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2022 Design Lectures: Ten Videos to Revisit at the New Year

Last year Letterform Archive hosted 24 virtual events exploring typography from around the world. You can still watch them all.

2022 was another busy year for online public programming at the Archive. Over the year we recorded two dozen visually rich presentations on typography, graphic design, and their connection with our culture at large. These events include Letterform Lectures, a companion to the Type West certificate program in type design; our Salon Series, featuring staff or guest experts taking a deep dive into a specific theme within the Archive; and a special event with Ellen Lupton celebrating the culmination of the Bauhaus Typography at 100 exhibition.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch these talks as they happened, here are ten suggestions to get started. Letterform Lecture recordings are available to all, thanks to support from Adobe Fonts. Salon Series recordings are available exclusively to Letterform Archive members. Visit your member benefits page to access these videos.

Salon Series 35: Love
with Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Nat Pyper, Martin Venezky

Part of the programming for the ongoing exhibition Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest, this Salon focuses on the many ways love has been integral to protests, movements, and community organizing. The session gives us a peek into the practices of Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Nat Pyper, and Martin Venezky, who each take us through their process, covering highlights as well as struggles. The conversation at the end, moderated by Silas Munro, draws connections between visual form, and public discourse.

Members have access to this recording on their member benefits page. If you aren’t a member, it’s easy to join or renew.

Salon Series 34: Designing Resistance
with Nikki Juen, Rick Valicenti, Ziddi Msangi

The first Salon for Strikethrough, assembles three artists whose work is in the exhibition: Ziddi Msangi, Nikki Juen, and Rick Valicenti. Each tells the story of how their work was produced and the conditions that catalyzed them. The presentations are followed by a discussion examining the shared threads of their diverse practices as well as the need to tell the many histories of graphic design, centering less-recognized creators and broadening the scope of the field.

Members have access to this recording on their member benefits page. If you aren’t a member, it’s easy to join or renew.

The Tactile Book: Embossing Systems for Blind Readers
with Mike Hudson

The Museum Director for the American Printing House for the Blind, Mike Hudson, gives us a history of education and rehabilitation for the visually impaired, presenting tactile books and the printing equipment used to emboss those books. His talk takes us through the limitations of using scripts created for sighted folks and also touches upon Braille systems for non-alphabetic writing systems.

Uncovering the History of Early Women Type Designers
with Lauren Elle DeGaine

Letterpress enthusiast and printer, Lauren Elle DeGaine showcases her feminist analysis on ten women designers and their work on metal typefaces. She explains in detail the project that started as her MA thesis, which now consists of an essay, graphical sketches of women type designers, collection of metal type and print material, and newly printed specimens using letterpress type.

Series 31: Using Arabic Letterforms in Contemporary Book Art
with Islam Aly

Islam Aly books explore the possibilities of historical bindings in contemporary book arts. In his presentation, he talks about his initiation into the craft and the process for a few of his projects that are now part of the Archive’s collection. He takes us through his approach to book making and how he pushes the form through his unique approach to writing, typography, methodology, and materiality.

Members have access to this recording on their member benefits page. If you aren’t a member, it’s easy to join or renew.

Bauhaus Typography at 100: A View from Letterform Archive and Cooper Hewitt
with Ellen Lupton

The Archive’s first exhibition, Bauhaus Typography at 100 wrapped up earlier this year with this talk by Ellen Lupton, Curator Emerita at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in collaboration with Cooper Hewitt. Lupton talks about how the Bauhaus used graphic design as a subject and medium but also as a tool to propagate their design ideals. She showcases objects from the collections at Letterform Archive and Cooper Hewitt. The talk is one of the many ways to continue interacting with the exhibition that now lives online.

Untangling Japanese Type
with Toshi Omagari

Multiscript type designer Toshi Omagari is from Japan, but this lecture was the first he’s given about his native script. His presentation focused on Japanese typography while touching upon type design for the script as well. Omagari created many points of entry for someone to dive deeper into the topic by talking about the characteristics of the various scripts and typesetting technologies used for the language, as well as more recent trends and popular lettering styles.

For a Labor History of Typography
with J. Dakota Brown

With a long pedigree in designing and teaching, J. Dakota Brown’s recently completed dissertation research argues for a new history of typographical labor. Our typographic backstory is deeply intertwined with the working class history of printers and the labor conflicts that got us there. Type history traditionally focuses on technology and advancements in automation. Brown situates these developments in their political context. Besides his dissertation he has published an extensive online essay on the subject.

Words with Shape and Soul
with Dina Benbrahim

Professor, scholar, and multi-disciplinary creative Dina Benbrahim takes us on a tour of the letterforms of Morocco. She layers her examples with the social, cultural, political, and linguistic context in which they were created. Her photographic highlights include Arabic letterforms found in manuscripts, record covers, ancient stone engravings, as well as more recent examples, such as street signs and letters landscaped onto the side of a hill. Her presentation covers traditional calligraphic practices while drawing connections to contemporary, abstract interpretations of the script.

What Makes a Typeface Legible? Ask Science
with Sofie Beier

Danish researcher and type designer Sofie Beier builds on existing knowledge about reader behavior with a particular emphasis on selected scientific research within the fields of typeface legibility, graphic communication, and human-computer interaction. Her presentation illustrates the various experiments conducted at the Center for Visibility Design at the Royal Danish Academy that are used to validate assumptions about font legibility.

This is just a sampling of the event recordings available from 2022. You can catch the rest on Vimeo or YouTube. You can also visit your account page to view members-only recordings. Not a member? You can join now!