The story begins in Antwerp during the ATypI 2018 conference, the annual meeting of the global type community. During those few days it became apparent that the TYPO Labs conference, a spin-off of the known TYPO Berlin, with special focus on type technology, would not take place anymore. The previous editions of TYPO Labs had garnered much interest from the community and so the disappointment about these news was palpable. Immediately voices were heard as to the urgency of organising a new event.
A range of possible options was discussed with the result that GRANSHAN with its international reputation and global network within the type scene, together with relevant organisations like ATypI and tgm – Typographische Gesellschaft München would constitute an excellent framework. Along the way towards «Typelabs» of the future, the three curators encountered Dave Crossland at ATypI Tokyo, a member of the Google Fonts team. He also expressed interest in a new event for the type community focused on type technology, and revealed he had similar discussions earlier in the year at the Libre Graphics Meeting in Saarbrücken. He suggested that, since Google has sponsored various events in the past (TYPO Labs, LGM, Typographics, TypeCon, ATypI, BITS, TMX, DiaTipo, and more) it might be possible to sponsor such an event in the future. Moreover a first conversation with Ana Regidor, who many know as the powerhouse behind TYPO Labs, had happened already in Antwerp. She was immediately excited and ready to back such activities with her organisational talents.
In this way, as first step, TypeTech MeetUp in Munich was conceived as part of the Munich Design Week (MCBW), to be held in March 2020. We want to sincerely thank the team, and especially our event organiser Ana Regidor, behind the scenes and all volunteers, who donated their manpower, time, and enthusiasm to make TTM Munich happen. However regrettably due to the well-known circumstances this in-person event had to be cancelled a few days before the event.
The need for such non-profit, community-driven platform to share knowledge, foster new relationships and also business opportunities for attendees and speakers alike, did not disappear though. On the contrary perhaps, community is becoming ever more important. Thus, after some reflection of what can be done, it was decided to shift TypeTech MeetUp into the virtual space and offer four short sessions with four defined topics spread over 10 months. These four topics are: UI/UX Type & Typography, Multiscript and Web Typography, Tools & (collaborative) Type Design, Type Design & Society. We are making sure to involve most of the speakers of TTM March recognising their work they have already put into it and are inviting additional experts for the moderated discussion.
Each evening is split into two parts with input talks at the beginning followed by a round-table discussion. We are experimenting with a community platform called Vito to create a place where participants can actively interact with each other, share and ask questions. The appeal of Vito is that contents remain available to registered users even after the event has taken place, and the conversation can continue. This could be a powerful tool to advance the initiated discussion.
The type community and related activities rely heavily on voluntary work by enthusiastic members. So, we the curators too, organise this series in our free time, because we believe that a platform to discuss current and future digital communication is important and relevant.
We also want to sincerely thank all speakers, and all other volunteers who donate their time, and enthusiasm to bring TypeTech MeetUp online to life.
Photo of Veronika Burian, Gerry Leonidas & Laura Meseguer by Norman Posselt