My Typo Berlin ’17 highlights

My Typo Berlin ’17 highlights

by Glenn Garriock

Two weeks ago I attended the Typo conference in Berlin and it was as eye-opening as every year. Typo manages to find a great mix of speakers from a variety of disciplines.

Starting with a harrowing account of Spiegel’s foreign correspondent Susanne Koelbl about her experiences in conflict zones, legendary podcast host Debbie Millman recounting highlights from her show over the past 10 years, to Erik Kessels presenting us his book of dick-pics… yes, every single page… there is something for everyone at Typo.

Here are some of my highlights from three days at the event to give you a better idea of what to expect next year.


Day 1



Underware showed off some great examples of variable fonts including their new release Zeitung and the yet to be published Duos, a variable line script. They also presented what must be the shortest domain on the internet today: www.ᗚ.com using a unicode loophole.


Rejane dal Bello

Rejane taught us to “fuck with type” and showed her development of the beautiful and poignant Alzheimer Nederland Foundation identity.


Aoi Yamaguchi

Master calligrapher Aoi Yamaguchi showed us the many facets of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy.

“Imperfection is beauty, there is no control in my world.” — Aoi Yamaguchi

Day 2


Gary Hustwit

Hustwit gave us some pointers on story telling in VR and 360 video, showing that more visual complexity equals less story comprehension. Afterwards we got to watch some examples that his company Scenic had worked on and I have to say I have never enjoyed watching 360 video until then.



Thomas Michelbach & Jochen Rädeker of Strichpunkt gave us an insight into preparing Audi for the digital future with an open brand portal that is “always in beta” as it elves to fit the companies requirements.


Debbie Millman

Writer, educator, artist & brand consultant, Debbie Millman recounted the early beginnings the world’s first podcast on design which she started in her 40’s. For the first 4 years she recorded the show on 2 telephones hooked up to a recorder.

“Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” — Debbie Millman


Erik Spiekermann

Erik Spiekermann told us about some of his favourite projects from his career, brushed off being was heckled by an impatient female audience member and ended with his plans to skip retirement and focus on projects like p98a which I hope to visit some day.

Photo by Norman Posselt

Day 3


Rich Roat, House Industries

House Industries’ Rich Roat told us stories from the early days of the company and how they started a font mailorder company with only the letter to spell the names of the fonts being finished. He’s a big believer in bringing your hobbies to work as most of House Industries’ most memorable work has come from random coincidences that stem from a hobby.

We also got to have a look into their new book ‘The process is the inspiration’, soon to be reviewed on FFF.


Henning Wagenbreth

Henning Wagenbreth showed us how his work progressed over the years and what he thinks might be the only postage stamp ever designed to include a poo illustration for Till Eulenspiegel.


Erik Kessels, Kessels Kramer

As mentioned in the intro Erik Kessels gave us an awkward laugh by showing us one of his photographic collections of dick-pics. But his best anecdote came from the pitch of their now often copied Iamsterdam campaign.

Apparently they we’re so sure about their idea that the registered the rights to Amsterdam before the pitch. After their presentation of the idea they we’re met with silence from the client. Apparently another agency had presented the identical idea just a few hours before. So Kessels Kramer said well you’ll have to work with us if you like the idea as we own the rights.

Tickets for next years Typo Berlin are now available, so grab that early-bird discount while you can. Keep an eye on our events page for updates.

Cover Image by Norman Posselt

Glenn Garriock