At the 1995 Seybold Conference in Boston, Bob Colby (@bobcolby) handed this prospectus to me for a new conference he wanted to put together. It was to be called Typecon. Being new to the industry at that time, I thought it was an exciting idea, if not a little ambitious.
Up until then, Seybold and other design/publishing conferences left me wanting for more type-centric presentations and content. I had not yet been to an ATypI, and was anxiously waiting for it to come back stateside so I could afford to attend on the not-big-enough paycheck I received as a sign maker back then. I don’t know all the back story, but he finally made it happen in 1998.
The first TypeCon took place at the Marriott in Westborough, MA. By then I had relocated to San Francisco and was actively pursuing a career as a type designer. Despite some trepidation at traveling cross country for a new conference, because who knows how good or bad it might be, I took that leap of faith, thinking I should support it if I really wanted to have another option for a type conference.
After landing at Boston’s Logan Airport, I got on the hotel shuttle for the ride out to Westborough. Another guy got on there at Logan after me, a fellow type designer, Miles Newlyn. Cool. We chatted for a while as the shuttle weaved through the city, stopping once more at South Station. It was none other than Matthew Carter waiting to climb aboard. Miles and I knew exactly who he was before he stepped foot into the shuttle and we fell silent at once. I can’t speak for Miles but I was a little intimidated—I mean, it was Matthew Freakin’ Carter, after all! Of course, any of you who have ever met the man could guess that my intimidation was quickly dispatched because Mr. Carter is friendly and easy to talk with. Good thing too, otherwise it would have been a boring hour-plus ride since the traffic was terrible getting out to the hotel that day.
Perhaps Miles or Matthew don’t recall much of that ride or our conversation but I will always remember it and how, for me at least, it set the tone for that entire first TypeCon and what I think is the best conference around for anyone interested in type. I have great memories from that first TypeCon (Chank doing his presentation in pajamas, for one), and every TypeCon I have attended thereafter. I’ve met some great people at TypeCon, many who I consider good friends, even if I only get to see them in person at TypeCon. And yes, I have been to ATypI since. I have much respect for the group of folks organizing the ATypI, but I still selfishly wish it were in the US more often so I can afford to attend it on my not-big-enough paycheck as a type designer now.
This year TypeCon will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 31st–Aug 5th:
Registration is open now. If you haven’t been before, take that leap of faith, you won’t be disappointed. It has gotten even better over the years.
See you there!