Short note to TYPO Berlin 2006

Posted on 22 May 2006 in:

I was in Berlin last week for this year’s TYPO Berlin conference, organized by FontShop. This was my third year in a row there, and as usual, I had a delightful time.

Big Balloon from TYPO Berlin 2006

The big balloon in the background was my favorite part of this year’s conference. I guess that sounds a little wacky. Notice also the larger-than-life FontBook, which I was hoping would have been available for sale by the time the conference rolled around. At least FontShop was taking pre-orders.

I really had intended to blog the whole experience. But I found myself occupied by other things each of the five days I was in town. The conference and the city have so much to offer.

Besides, the conference has been bloged well enough by other attendees and designers more literate than myself. Here are a few great examples: (Slanted/Bastard-Project/Volcano-Type/etc.)
Fontblog (Jürgen Siebert, one of the organizers)
Guillemets (The weblog of Nick Blume, a great chap)

There are a ton of other sites to check out as well, but I feel silly trying to compile an exhaustive list. So I just limited mine to sites of people I seem to know personally. Besides, each of them link even further out into cyberspace. Oh, and there is also a Flickr page for conference pictures.

Linotype brochures

I spent most of my time working at the Linotype booth, which was in the conference location’s entrance hall. Everyone I knew seemed to come by and ask me if I was “allowed” to attend lectures. Of course, I did break away every now and then for a choice talk, and I was naturally “allowed” to attend even more. But honestly, I enjoyed sitting inside our space for most of the conference. The little breaks I had there when big lectures were drawing their crowds were welcome.

The bastard dog

The Karlsruhe group behind FINEST/MAGMA, Slanted, Volcano-Type, and the Bastard Project were at the conference in force. They set up an ingenious little lounge that always seems to be filled with visitors. They were distributing the second issue of the Slanted print magazine, which seems to have been taken home by almost everyone.

The Karlsruhe lounge (I really have no idea what else to call these people) reminded us of the Linotype lounge that we built at the ATypI conference in Helsinki last September, except that the Karlsruhe lounge had real lounge chairs, and was better visited!


I’ve complained in the past (perhaps too often) that TYPO Berlin is too German and too cliquey. It has always seemed to me that many of the small, more type-centric conferences are better networking opportunities for designers. But I must admit that I tend to be too polemic. TYPO Berlin is an excellent conference. It is the only event of its kind in Germany, and probably the only event of its kind in Europe. Non-German speakers are certainly welcome, and this year simulatneous translation was finally added to the second hall as well. Even some of the cliquey-ness amongst the students seems to have disappeared (I’d attribute this to the fantastic student displays that were set up near the cafe, and to Petr van Blockland’s game session).

Lastly, as I seem to have become some sort of novice conference junkie, it is necessary that I point out the great organization behind this conference. Set-up and take-down seemed to go off without a hitch. Hats off to the TYPO Crew, and thanks for all of your help.