Typocamp is the result of a joint initiative of the Foundry (Digital Agency of Île-de-France), Silicon Xperience and Graffr, within the Futur en Seine festival. It is a type manifestation of a new kind posing as challenge of creating and staging typography in 48 hours in the fields of print, web and animation. We have also noted the presence as a type design team from the Velvetyne type foundry. The first edition took place on 22, 23 and 24 June 2012 at the Cantine.
22 June 2012
The event began with an inaugural series of lectures. The speakers were Anne-Sophie Fradier, Jérémy Landes-Nones, David Rault and Loran Stosskopf. These interventions were followed by a round table discussion of current issues of typography.
Anne-Sophie Fradier spoke about readability on the Web. She published very recently a book about that topic for workshop Perrousseaux. The outstanding example of Wikipedia illustrates quite well that there is sometimes very little to do in order to achieve a better readability. We shall find out later on during the eveny that this case study will not remain unheeded.
Jérémy Landes-Nones has focused on the presentation of the Velvetyne foundry, free, rebellious and with mischievous posters. A more personal focus has been on the Duvel typeface, student project created for the city of Ghent.
David Rault focused on the tricky issue of choosing a typeface. It was also an opportunity for him to talk about the latest publications of the Atelier Perrousseaux (publishing house), which he is in charge of. We note also the masterly example of Estee Lauder ads, in which the use of a glyphic typeface (Optima by Hermann Zapf in this case) can be seen as a promise of timelessness.
Loran Stosskopf then discussed the issues of corporate identity for cultural institutions, citing three cases: the Prado Museum in which he participated by using Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s Gotham, the Louvre and its Grapus’s logo set in Granjon the Louvre and its logo Grapus Granjon on cloudy background so skillfully combined of text and image and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London with its so bewitching logo (created from a Bodoni).
The round table that followed these four interventions has focused on defining the concept of limit, the final stronghold in typography. We saw our stakeholders agree on a readability frontier.
The theme of Typocamp is out: re-enchant reality. The teams were formed randomly, mixing professionals, mostly young professionals, and students, in a relatively balanced. There are four print teams, three web teams and two animation teams. Due to multiple defections, the two animation teams merged during the event.
23 June 2012
We started very quickly on Saturday morning, greeted by a friendly breakfast. A turning point was not to be missed: teams had decide what to do, where and how to begin. In this regard, mentors were quite helpful. Then the creativity machines were initiated. Late afternoon, we already printed early drafts. The materialization of work in progress, played indeed an important role, both pedagogical and energizing. We went on and on, far exceeding the announced time of 22:30, we reached midnight, 1am, even beyond and elsewhere for some teams, like the animation team as they will reveal later.
24 June 2012
Sunday is obviously decisive: we are either slightly ahead or way behind, then the magic & excitement is palpable, the titanic A2 printer (Epson Stylus 4900), another fire in the fireplace, is the master key, this is (almost) where everything begins and where it all ends.
The day passed like a dream, we soon arrive at the fateful hour — 6 pm. We must finish our work and present it. This show is a feverish play, not dealing with servant readibility but with shimmering visibility. Every stuff either entertaining, innovative and even disruptive.
We can propose the following typology to better appreciate the results. Projects are either: A reevaluation of uses; entertainment; intervention.
Animation team & “enchanted notebooks”
The short film of the animation team 2’46 team is both a typographic delight and a technical exploit, given the little amout of time available to produce the film. This is a very common story, a romantic encounter between a man and a woman, using typography.
The enchanted notebooks follow the same logic, in a simpler way (although printing on a paperboard is actually a challenge) and a more eclectic scope, and plays more with words than with feelings.
Fontask, Wikend, SigmundFont, and the big small ads project
Fontask is a redefinition of the diary, not only by tasks, appointments and schedules anymore, but relying on the relative importance of daily events. The emphasis of this prioritization is performed by a clever use of typography, with different styles sets. This use of typography, in an so commonplace application is a positive transition to a wider typography now able to enchant the everyday life, and not just devoted to the greater events.
The Wikend project is a direct echo to the intervention of Anne-Sophie Fradier two days earlier and represents a bold formulation of what might be the Gutenberg’s answer Gutenberg to wikis in general and to Wikipedia in particular. Under the guise of technological minimalism, the latter are actually a typographical no man’s land, which by dint of crude aesthetics, does little to undertake prolonged reading on the Web. By Rearranging the Wikipedia article about Gutenberg and using well-chosen webfonts, Wikend proves itself efficient and useful. At the instigation of a dynamic development team (with a young gifted member working under a very esoteric GNU / Linux system) , an extension for Chrome and Firefox has even been developed during the Typocamp.
The SigmundFont project is a new approach for helping type choices. We were hardly surprised to be reminded that the team mentor is David Rault, famous author of a guide about that topic. The principle of SigmundFont is: instead of relying on the graphic aspect of a typeface, you rely more on your own character, your mood. Again, one can easily imagine that this exciting project could help making typography a little more accessible to the masses.
The big small ads project revisits the principle of small ads. This project relies on the development of a consistent type system, based on a single grid and to offer users a range of typeface to compose their ads with greater impact.
Through four of its members, the Velvetyne foundry has created a type family of four typeface, devoted to the Campagnol (the Vole) the Campagnol Commun, the Campagnol Fauve, the Campagnol Signal and the Campagnol de Pennsylvanie. Note that the pictograms of the Campagnol Signal typeface were directly inspired by the Cantine & its specific habits and constraints.
The poetico-political typejacking were pleasant, amazed with the use of a 3D red and blue trick but belongs nonetheless to a genre heavily invested elsewhere by some committed graphic designers committed ; we have, in particular, Vincent Perrotet in mind.
Finally cards of favorite movies replies are a re-materialization anthem, what if if we are not careful to keep our deer catch phrases elsewhere than on a computer?
After this first Typocamp, we can say that this event completes the other (typo)graphic events – a mix between the Rencontres de Lure’s friendliness and Chaumont’s ostentation, but focused on cooperation, do-It-Yourself and hic et nunc so prominent with (open source) new technologies: let’s do it here and now together.
By Frank Adebiaye June 2012. All rights reserved.