her work.

From a tour of Manhattan’s classic neon lettering with Thomas Rinaldi to a workshop on creating neon gifs with Kate Widdows to a two-day Book Fair featuring highly specialized offerings from highly specialized booksellers, the festival and conference covers the expanding field of typography in context of the written and the spoken word.

Typographics 2017 tours and workshops run from Monday, June 12 through Thursday, June 22, with the conference taking place Friday and Saturday, June 16-17. An international roster of designers, educators, and advertising specialists has convened to cover subjects as diverse as “Trial and Error”; “Harmony and Tension”; “Arabic Type Design;” ”Handwriting: Our Personal Typography;” “Type Design for Non-Type Designers” and more.

The three-day TypeLab [June 15-18] complements the main schedule with an open-ended hackathon designed for ad-hoc additions to a schedule that includes portfolio reviews, typographic “life drawing,” the anatomy of “flourishing,” and pitching through game-playing, among others. 

In the coming days, Dissection (produced by JK Design) continues to air a series of podcasts in partnership with Typographics, featuring interviews from conference speakers and background info about the festival. Among the designers/presenters interviewed Ken BarberSilas MunroMartin VenezkyHilary GreenbaumJonathan Key and co-directors of Typograpics,  Cara Di Edwardo and Alexander Tochilovsky. The interviews are streamed on Soundcloud.


Photo © Thomas Rinaldi, Block Drugs, 101 Second Ave., Manhattan. Installed 1945, maker unknown. Rinaldi gives two neon type tours of New York.

Most events of Typographics 2017 take place at The Cooper Union, in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. For information and the complete schedule of events, go here.


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