’Tis the season to give your loved ones presents, but why not treat yourself as well this year? Now that 2014 is almost here, this is the perfect moment to plan ahead and see what the new year brings with regards to conferences. Since two-three years a number of new (web) design & typography events have been added to the conference calendar. Europe’s greatest design event however remains TYPO Berlin which will have its 19th edition this Spring on May 15–17 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. With an annual attendance of about 1,500 professionals and students, and more than 60 international speakers giving lectures, workshops and panels on three stages over three days, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important creative events.
This year’s theme for TYPO Berlin is “Roots”. In the 1900s, function was the key purpose of design, followed by the emotionalisation of products and messages in the 1980s, when form began to follow emotion. Today, in the age of networking, design is experiencing yet another transformation. New strategies re-establish old principles, and almost forgotten traditional guidelines are still valid today.
How global and how local should I design my products and brands? How should I organise my visual presentation at global level? What role do I as a designer play when even design has become a component in the world-encompassing supply chain?
Anyone looking for answers to these questions has to look backwards and contemplate the inner values of design. What are the classic elements guiding us … almost forgotten, but still relevant? Is less still more? Does form follow more than just function? Is design really thinking itself anew? Or are we seeing flat design and responsiveness?
TYPO Berlin 2014 “Roots” is dedicated to the lasting values of design, which have accelerated at a dizzying speed thanks to total digitalisation – from the first draft right up to production.
Whereas last year’s TYPO had two tracks dedicated to Eastern European design from Poland and Russia, this year the conference focuses on the rich creative tradition of the Netherlands, one of Europe’s smallest countries which reputedly has more (type) designers per square meters than anywhere else in the world. Innovative Dutch designers will teach us how to accommodate maximum creativity in the smallest space. Amongst the names already announced, two jump out – Gerrit Noordzij, at 82 a towering giant of Dutch lettering and type design, and honoured with the 26th Type Directors Club Medal at this year’s ATypI conference; and Petr van Blokland, one graphic design’s of the brightest thinkers, and keynote speaker at the same ATypI 2013 Amsterdam “Point Counter Point”. My dream presentation would be a sequel to the conversation Gerard Unger had with Wim Crouwel at Typeradio’s excellent Now we are talking Festival in 2011 – no scenario, no slides, just one icon of Dutch design interviewing another, discussing their career and the evolution of the design profession in the past half century.
The Early Bird registration period for this edition is quickly nearing its end. If you want to save €250 (almost 40%!) on your ticket, or 20% on student tickets, register before year’s end. And don’t forget group rates are available upon request.