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  • So Mr. Spencer, what is a Speculative type designer all about?

    As the top of the homepage of his website suggests, Barry Spencer is a “legibilitator, speculator, type Designer and doctor”. “While the word Legibilitator is obviously a made up title, the others bring attention to what I would actually label myself, a Speculative Type Designer” he adds.
    “What this means, and what I tell people, is that I often make letters that may or may not look like letters” Spencer concludes.

    Melbourne-based Spencer is a university lecturer and freelance designer who has “researched, explored and played with the Latin letterforms” throughout his career as a designer. “By undertaking this research and exploration it has allowed me to reach a point where I have now fundamentally altered the way that I create, perceive and understand the shapes of the alphabet” says the type designer.
    Barry Spencer latest project Speculatype is a book focused on his unique experimentations and speculations with the Latin letterforms.

    Spencer has self-published his doctoral research as a hardcover book that focuses on his unique exploration with Latin letterforms between 2005 and 2013.
    Containing over 230 illustrations showcased throughout each chapter and including nine in-depth case studies of typefaces that were instrumental to Barry’s creative journey and transformation, this book is a visual and theoretical treat for those interested in the boundaries of letterforms and typeface creation.

    “It is not commonplace to engage in a line of questioning that provokes a creative response that departs from the foundations of the Latin letterforms and their history. However, it’s by taking something as implicitly known as the Latin letterforms and applying a completely new interpretation to their creation, perception and understanding that I contribute new knowledge to the field of typographic research.”

    By exploring the Latin letterforms outside of the traditional approach, Barry has created typefaces that have allowed him to experiment and speculate with shapes that would otherwise have been dismissed. However, it is exactly this kind of investigation that has led to the creation of this book and the vast array of unique outcomes that are contained within its 256 pages.

    “This is a thesis that explores the letterforms of our alphabet, not as a problem-solving project, but instead as like a scientific lab experiment or an artistic body of work and from a position that enables creativity through open thought and investigation with the potential to extend into innovation and unknown possibilities.”

    Speculatype: A Tranformative Approach to the Perception, Understanding and Creation of Latin Letterforms is now available for purchase from Barry Spencer Design, Books at Manic (international orders and retail distribution), online retailers and in good bookstores.

    Barry continues to explore the potential of letterforms while also writing and lecturing on graphic design, typography and type design.

    Explore Barry’s work by visiting: or on Instagram @speculatype

  • Typism is typography’s latest conference for the lovers of the letter

    "I wanted to find a way to inspire and motivate my graphic design students” says Dr Dominique Falla of her brainchild Typism. “Many of them showed an interest in typography and lettering but didn't believe it was possible to make a living from it” adds the typographer, graphic designer and lecturer at the Griffith University.

    The Typism Conference—now in its third year—is devoted entirely to the beauty of the written word and for the event some of the world's best calligraphers, sign painters and typographers will descend on the Gold Coast in September for a creative conference that focuses on the craft of typography.
    Typism is the first conference of its kind in Australia and is gaining recognition around the world, with more than 70,000 followers on social media.

    “We are all familiar with fonts—most of us have hundreds on our computer—but who designs them?  The logos for Coca-Cola, Disney, Kleenex, Kellogg's, and Virgin were all hand drawn by lettering artists, and every hipster coffee shop has a hand-painted sign these days. Beautiful type and lettering are invisible to the average person, but surround us every day. The Typism Conference is dedicated to the creative people who make it (or want to learn how)” she adds.
    By bringing together the world's most successful lettering artists, Dominique showcases the craft and the profession to the next generation, with many of her students going on to become successful typographers and lettering artists in their own right.

    Held this year at the Arts Centre Gold Coast on Saturday 30th of September, Typism brings together lettering artists from Australia and the US to share their work, creative process and insights into building a business from your passion.

    For more information on speakers and workshops click here.

  • TwoPoints.Net on Mexico City's "Verano Archivo" new visual identity

    TwoPoints designed a typeface which became the heart of the Flexible Visual Identity (FVI) for “Verano Archivo”, an experimental exhibition with activities for kids and adults in Mexico City's beautiful venue which is "probably the best space for architecture and design in the city".

    "A typeface in itself is already a FVI. It allows us to combine letters to create new forms, able to adjust adequately to context and space" says TwoPointsNet

    "The letters 'VA' or the full title of the event 'Verano Archivo' may be set horizontally or vertically. The letters are either yellow or can be filled with images from the exhibition. The colour yellow, which represents summer, is the common thread of the FVI. It connects all the pieces of the exhibition, the inauguration lunch, the posters and the space itself, even if the typeface or the additional geometric elements aren’t used. Apart from connecting all the pieces of 'Verano Archivo', the FVI also visualized the three different elements of the event: the exhibition, the activity for kids and the activities in the open space. Each of the activities became a color and form code and were silkscreened separately on top of the letters, creating one poster for each of the activities and when printed all together, a general poster for the entire event. On the 'selfie-wall', a huge mirror in the exhibition space, the system turned into an interactive game. The visitors of the exhibition could glue the geometric forms themselves on top of the letters 'Verano Archivo; and take a picture of themselves".
    Check more here

  • Back up Euclid's elements in all their visually conceptual glory

    "Last year we started an adventure. We created a very small independent publishing house specialising in the history of science" writes Kronecker Wallis on it's latest Kickstarter campaign.With Isaac Newton’s Principia already a success KW will continue it's different approach to the editorial design that is typically found in mathematical or physics texts with Euclid's Elements

    "Euclid's Elements has been referred to as the most successful and influential textbook ever written. It was one of the very earliest mathematical works to be printed after the invention of the printing press and has been estimated to be second only to the Bible, in the number of editions published since the first printing in 1482. The Elements is a mathematical treatise consisting of 13 books attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid. It is a collection of definitions, postulates, propositions (theorems and constructions), and mathematical proofs of the propositions. Elements is the oldest surviving large-scale deductive treatment of mathematics. It has proven instrumental in the development of logic and modern science" comments KW on Oliver Byrne take of Euclid's scientific treasure with a totally new and innovative language filled with visual concepts which needs to be reissued after 1847, the year Byrne's first six books of the Elements of Euclid were released - along with the rest seven volumes of Euclid's wisdom.

    KW's minimalist graphic design never looked more appropriate so let's back up the project and celebrate geometry's brand new visual language at it's best. 

  • Steven Heller on a graphic design master, Adolf Hoffmeister

    "Meet Adolf Hoffmeister (1902–1973), a cartoonist, painter, graphic designer, poet, novelist and former editor of the Czech daily newspaper Lidové noviny and the literary paper Literární noviny" writes Steven Heller on one of Europe's masters of graphic design

    "Hoffmeister founded an anti-fascist magazine, Simplicus, in the 1930s after the German satiric magazine Simplicissimus was banned by the Nazis. If that was not enough, he wrote the libretto for a children’s opera, Brundibar (later done by Maurice Sendak), with music by the Czech composer Hans Krása; the opera was performed by children in the Terezín concentration camp where Krása was imprisoned by the Nazis".

    Read his tribute here