Cha Che Chi from TDC Today

By Peggy Roalf   Friday March 24, 2023

The worlds of Latino/Latinx culture, both high and low, are gaining overdue recognition in museums and art galleries in the US. From no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria, curated by Marcela Guerrero, at the Whitney; to the steady flow of exhibitions and events at Americas Society; to Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Mayan Art at The Met, the art of the Americas has become more visible in recent years.  

Now the art, craft and business of typography gets center stage with Cha Che Chi, a virtual conference presented online by Type Directors Club, starting at noon EST today [register

The conference will cover a range of topics, from amateur street lettering to agency boardroom campaigns. The presentations and discussions will include the behind-the-scenes of a logotype that dances to the beat of Rio Carnival, distinctive reinterpretations of popular Mexican imagery, Perú’s Chicha public placard and poster styles, the evolution of a campaign to raise women’s voices, and how lettering and politics mix in the famous distinctive style of Brazilian graffiti Pichação.

Curated by Latin Americans, the lineup was coordinated by Sol Matas, a Berlin-based independent type designer originally from Argentina and a member of the TDC Advisory Board, and Laura Scofield, a Brazilian-born, New York-based graphic designer, and educator who currently serves as Sr. Design Manager at The Atlantic. The conference will showcase works from type designers (Bastarda Type, Plau, Altiplano, Blackletra), typographers (S&Co, Tulio Cerquize, Carlos Bocai, Julia B Aguiar) ad agencies (Tátil, BBDO), lettering artists (Carga Máxima, Cyla Costa) and more (Beatriz Lozano, Alejandro Magallanes)..

The name Cha Che Chi, coined by Sol Matas, derives from a huge mix of rhythmic cacophony of sounds that echo across Latin America, in words such as chabona, chango, chava, chela, checar, chicha, chichón, chido, chimichurri, chulo, churro, salsicha, chimarrão, bochecha, pichação. Across languages, that common alliteration connects the cultures of the continent, serving as a thread amongst very diverse people. 

Writing in PRINTs Daily Heller, Steve Heller says, The type community in Latin America has come together for nearly two decades now in its Biennial Tipo Latinos. Cha Che Chi is here to show off that energy to the rest of the world, allowing us to inspire each other. The beautiful artistic and crafting traditions of Latin America come with political ideas and always with passion. Handed down from generation to generation, disparate, but with a thread of continuity in the materials and colors. Latin America’s type community has arisen in a difficult environment, struggling with economic crises, violence against women and LGBTQ, and political corruption. So our themes cover a lot of territory: business, women, queerness, political activism and craft. We hope this focus has a wider empowering ripple effect, and that the practitioners, their stories, and their work can inspire other Latin Americans, established European and American markets, and others who similarly haven’t always been granted a focus on the main stage.


TDC will also be hosting panels on understanding the unique place of typography in Latin America—how the political situation on the ground affects, and is in turn affected by, design—what it’s like to be a queer designer, making queer work—the business of type and design, what the relationship is like between creator and client—and the collective power of women across the continent. Info

Type Directors Club []. Register for Cha Che Chi here