TypoTechnica over

Posted on 3 May 2007 in:

For me, TypoTechnica began early last Thursday afternoon (unless you count the planning beforehand, that is). Around 1 PM, I arrived at the Gutenbergschule in Frankfurt. A few speakers began to arrive around 3 PM to test their presentations. By 7 PM, I was in the conference hotel with Thomas, waiting to pick up all of the speakers and sponsors and take them to the pre-conference meeting point. Although Schöne Berger is on the other side of the city, Frankfurt is small enough that this is only a few minutes away. Slowly walking to the U-Bahn station with a large group of people took far longer than the short subway ride to the middle of the Bornheim neighborhood.We arrived at Schöne Berger about an hour after our reservation had been set for, and our tables were no longer available. Fortunately, we were able to sit outside in the courtyard garden. These tables proved better anyway, being in the fresh air, and being closer together. We managed to stay in one cohesive group, although we were so tucked away that a few conference goers were unable to find us (sorry!). The food and drink at Schöne Berger were standard German fare, and I had a delicious schnitzel, which did not have a name nearly as exciting as the dishes eaten by the people sitting on either side of me – the Schöne Burger (extra points for those readers who can decipher this joke).

The conference began for real on Friday morning. Christian Schwartz presented the keynote address, giving us peaks into the new Público newspaper typefaces, as well as showing a few brief screenshots of a program called Prepolator, which I had never heard of before.

In the afternoon I moderated the two sessions in the Mac Room, which had so many attendees that the 15 available seats were quickly overwhelmed. The evening ended with a “gala dinner” (can type conferences retire this term yet?) in the Ratskeller in Frankfurt. This was a location I was very keen on having the conference take advantage of. A gothic-vaulted room, this restaurant is underneath the Römer, Frankfurt’s city hall. You can’t get any more local flavor than that, can you? After dinner, I traveled to the other side of the river (Adam was distressed that this part of Frankfurt is called “Sachsenhausen”), where the extended Reading family had drinks in a park along the bank.

Saturday was a more hectic day for me than Friday, but I quite enjoyed it. I was moderating the main track during the day, and got to see excellent presentations on font support in Windows Vista, as well as finally getting a glimpse into how Indic scripts actually work. Yuri’s Photofont presentation was great as well. Photofonts can now work with sIFR to create text-as-image online that is also copyable and searchable, i.e., it is real text, even though it is images (!).

Saturday evening’s speakers’ dinner was held in a restaurant inside (and above?) Frankfurt’s landmark Alte Oper. Following this, most of the younger attendees trekked across town to a beach club underneath the Kaiserlei bridge. The service at the bar was unfortunately bad, and several of us had to wait 45 minutes before getting our first drinks. The two Russians in attendance waited all that time hoping for tequila Red Bulls, only to be disappointed by the disappearance of all tequila bottles. They settled for Pilsner instead. By 3:15 AM, we had had it with this artificial beach. Several of the group headed off to Cocoon in the Hanauer Landstraße. I hedged my bets, and walked home to Offenbach over the bridge.

About 40 of the conference’s 120 attendees signed up for a tour through the rare book archives at the University of Frankfurt’s library, which Otmar gave on Sunday morning. Hats off to all who came… some had only slept for an hour and a half. This was a beautiful close to the conference. Being able the see the Egenolff–Berner specimen that inspired the Stempel Garamond and Sabon Next designs was fantastic. Being able to see a copy of Giambattista Bodoni’s Manuale Tipografico was not; I found the layout of these volumes rather disappointing. But that was the only exception to the otherwise gems of printing and design that were on display.

More photos from TypoTechnica 2007 may be found on flickr.