Now that last week’s very successful TypeCon Portl& is over – congratulations to Zuzana Licko for being the recipient of the 2013 SOTA Typography Award – the next typography event to look out for is ATypI’s seminal conference. After having to miss out on this annual meeting of typographic minds for two years in a row – for various reasons I couldn’t attend Reykjavik nor Hong Kong – there’s no way I can stay away this time as it happens practically in my back yard. The 2013 conference will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 9 to 13 October 2013.
The venue is the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, in the very heart of the city on the Dam square: the spot where the dam on the Amstel river gave Amsterdam its name. The city has been at the center of typographic development since the 17th century, and the Netherlands has been the source of many of the innovative designs of the digital era. This is the second time the conference brings together typographers, type designers, historians, psychologists, programmers and graphic artists in the Netherlands. ATypI’s previous visit to our Northern neighbours was in 1996 in The Hague, home of KABK and its renowned post-graduate course in Type and Media, formerly the course in Type Design and Typography.
The theme for this year’s ATypI conference is “Point Counter Point”, the early form of musical polyphony in which multiple melodies combine to build a composition. It is easy to imagine how this translates to the details of visual communication and typographic design — using contrasting shapes and directions to make striking statements. It is an approach to composition that resonates well with the visual and musical culture of the Netherlands. Dutch culture is noted for its directness, openness to argument, and sometimes confrontational dialog. In past centuries, Holland was a haven for free thought and dissident voices, printing texts that were clandestine elsewhere. In past decades, it has been a hothouse of practical, cutting-edge and often slightly subversive thinking about the graphic form and its building blocks — images and type. Point Counter Point | ATypI 2013 Amsterdam will tap into these aspects of its hosting country to examine the conflicts, challenges and synergies our profession faces in this current era of fundamental changes and shifts.
The conference programme too reflects this diversity of ideas, not only delving into the history of type and typography in the world’s languages but grappling with the problems and opportunities of the constantly evolving technology of communication. In this spirit, British design critic Alice Rawsthorn and Dutch designer Petr van Blokland will be the keynote speakers.
The opening keynote speaker Alice Rawsthorn on Thursday, October 10 is design critic of the International Herald Tribune (being rebranded as the International New York Times). Her weekly Design column – published every Monday – is syndicated to other media worldwide. Her latest book, the critically acclaimed Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, published by Hamish Hamilton, explores design’s influence on our lives: past, present and future.
Designer, educator and 1988 recipient of the Charles Peignot Award Petr van Blokland kicks off the conference programme proper with his keynote on Friday morning, October 11. If his epic presentation at TYPO Berlin 2011 “Shift” is anything to go by you know you’ll want to get out of bed in time.
The first two days of the conference are devoted to two tracks of programming, with close focus on specific techniques and ideas, plus workshops; the final three days have a single track with a wide-ranging span of design subjects. This year ATypI received a record number of responses to their Call for Presentations. In total, more than 80 speakers will be heard in the course of this full five-day programme, which also includes evening events. They include leading type designers, typographers, publishers and historians from Europe, USA, South America, Asia and the Middle East.
You have until Monday, September 9 to register for the ATypI conference with a 15% Early Bird discount. Attendees can register for the full event or for separate parts. The first two days offer full day workshops or 2 tracks of sessions. Days 3 to 5 of the conference include three days of Conference sessions, a special event concert on Friday evening, and an evening special event dinner on Saturday. All registrations come with refreshment breaks and lunches, as well as a Conference T-shirt, and give access to Alice Rawsthorn’s opening keynote and the reception on Thursday evening.
You can register and pay online via the ATypI Store.