24-hour Hangout for International Women’s Day 2020

If you happen to google “24 hour google hangout”, you’ll end up right here. (Well, not quite right here, but right here.) Last year around now, we had this collectively zany idea to host a global 24-hour hangout to celebrate International Women’s Day and well, it actually went pretty great. That’s why we’re doing it again! Mark your calendars, set your alarm clocks, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee / tea / wine / beer (depending on your timezone) and join us once again this Sunday, March 8 for our 24-hour Hangout for International Women’s Day 2020!
What will we talk about? Whose cat will walk across their keyboard? What’s on Amy’s desktop now? Does 2am even exist on the first morning of Daylight Saving Time? Let’s find out!

From 12am (0:00) EST to 11:59pm (23:59) EST on March 8, join the hangout for conversation on type, the universe, whatever!

>> ̶H̶̶̶e̶̶̶r̶̶̶e̶̶̶’̶̶̶s̶̶̶ ̶̶̶t̶̶̶h̶̶̶e̶̶̶ ̶̶̶l̶̶̶i̶̶̶n̶̶̶k̶̶̶ ̶̶̶t̶̶̶o̶̶̶ ̶̶̶t̶̶̶h̶̶̶e̶̶̶ ̶̶̶l̶̶̶i̶̶̶v̶̶̶e̶̶̶ ̶̶̶H̶̶̶a̶̶̶n̶̶̶g̶̶̶o̶̶̶u̶̶̶t̶̶̶ ALL Done! Thanks for Joining Us!<<

All are welcome* when you can and leave when you need. Video is possible but just audio is fine, too. Keep an eye on this spot and Twitter for the link or any updates and help us spread the word! WOMEN = FUN.

* Participants must follow our code of conduct.

WOMEN = FUN

The Malee Scholarship: Interview with Chantra Malee Montoya-Pimolwatana

screenshot of malee scholarship homepage

The Malee Scholarship awards $6000 USD annually to a woman of color ages 16 and over. The deadline for the first application is April 15, 2020. We asked Chantra Malee Montoya-Pimolwatana, co-founder of Sharp Type and namesake of the scholarship, a few questions about how the idea started, the site’s beautiful branding, and the application process.

When did you realize the scholarship was necessary to help address the lack of representation of women of color in type design?
I grew up in a small New England town that was heavily rooted in the Anglo-American tradition and culture. I was part of a small percentage of people of color there, and I often felt isolated. I’ve taken that experience with me everywhere in my personal and professional life. When I first got into the type business, it was not much different than other industries I had worked in, primarily represented by a single demographic. But this time I was in a position to make a difference.

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Conferences 2018

We’re a few months into 2019, but it’s never too late to look at how women were represented at conferences last year. Especially since there were a couple of standout events.

We salute those type conference organizers who decided to use their 2018 chapter as an opportunity to improve their speakers lists towards gender equality and elevate women’s voices. We can’t wait to see this dedication continue to inspire others.

In order of percentage of female speakers:

100% Ladies, Wine & Design Berlin Conference, DE – Berlin
85% Women in Print, UK – Birmingham
73% Tipografía México, MX – Monterrey
71% Script, print, and letterforms in global contexts: the visual and the material, UK – Birmingham
61% (+38.89%) DiaTipo, BR – São Paulo
50% (0%) Typographics, US – New York City
49% [.01% gender fluid] (+6.06%) TypeCon, US – Portland, OR

44% Ampersand, UK – Brighton
41% (+4.5%) ATypI, BE – Antwerp
39% (+5.10%) Typo Berlin, DE – Berlin
36% Dynamic Font Day, DE – Munich
31% EDCH, DE – Munich
30% Type Drives Culture, US – New York City
28% (-5.56%) BITS, TH – Bangkok
27% Typofest, BU – Sofia & Plovdiv
26% (+16.31%) Typo Labs, DE – Berlin
25% (+12.5%) Kerning, IT – Faenza
25% (+25%) Robothon, DL – The Hague
24% Fontstand Conference, HR – Zagreb
8% All Eyes On Type, NL – Rotterdam

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24-hour Hangout for International Women’s Day 2019

Most of our Alphabettes-related schemes start like this: someone suggests something crazy, logistically nightmarish or technologically complex and instead of doing the sensible thing (taking time to think it through), we forge ahead.

So tomorrow, Friday, March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day we’re planning a 24-hour Google-Hangout-session and you’re all invited. (Well, roughly Friday, depending on where in the world you are). We’ll start earliest Friday morning 00:01 EST (that’s 6am central European time, get your converter tables out!) and we’ll continue until 23:59 EST.
Join in when it’s convenient, leave when you need to, and check back in later. What will we talk about? Who will be there? Where will we be BROADcasting from? We don’t know yet!

All done! Thanks for joining us!

Rather than provide you with another list of typefaces by women (there’s plenty of those lists already), or spout the historical and contemporary contributions of women in type and the lettering arts (we do that a lot and many others do, too), we thought it’d be fun to have real conversations about our daily life, work, location and whatnot, answer questions or show you what we are occupied with. (Video possible but just audio is fine.)

Keep an eye on this spot and Twitter for the link or any updates and help us spread the word! WOMEN = FUN
 

* Participants must follow our code of conduct.

WOMEN = FUN

Dear Alphabettes: What is a good font editor for Windows 10?

Dear Alphabettes,
I worked in Typographer a long long time ago. I made a few of my fonts back then. What I would love to ask you, what is the modern version of that programme? which one can I use for the Windows 10. Thank you very much for your answer.

Dear Windows,

Thanks for your question. We are going to assume you are referring to Fontographer, which you can actually still buy (for Windows or Mac) from its vintage but functional website. What if you wanted to spread your wings a little and fly a bit closer to the sun. What would be your options then, Dear Windows?

At first, we thought this might be a quick LMGTFY situation. However, we treat each Dear Alphabettes question with the utmost respect it deserves. Also, we did that and got this hot mess:

a google search for "font design software for windows 10" turns up a bunch of unrelated things like CorelDRAW and Hallmark card design software.

Thanks but no thanks, Google.

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Some Awesome Experts

Happy International Women’s Day!

Last year, we celebrated by going on strike. This year, we’re introducing you to some experts on type, calligraphy, and lettering live from Robothon 2018 on Instagram. Follow along!


Top: Alessia Mazzarella, Noe Blanco, Nicolien van der Keur.
Middle: Linda Hintz, Irina Smirnova, Christine Gertsch.
Bottom: Sophie Caron, Monika Bartels, Françoise “Fransje” Berserik.

Conferences 2017

We salute those type conference organisers who decided to use their 2017 chapter as an opportunity to improve their speakers lists towards gender equality and we can’t wait to see this dedication inspire the ones that are still failing to keep pace.

In order of percentage of female speakers:

59% Ultrafett, DE – Bielefeld (c)
56% Typism, AU – Gold Coast (c)
54% (+4%) Typographics, US – New York City (c)
50% (+10%) Encontro de Tipografia Conference, PT – Faro (c+p)

49% (+6%) TypeCon, US – Boston (c+p)
46% (+8%) Rencontres Internationales de Lure, FR – Lurs (c)
44% FEED (Foro de Edición e Deseño), ES – Santiago de Compostela (c)
43% ESAD, Everyday Reading, FR – Amiens (c)
34% (–2%) ATypI, CA – Montréal (c+p)
33% Dia Tipo, BR – Curitiba (c)
33% FURE – Future of Reading, DE – Muenster (c)
32% ISType, TR – Istanbul (c)
31% (–2%) BITS, TH – Bangkok (c)
31% Tipografilia, MX – Ciudad de México (c)
29% (–6%) TYPO Berlin, DE – Berlin (c+p)
29% (+5%) Granshan, AM – Yereven (p)
26% Typo Day, IN – Sri Lanka (p)
25% Face/Interface, US – Stanford (c+p)
25% Typotage, DE – Leipzig (c)
24% AGI Open, FR – Paris (c)
22% Dia Tipo, BR – Rio de Janeiro (c)
22% Letrástica, MX – Guadalajara (c)
21% Dia Tipo, BR – Brasilia (c)
17% Typo Day, DE – Hamburg (c)
17% (+7%) TYPO Labs, DE – Berlin (c+p)
13% (0%) Kerning, IT – Faenza (c)
8% Typetersburg, RU – St. Petersburg (c)

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Dear Alphabettes: Freelancing and working from home

Dear Alphabettes,

Of the freelancers among you, what problems and anxieties are you facing? (Is a certain amount of uncertainty and anxiety maybe even necessary for the creativity of a freelancer?) Also, what are your experiences with working from home?

Jeremy

 
Dear Jeremy,

I don’t know if anxiety is necessary for creative practice, but it is certainly something I battle with in life generally! (I have OCD, anxiety and have had a bunch of panic attacks — my work is absolutely a trigger).

When I started out as a designer, I imagined a career in a studio leading a team of collaborators. When I got to that point, I was earning great money, working alongside people I admired on excellent projects — I was, in theory, achieving all my goals, but I was miserable, burnt out, and a nervous wreck. The trouble was in a corporate environment I was determining my worth by the quality of my work — so every project outcome (and compromise) became critical in my self-confidence, and I was busy striving for perfection in every project which was a fast track to the psychologist’s office.

So when I found myself looking to find a more healthy balance in my career and started to seriously consider freelance I was already incredibly anxious (seeing a psychologist twice a week) — I doubted my ability — wasn’t confident I could do good work, get the right clients or pay our mortgage. I wrote a tonne of pro’s and cons lists before getting started and also mapped out my back up career if everything turned to custard! But I was incredibly fortunate to have people around me who believed in my ability when I did not. That support structure was fundamental to me being able to turn my back on a well-paying job to freelance.

Before I wrote a business plan, I drafted a bare-bones household budget (to know exactly how much I needed to earn to cover our essential bills and living expenses). Then I wrote a business plan to ensure I could meet that minimum (x hours at y hourly rate = keep a roof over our head was my most basic formula!). Breaking it down like that gave me an achievable (less daunting) entry point and a specific number of hours to strive for each month.

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Dear Alphabettes, when an author says they’ve written a book, don’t they mean they wrote a text?

We’re being a little cheeky here. This question wasn’t really addressed to Dear Alphabettes, but since we’re on the subject of answering things without being asked, we thought we’d leave our contribution anyway.

One of the temptations is to start this text (in this case, a blog post, not a book!) by asking the broader question: what are books? It reminds me of an episode of Look Around You. Talk about derailing… A book is a book is a book.

When an author says they have written a book, what they mean, and what the vast majority of people understand that they mean, is that they have written the content of the book.

Now you may insist: isn’t the content of a book the same as a text? Usually it would be in text form, yes, although I suppose if an author’s process was to narrate the contents of their book into, say, a recording device, rather than writing it down, we would still say they wrote a book, even if they hadn’t, strictly speaking, written anything down.
Similarly, if you listen to an audiobook, the content would be experienced through sounds, and it would still be a book.

When we hear the word “book”, we tend to picture it in codex form. Printed and bound, a physical object, a set of printed sheets of paper held together inside a cover. The platonic ideal of books. That rules out literature and text written in scrolls, clay or stone tablets, etc. The saying goes we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and yet here we are, defining a book by its shape rather than its contents. Today, however, many books are not even published in printed form, and are available only on e-readers. They are still books.

So let’s not purposely obfuscate things here. When someone says they wrote a book, we all know what it means. Dante wrote The Divine Comedy, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. We understand that they wrote those books, and we are not talking about the physical act of writing (with a pen or a computer), or the physical shape of any specific edition of the book.

As a group of women involved in lettering, typography and type design, we tend to enjoy the physical form of books and, more broadly, the physical form of letters that give shape to written content. There are many hands, eyes and brains that bring the book that the author wrote into the finished form that the reader will hold in their hands, or read through their screens, or listen to through their headphones, etc. Many of us work full-time contributing to this process. We appreciate and celebrate it and we imagine most of our readers do too.

Let’s continue to celebrate all the people that bring books into existence, starting with the people who write them.

 
Do you also have a question about questions nobody asked, the universe, or everything else? Tweet at us @alphabettes_org and if the answer doesn’t fit into a tweet, we may reply here.