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You are here: Home / Conferences / São Paulo 2015 / Lecture programme

Keynote presentation: Mas tudo bem! In search of typographic optimism

When Wed 14 Oct 1900
Where Room A
What General
Who Catherine Dixon

I increasingly wonder if we, as a typographic community, aren’t just self-congratulating ourselves into oblivion while the world thinks it is getting on well enough with the business of design without the engagement of a bunch of so-called typo purists. And is our ‘highbrow’ gate-keeping of knowledge even to blame for such considered irrelevance?

It can be difficult though to assert professional relevance when typographic success is often rendered through an expert invisibility. And the type designer or typographer are not alone in their struggles here. Maker communities more generally face the challenge of needing to better articulate the embedded skills in the work they produce in a culture of increasing making-illiteracy. And nowhere perhaps is this more acute than in our education networks.

If identifying the issues is to take a positive step towards finding some appropriate responses, then good, as this is a talk singularly lacking in answers. Rather it sets out some of the thinking in which I find some hope. Hope in the face of the ever-advancing deadliness of nostalgia. Hope when needing to negotiate the frankly unacceptable current fashion for retro-sexism in design. Hope in those people and projects in typographic defiance of the mediocre. Hope in community. Hope in design as a culturally-consequential agent of change.

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