ATypI 2004 Conference Recap

Written by Dan Reynolds on October 6, 2004

Last week, 340 typographers, type lovers, and lovers of type lovers met in Prague for the annual ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) conference. Most of the week’s events were held in the Archa Theater, in the center of the city. Prague’s transformations over the past 15 years, as well as Central & Eastern European type design, served as the theme and inspiration for the conference, entitled Crossroads of Civilizations.

Apart from the conference hotel — the Park Hotel (a communist-era behemoth not centrally located but centrally expensive) — and the Friday night “Kerning Party” thrown by the otherwise fabulous VŠUP (pronounced fee-shoop) students, the entire conference was a fantastic event, filled by a three-track schedule of broad-topic lectures and opportunities to meet all of the other delegates.

The conference began a day early, with the two-day Type Tech Forum, lead by Thomas Phinney and FontLab. FontLab unveiled a new logo, and Microsoft unveiled new OpenType support for their upcoming OS, as well as cool ClearType freebie booklets. The Conference was closed five days later with the election of a new slate of board members, as well as John Hudson’s elevation to Vice President and Jean François Porchez election as ATypI President.

Rick Poynor’s keynote speech sparked more controversy than the rest of the conference put together — and at least 45 minutes of questions. Many in the audience interpreted his speech as being condescending to Eastern European designers, encouraging them not to sell out to western commercialism, but conceding that if they don’t, they will be destined for poverty.

Probably drawing the smallest crowd, and the least amount of controversy, was a small lunch discussion led by P22’s Carima El-Behairy entitled “The Value of a Font.” She intended to talk about circumstances in which fonts add value to products — i.e., when a typeface becomes the bulk of a product being sold, such as a stamp set made from a font and sold by a third party. Most of the few attendees at the session wanted to talk about something else, perhaps real piracy or OpenType pricing ranges.

My favorite talk was the Education panel discussion, where Gerry Leonidas made all of the young designers worry, by remarking that only about five new jobs in type design are available every year (I’m not sure if that is an understatement or an overstatement). Later, a member of the audience asked an off-topic question that was nonetheless amusing: Why haven’t type design programs changed their names to font design programs, since most people just call typefaces fonts nowadays anyway?

Next year’s ATypI conference is already less than a year away, and will be held in Helsinki from September 15—18, 2005. But you needn’t wait until then to get in on ATypI discussion; a few, longer recaps of the conference have already been posted online, including one by Luc Devroye, and another by myself at TypeOff. Jean François Porchez has also posted some photos on his blog. Conferences never seem to end on their closing date anymore, do they?

Dan Reynolds is a failed spirit, living in Berlin, but at least he finally has a dog. Occasionally, he designs typefaces (even one or two good ones), but he more often writes minor copy for typefoundries and font-retail websites. In 2015, he finally started working on the dissertation he planned in 2011; it is due in Spring 2018. Wish him luck! He really needs it.


  1. Svengali says:

    I’ve been very surprised to hear about Jean-François Porchez being elected President to the ATypI : I can’t understand how ATypI delegates have been dumb enough to give their votes to the very same guy who perpetrated the nauseous Sabon revival improperly called Sabon Next. You guys should know better. Shame !

  2. kai bernau says:

    svengali actually has a point here: Sabon Next, despite being a wonderful typeface, is not a Sabon. It’s Porchez’s idea of a German’s view on french renaissance typefaces, and it’s as close to any other Garamond interpretation as it is to Sabon.
    Sabon “Previous” is still one of my favourite typefaces of all times, i know and love all the quirks and “errors” it has, and that Porchez had removed.

    I congratulate François to his appointment.


  3. Dan Reynolds says:

    Svengali, the above posters [now deleted – ed.] were so apt to dub you a troll because of your dismissal of JFP’s abilities (or aptness) to be the president of the ATypI. Whatever you think of Sabon NEXT, it has little to do with his ability to coordinat the ATypI for the next few years. Serving as president of the ATypI, especially under the present conditions, is more or less a thankless job. He will probably preside over the rebirth of the organization, or its demise.

    Give him a little slack, he’s practically a volunteer… ;)
    Sabon NEXT isn’t a bad typeface, some designers just think that it is a bad Sabon. There is a difference. Judge the face on its merits, and JFP on his as well… the two aren’t necessarially mutually exclusive (see his other typefaces, his work as a teacher, organizer, etc).

    As John Hudson said at the Gala Dinner, the ATypI has already outlived the industry that created it. JFP probably has enough things to deal with at the beginning of his term without having to react to random, and thematically irrelevant pot shots.

  4. Troubleman says:

    JFP’s work on Sabon has no relevance whatsoever in regards to his ability to be the President of ATypI.

  5. Svengali says:

    I didn’t dismiss JFP’ability as a type designer, and I think Sabon Next is a beautiful Garamond. The fact is I’m a little baffled that ATypI voters could elect as president someone who, regardless of his talent, can twist typographic history according to his own creative agenda, which he did in the press release accompanying the launch of Sabon Next.

  6. Hrant says:

    Your initial post (irrespective of your post-reactionary spin to “correct” perceptions), coupled with your failure to use your real name betrays a hidden vendetta against JFP. Actually, not very hidden, since anybody can see this, and everybody can be excused for not taking you seriously as a result.

    If you must object to JF’s presidency of ATypI, using the excuse that SabonNext is too different than the original Sabon is particularly thick; for one thing, you’re completely ignoring the role of Linotype. If you must have hissy fits about how some fonts are poorly named, SabonNext should be way down your list. And it would be, were it not for your agenda. For the record: on my own list of poorly named fonts, it would be missing.

    I think JF will make a very fine president. Although I’m not sure why Mark had to go, it seems that he did, and JF is probably the best replacement, not least because he’s very dedicated to the origanization. Also, his message of inclusiveness is exactly what ATypI needs most right now.


  7. Miss Tiffany says:

    Dan, very very nice summation of ATypI. I have to say I echo most, if not all, of his sentiments. But, you should know, Dan, that Rudy and Zuzana (and Herr Spiekermann) would rather you think of them as one of the gang. One thing that ties all conferences together, I think, are the contacts made and the friendships/associations built.

    I didn’t attend the Kerning Party, too hungry, but heard good things. Of all sessions attended the discussions were my favorite. Interaction between those who spoke (first) and the audience (second) was really excellent.

    ATypI in general put on an excellent conference with excellent content and I feel lucky to have been able to attend.


    They are, really, two different faces. It wouldn’t make much sense for Linotype to simply release an identical typeface where the only bonus for licensing it was a new format. I prefer to think of Sabon Next as an interpretation. Linotype could’ve hired a monkey if all they wanted was for the original glyphs to be plotzed into the opentype format.

    Why not start a new discussion with a comparison of both Sabon and Sabon Next. There we can discuss it in a thread created for it. I agree this is not the place.

  8. Dan Reynolds says:

    Amen, Tiffany! Let’s move the Sabon NEXT discussion elsewhere.

    I was too intimidated to try and approach Erik Spiekermann this time around… I spoke with him briefly in Berlin, but I came after a long line of students had already been by him and “harrassed” him, so I didn’t want to put him through that again, I guess. But I only had positive experiences meeting the other [famous] designers who I did meet… I went into that a little more in my longer, TypeOff article, mostly because I’m thankfull that they were actually willing to take the time to speak with me.

  9. John Butler says:

    I’ve been to three ATypI conferences: Leipzig, then Vancouver, and finally Prague. All three were wonderful and worth the time and money, but Prague was the best. Each one was better than the last. All the people involved in putting it together did an amazing job.

    I also got to spend lots of time talking and eating and drinking with Mr Porchez, who is a generous, wonderful person.

  10. Too bad that you didn’t stay a little longer at the Kerning Party, Dan. I agree that the band was ‘a little loud’ and the queue for getting a beer was ‘a bit on the long side’. However, around 00.30 the DJ’s took over and soon thereafter the remaining crowd – including Martin Majoor, Lucas de Groot – were working out on the dancefloor. After all: it was a great party!

  11. Thanks for the great report of the conference!

    When you have strong statements to do against someone ability, perhaps, first the best is to use your real name. Then, considering that a vote bring me to that position of President, it can be easily take as an insult to the members who expressed their vote.

    More, please don’t consider me as unique, but more a group who together decided to give their time, dedication and energy to try to fill gap between their own wishes and how ATypI is now. Nobody know if we will able to improve anything, but we will try our best, all of us. I don’t consider me as a boss, but just a colleague to the rest of the board.

    You have say: …can twist typographic history according to his own creative agenda.

    About Sabon Next, well, perhaps you have some skills that no human have on this planet to know what happened at the time of Garamond? Then, share your knowledge if its really the case :-) In my case, (perhaps the best is to read the two essays on the Sabon Next specimen, from Christopher Burke and myself?), Sabon Next is my own interpretation of the work of Tschichold on a Garamond. I pretend nothing else.

    You like or doesn’t like it, its up to you. You are free to express any opinion, but, perhaps its should better to give in deep explanation of your statement, on Typophile forum for example. Not here, its not the right place. Then, we can discuss more, I’m open to learn more on that subject.

  12. Thanks for your report, Dan, and your link to Luc Devroye’s marvelous collection of quotes. Last I heard from him, he felt he wasn’t able to make it to TypeCon NYC. I propose raising a collection to sponsor his attendance.

  13. Jef Tombeur says:

    Hmm, is it not only the shift from the topic to Sabon Next which is suprising, but the fact that we came to have a discussion focused upon J.-F. Porchez. Who, in his answer, demonstrates he will be an apt president (a president is also a coordinator, giving due credit to what is done by others).
    Prague was, after Lyon and Rome, my third ATypI conference. And, definitely, Prague was Prague, not J.-F. P. election (nothing really exciting during the election, and, besides, J.-F. P. could not attend, and that is why he made a short speech the previous night). Prague was the Slovakians and the Tcheks (and more people from Poland or Russia, for ex.), the prevalence of the OpenType format, and a few others things more interesting that my misunderstanding about why so many people squeezed in the same bus while the bus in front was empty and blocking the way after the gala dinner was over (which is why, with a friend from Belgium, we had to take a taxi back from nowhere to go back to downtown Praha). Yes, contacts, new faces, meeting people you had not seen in years, etc., are also very important. In Lurs I met a neighbour, living just a stone’s throw away, who does layout design for French mags and dailies. In Prague, it was another Parisian (Sarah) who does type design, of whom I had never heard before (which I feel ashamed of now : I should have had, as a journalist).
    About R. Poynor’s speech… Although I felt a bit tired (and dozed a bit), I did not find it at all condescending. Just not so well informed as it should have been. Maybe because, Prague being a wonderful city, no one cares much to go to the Carrefour mall of the Smichov district. Go there, Rick.
    For now, it’s over : you came too late with too little (compared with what the Carrefour group had to offer). But there will be a day when the Galeries Lafayette in Paris will be Tchek redesigned.

    By the way, I could not check today if R. Poynor has signed or not the Garamonpatrimoine Initiative’s petition.
    He promised he would. So, please check and report to me if you do not see his signature soon. ;-)
    Otherwise, thank you all who where in Prague for signing the Garamonpatrimoine’s petition.

  14. Reminiscor says:

    I think its a great thing that JFP has been elected; he seems to have the energy and determination to get things going at ATypi, after what has been a long period of decline and dispute from the heady days of Type90. Unfortunately knowing how these go, he will have to walk the tightrope between the various bodies that make up the typographic community, and by that I mean the widest world of typography (how many book designers go to ATypi? or printers? or art directors?_, rather than just typedesigners talking to typedesigners as these things have increasingly become. To get through the intrigue of this world, requires the mastery of diplomacy, something that John Dreyfus managed to do with some aplomb.

    On to Sabon; JFP can’t be blamed for doing what he did; he made his interpreation of Tschichold’s work. In many senses it would have been easier not to even try it; hot metal and cold metal Sabon have a ‘quality’ that is perhaps missing in both the old digital Sabon and this new one. I think many people would have been happy if it didn’t use the name Sabon; its confused people and its interesting to see that the old Sabon hasn’t disappeared, but lives in tandem with this new one. In the end it’s about opinions. Personally there are fonts that are probably more needy of a new digital version than Sabon, but would they sell which seems to be the main reason for these companies to bring out these fonts!

  15. Bill Troop says:

    It is the overall composition of the board
    and officers that I find so grim. Pres and
    VP, two digital era parvenu pirates; the board
    without a single person of real distinction
    outside of Fiona Ross. Linotype no longer
    a member. And Clive Bruton replaces
    people like Unger and Carter? Something is
    really wrong with this picture. Is this
    the avant-garde of the type industry?

    Where is the presence of the many Dutch
    typos who are both incredibly productive
    AND incredibly ethical? (And incredibly
    distinguished, smart, aesthetically
    sound and all the rest?) (Maybe such
    people have no interest in manning
    organizations such as ATypI? Why not?)

    I can’t help making comparisons to the
    current White House. Let’s say Porchez
    is Bush and Hudson is Cheney. Who would
    we see as Rove, Powell (Leonidas?), Rice
    (_not_ Fiona!) Rumsfeld and the rest of
    them? And how could you possibly compare
    Clive Bruton to anyone else from the day
    Eve first tasted apple?

    And who is Svengali?

    As someone has pointed out, these jobs
    are thankless and require a lot of work.
    Are there really no financial benefits?
    If so, I expect one really should be
    grateful for anyone that serves, and
    shouldn’t carp as I am doing. But what
    a crew!

  16. Bill, our column measure is sufficiently narrow — no need for line breaks. But I appreciate the effort in aesthetics.

  17. Hrant says:

    > Maybe such people have no interest in
    > manning organizations such as ATypI?
    > Why not?

    Maybe because there’s no money in it? I think not helping ATypI because of that is the only really sad thing here.


  18. Dan Reynolds says:

    Bill, this sounds exactly like what people used to say about the AIGA. Before the mid-1980s, the AIGA was run by a clique of very famous, and very old, male designers from New York. When they finally retired the reins of the organization, a wave of “unknown” volunteers took over, making the AIGA more local, more relevant, more content-full, and just better.

    Whatever one thinks about the AIGA today, it certainly is not the old boys club of the 1970s and earlier.

    So, is this leadership change in the ATypI really that bad? The old guard certainly wasn’t doing very well, despite their renowned-ness… (they managed to save the organization’s existence, but arguably little else).

  19. Hrant says:

    But I think it will be hard for the new guarde to do much better. :-/ The best we can do is: keep our expectations modest; volunteer help.


  20. Roger Black says:

    Missed this conference, sadly, due to a conflict. For some reason SND, AIGA and the Printing History Association all had meetings that weekend, and it was hard to choose.

    From all reports it was a great event, and it is delightful that an actual type designer, as opposed to a scanner manufacturer or a chocolate executive, both of which we’ve had in the past, is now at the helm. Not since Dryfus and Peignot has ATypI had someone with such *hands-on* experience.

    I’ll duck any discussion of Sabon, present, past or future, but I can’t let pass that last crack, “The old guard certainly wasn’t doing very well, despite their renowned-ness”. When I first went to to an ATypI congress (Vienna c. 1978), there was virtually no program at all. It was not until 1990 in Oxford that the organization actually hosted a full-fledged type conference; and I will take some of the credit, since I certainly got plenty of blame for it . Ever since, every year a different group in a different city has put on a three-day event. Some have been good; some better. And now, the members expect that they will happen every every year, and they no doubt will. If that is “not doing very well”, than let’s have more of it.

  21. Dan Reynolds says:

    >If that is “not doing very well”, than let’s have more of it.

    Yeah, Roger; and while we are getting more of that, let’s have some more of the lacklusterly-controlled inertia in lieu of growth, some more apathy about font piracy among both the organization and its members, and some more of that attitude of financial secrecy and non-disclosure that have been hovering over the ATypI for the past decade and a half as well!

  22. Roger Black says:

    There is an annual, audited financial report, distributed every year at the annual general meeting. It reveals a very small, under-funded organization. The report is put up to a vote for acceptance by the members, and for the last 20 years it has been approved every year, and as far as I can remember, no one has even raised a question about it.

    If you wish to get more involved in the rather dull internal workings of the group, any member who wants to join the board is welcome. The only time a nominee has not been elected is when there were more candidates than open positions.

    Nothing is stopping us from improving ATypI, except that we all seem to have other things to do.

  23. Hrant says:

    Dan, Frankly, Linotype leaving doesn’t help now, does it…

    Do you know if that was done in reaction to ATypI’s previous state, or in anticipation of this change?


  24. Clive says:

    Hrant, Bruno Steinert resigned from the board long before the nominations for the current board members were made. I’m not really sure how you say Linotype is no longer part of the organisation, when they have taken a major role in help to develop the TypeTech Forum.

    Dan, the apathy about piracy is not from within ATypI – the reality is that the type business no longer controls the “machinery” that its type runs on, so in order to affect any change we would need cooperation from a large numer of third parties: application and OS vendors principally.

    But if you check some of the subjects discussed at recent conferences (principally both TypoTechnicas, ATypI Prague and TypeCon San Francisco – as well as those announced for the next TypoTechnica), then I think there is at least some movement.

    ATypI is at a crossroads, as it was when Mark Batty took the presidency in 1995 – I think the current board just wants to help the association move forward, and I at least, think that we can.

    As to the composition of the board… the current statutes allow for a board of up to 20 members, there are currently 15 (which is in line with the statutes being developed). All of those not on the current board, but who had served over the last two years, had already indicated that they would not stand again, or had already resigned from the board, when the new board members were put forward as candidates. With one exception, Jean-François offered to stand as President, and at that point Mark graciously let him have a free run at it.

    Mark takes on the role of honourary president.

    There were “uncontested” elections because no one else stood for the board.

    As to Bill and his “serpent’s” pen… there are no financial benefits, at least as far as I know – there’s no entry for “directors remuneration” on the accounts. As to Eve and the apple, isn’t this the “event” that supposedly gave mankind knowledge and self-determination, rather than being the playthings of God? If so, I’ve never regretted the temptation.

    I hope this helps with some transparency.

    I hope that some of you can come along to the Helsinki conference, or will be moved to join the association, and/or can find the time to contribute to the future of the organisation.

    If you don’t like what the association is doing or saying, then the best way to influence that is to join and make your voice heard.

  25. Hrant says:

    > I’m not really sure how you say
    > Linotype is no longer part of
    > the organisation

    What’s more important than the conference? They weren’t there. Sponsorship is arguably the best way an entity such as Linotype can help. Linotype, please go back the helping! We need you.

    > I hope this helps with some transparency.

    Clive, I have to say that when it comes to you, transparency is something you’ll have to prove on the ground, not just exhibit in an occasional lucid post. And -unlike Bill- I have no Vendetta – I am not alone – you would do well to take heed of the record amount of “no” votes you garnered.


  26. Clive says:

    Hrant, like I said before, Linotype played a major role in the TypeTech Forum, which is part of the conference. I’m not sure how many members of their staff were registered.

    As to who voted, for or against, that’s democracy. As far as I’m concerned 67 is an auspicious number. :-)

    I think I have a term of two years, the members can make up their own minds at that time whether the current board has made any progress, and who has not. Again, that’s democracy.

    As to my own transparency, I’m always pretty open about stating my opinions. Whether you like that or not is another issue.

    Does Bill have a vendetta, hmm, he should get that seen to. :-)

  27. Dan Reynolds says:

    Hrant, I’m not going to go into any detail on Linotype’s motivations. Others have already pretty much hit the mark. I would just to clarify three things: first, Linotype did not have a strong role in running the Type Tech Forum—they didn’t have any role. Two Linotype employees had a role in the Forum. There is a difference here. Two: Linotype is no longer a sponsor of the ATypI. They company doesn’t donate any money at this point. This occurred before the board change, as has been clarified. Third: There were no Linotype employees who attended the conference, except myself. (and I should stress the temporary nature of my employment once again; I do not speak for the company when I make these statements, nor have I ever officially spoken for the company) I attended out of my own accord and interest, and my attendence had nothing to do, positively or negatively, with my employer. This doesn’t mean that I don’t share some opinions with Linotype, however.

  28. Clive says:

    Dan, I’m not really going to split hairs over whether Linotype played a part in the Type Tech Forum, or their employees did. Linotype took the opportunity of that venue to announce TypoTechnica 2005, which I think speaks somewhat to the value they place upon it.

    Many of the current ATypI board members have associations with Linotype that extend over many years, and I’m sure those associations will continue. Both ATypI and Linotype have shown a commitment to promoting type and typography, and I’m sure both will continue to do so, whether they decide to do that separately or together – I don’t really see a conflict in that.

    I am sure that the current board, and past and present members of the association, are very grateful for Linotype’s (and other sponsors) support in the past. And for Bruno Steinert’s contribution to the board. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that people’s commitments and priorities change over time, and this has an effect on their perceived role in an organisation.

  29. Clive says:

    I also wanted to say, that we shouldn’t really place too much weight on whether a person or group misses one conference or another. As Roger wrote earlier, this is sometimes inevitable as schedules conflict.

    I think that you also have to consider that companies have budget constraints, and that many familiar faces have been missing from ATypI, and other, conferences over the past couple of years.

  30. Hrant says:

    > the value they place upon it.

    Just not enough to pay up.
    Hey, I’ll take free publicity any day too.

    > I don’t really see a conflict in that.

    Conflict, maybe not. But a missed opportuniy to join forces -in these lean, and pivotal times- most certainly.


  31. Clive says:

    Hrant, if you are concerned that ATypI members aren’t getting the full picture then I certainly wouldn’t object to your campaigning to educate them come the next election. If you can keep track of the initiatives and policies of individual board members I’m sure we’d all consider that a great public service.

    I can’t really guess why people voted as they did in the last election. Nine people voted against Jean-François as president, where he has served as vice president of the association since the Leipzig conference. Thirteen people voted against me. Perhaps they think I haven’t played a strong enough role in the organisation in the past, may be I made a crappy speech.

    But it’s all conjecture because no one told of their reasons, and I don’t know who they are anyway.

    In any event, 75 people voted for Jean-François as president, and 67 voted for me to be on the board. While some show dissent, it seems the majority voted for the candidates put forward.

    I certainly would not mind giving people the opportunity to state why the membership should or should not vote for certain candidates in the future, as part of the AGM process, or as part of the usual discussion on the members mailing list.

    This would give those candidates the chance to answer their critics, and perhaps for the members to have a more detailed image of the candidates.

    If you would like to organise this, and lead or moderate the discussion, you should put forward this proposal to the board for their consideration.

  32. Clive says:

    Just not enough to pay up.

    I’m not really going to take a view on that. As we have established two Linotype employees (at least) attended the TypeTech Forum. To me this dictates that Linotype had a supporting role.

    Whether the association subsists on sponsorship, or not, is a big issue, and I don’t really have enough information to have a firm view on it. Certainly, Linotype, amongst others, has had a major role in that area in the past, and I’m sure the company will have some role in the future of the association as well.

  33. Hrant says:

    > [JF] has served as vice president of
    > the association since the Leipzig
    > conference.

    Something the general membership did not vote on.

    1) It would have probably voted “yes”.
    2) No matter – he’ll make a good president.

    > the majority voted for the candidates put forward.

    1) Abstinence is discouraged in western democracy/society; not knowing enough about the vote at hand (e.g. the true character of a candidate) is construed as weakness, so people will generally just play along and vote “yes”. Especially when:
    2) Would you please restate how many candidates there were versus how many positions to fill?


  34. Clive says:

    Something the general membership did not vote on.

    The association doesn’t seem to be up to voting for “president and running mate” – I think vice president is a board appointment. Which is reasonable enough.

    1) Abstinence is discouraged in western democracy/society;

    Not really, in this case there was an ”abstain“ box to check. Which in all cases more people used than voted against any single candidate.

    2) Would you please restate how many candidates there were versus how many positions to fill?

    On the current statutes the board can have up to 20 members. On the proposed statutes that is revised to 15. In the vote Jean-François and Maxim were standing for re-election, the rest were new candidates. There were five board members who were not being re-elected at that time.

    Effectively there were 15 candidates and 15 positions. I suppose that your implication is that there was no real vote, and that people got in by default? In a way I suppose that is true, but people were offered the chance to abstain or vote against a candidate (as you have already pointed out).

    It’s also true that there were only 15 candidates, no other members put themselves forward. On this point I can only say that there’s no use in complaining that you didn’t have a choice, when you didn’t put yourself forward as a candidate, nor nominate others for the position.

    It’s like the people that don’t vote complaining about the government.

    I suppose that many of the members who did vote took the pragmatic view that it was better to take part than to complain about it later.

    As I’ve stated above, I personally have no problems with people campaigning for or against particular candidates in these elections – it would give both sides a chance to air their views. But these are likely to be reduced to discussions over personality, rather than policy, since board members aren’t going to be campaigning for lower taxes or a better health service.

  35. Hrant says:

    > you didn’t put yourself forward as a candidate

    Because -unlike some- I realize I wouldn’t be a good choice. Just like you, I piss off a lot of people (although pretty much a diametrically opposite crowd) but at least I don’t make myself formally accountable to the membership – that would put too much political strain on my integrity (of which I don’t have enough to squander).

    When it comes to voting, I would be too ashamed to vote in something like the US elections for example – even my vanity can’t overpower the tacit agreement to rape and pillage the world that voting would imply. I vote at ATypI (this time by proxy) because: ATypI isn’t killing and stealing; it’s small enough that it becomes a voice. I’ll take voice over vote any day. In fact, the degree that I complain is generally inversely proportional to how much I’m likely to vote. Anything else is bending over for the establishment.


  36. Dan Reynolds says:

    I wrote a review of the fantastic e-a-t exhibition recently as well. You can find it on Peter”>”>Peter Bilak’s site.

  37. Hrant says:

    Dan, that’s one of the best type pieces I’ve ever read. Very balanced and insightful. Makes sense it’s among Bilak’s wonderful collection of writings.

    – Where else will the exhibit travel?
    – Will there be a booklet or website?
    – When was Public originally drawn? Any relation to Carter’s CRT or GGL’s Imago?
    – Why is cross-based design welcome but Islamic not?

    BTW, two little typos:
    – Missing “i” in “dialogue with it: n order to adapt”.
    – Missing “the” in “Emigre was most condensed”.

    Please keep writing!


  38. Dan Reynolds says:

    Thank you for your kind words. Some of the best type writing it is not, however. ;) I was flattered when Peter asked me if he could post it on his site. It is also possible that it will appear in TYPO as well, but that would be just gravy.

    > Where else will the exhibit travel?
    It is going to Bratislava next. I don’t have anything to do with the exhibition, so I can’t report on its other plans. I think that its organizers want to take it abroad, to anyplace that will have it, especially Holland.

    >Will there be a booklet or website?
    There already is a web site: I don’t know about book plans, but I remember seeing several little books and brochures for sale at the Museum for Decorative Arts in Prague.

    >When was Public originally drawn? Any relation to Carter’s CRT or GGL’s Imago?
    1955. Aside from that, I don’t know.

    >Why is cross-based design welcome but Islamic not?
    Well I didn’t say that Islamic design wasn’t welcome, I said that I couldn’t see how it fit in with the rest of the show. This hanging was very big, and quite impressive, but seemed to be about style instead of dialogue, legibility, or Czechoslovak history. I have since found out that the designer who made it studied aborad in Granada and made it there. So, it has more to do with what she saw in Granada regarding their hidden Muslim culture and past, but its only Czech/Slovak connection seems to be that it was made by someone who originated in that region. I don’t think that it was inappropriate, it just didn’t srike me as connecting very well with the things that were immediately around it.

    Via Dolorosa, the Passion symbol library, has everything to do with central european history because Stations of the Cross are frickin’ everywhere. It is part of local history, as much as Austrian domination, German oppression, and Communist drudgery. I also wanted to profile a symbol font in my article, and that was my personal favorite. Maybe my being Roman Catholic has something to do with my prejudices, too… never really thought about that.

  39. Hrant says:

    Thanks for the full reply.

    BTW, I’m curious, do you know what “hrana” means?


  40. Dan Reynolds says:

    Nope. I’d ask Peter or Johanna.

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