The process of lettering a pun

When I first heard about Alphabettes, the name immediately had my attention. As an appreciator of all things punny, I was intrigued. I soon found out it was a place where both women and their opinions were encouraged, and they gathered to talk type. They had lived up to their pun.

While I was savouring this wonderful name and going through the website, I couldn’t help notice the potential for another wordplay. The Hindi word for Daughter is बेटी (beti). It sounds a lot like “bette”. I relished the idea of Alpha bette doubling as “Alpha daughter” in Greek/Hindi. To make it sound more like the plural “Bettes” I pluralised the Hindi word बेटी (beti) using English rules to make it बेटीस (betis). If you’ve spent extended periods of time with me, you might be aware that punning is a serious sport for me and I sometimes tend to go overboard which is why I sat on this pun for about two years. It took me a while and a bit of encouragement to go public with this idea. When I finally wrote to the Alphabettes they green-lit this multilingual pun idea for their header swiftly much to my delight and relief.

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Type Touring 2018

Living in Australia is awesome but one of the toughest moments during the year is when the “type conference season” starts. If you — like me — suffer of major FOMO and don’t even want to open Twitter for weeks, maybe now is a good time to schedule a trip overseas and make it coincide with your favourite Type Conference! Some of them are listed below:

ISType Mono – Istanbul, TR
February 22, 2018

Typo Day – Mumbai, IN
March 1–3, 2018

Robothon – The Hague, NL
March 8–9, 2018

Type Drives Culture – New York City, US
March 23, 2018
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Alphacrit: March 16, 2018

Get out of your head and into a feedback session where two accomplished designers review your in-progress work. This month’s session, focusing on typeface design, will feature Veronika Burian and Laura Meseguer.

Veronika and Laura

Veronika is co-founder of the independent type foundry TypeTogether. Not only has Veronika released some amazing typefaces (hello Maiola!), she’s built a collaborative platform in TypeTogether, supporting not only the work of up-and-coming designers but some of our most accomplished and beloved, too. Learn more about Veronika.

Laura is a freelance graphic and type designer, and runs her own foundry Type-Ø-Tones. As if that weren’t enough, she has dedicated herself to helping others learn typography and type design through teaching and workshops. As such, she is the co-author of a very rare thing in type design — a book about type design — called “Cómo crear tipografías. Del boceto a la pantalla,” or “How to create typefaces: from sketch to screen.” Learn more about Laura.

What to expect: Four people will present in-progress work, each receiving approximately 10 minutes of feedback, with the entire session lasting about an hour. Participants will have the benefit of sitting in on the other critiques as well. To keep it focused, we suggest presenting either a single weight of a typeface or come prepared with a specific question about a multi-weight typeface. Specimens need to be ready about a week before the session so plan ahead!

When & where: Friday, March 16 at 3:00 pm UTC/GMT via video conferencing.

Who can participate: These sessions are open to everyone. Depending on demand, we may give preference to underrepresented groups. Those include, but are not limited to: women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people. The four spots will be drawn lottery style.

How to apply: Fill out this form: Alphacrit application for March 16, 2018 It asks for some basic information, like your name, email address, and a description of your work. Nothing you can’t handle.

Application deadline: March 1, 2018

Questions: Still have questions? Send us an email.

Corsair and Conductor: a co-showcase

Yesterday was a good day for type releases designed or co-designed by women, so here’s a quick double showcase to commemorate the event.

Project: Corsair
Designer: Ksenya Samarskaya
Foundry: Rosetta Type
Team Members: Azamat Kodzoev, Micha Strukov, James Todd (Drawing); Mathieu Réguer (Post-production)
Published: 2018
Link: Corsair

Project: Conductor
Designers: Tobias Frere-Jones and Nina Stössinger
Foundry: Frere-Jones Type
Team Members: Fred Shallcrass
Published: 2018
Link: Conductor
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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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Holiday Shopping with the Alphabettes

Certainly you’ve already gotten twenty dozen emails alerting you that today is CYBER MONDAY and that you MUST SHOP or you’re not doing your duty as a citizen of Planet Earth. If that consumer hypnosis has gotten to you, but you’re wondering how to support some awesome independent women in typography whilst stuffing those stockings this year, check out the shops below!

Left image courtesy Nicole Phillips / right image courtesy Maria Montes

From prints to shirts, greeting cards to enamel pins, these ladies have you covered this holiday season. Please feel free to let us know in the comments what other online stores we may be missing!

Guess what year?

On the way to a depressing union meeting on contract negotiations, I had about 20 minutes to spare so I headed to the library stacks and found a book on women in the printing trades. Here are a few quotes that jumped out:

“[W]e have never obtained a situation that we could not have obtained had we never heard of a union. We refuse to take the men’s situations when they are on strike, and when there is no strike if we ask for work in union offices we are told by union foremen ‘that there are no conveniences for us.’ We are ostracized in many offices because we are members of the union; and although the principle is right, disadvantages are so many that we cannot much longer hold together.”

“She was dressed plainly but neatly in what might be called a cross between a traveling and office suit of brown color. The toughened expression on her face indicated that she was familiar with the tricks of the profession, versed in the study of vulgarity. No tender, trusting female was she, but a hardened, suspicious, masculine woman.”

“This paper is a veritable man-hater; not the slightest mention of a man in any shape or form is to be found in its columns, neither is the genus homo allowed to hawk it!”

“At least let women have a fair opportunity to do something else besides get married. What man is there who would not resent being told that his chief ambition in life should be to be a father? Yet women are told daily that they should devote twenty years of a lifetime in the preparing for motherhood, at least ten years in bearing children, and the rest of their lives in recovering from the effects. If they prefer to think that the world is populated sufficiently, or that to bear a child does not call for the sacrifice of a lifetime, they are snubbed, and especially so when they show any inclination to compete with men in trades.”

Guess what year they’re from? Comments are open!

The answers are available below. You can also head to the comments first if you’re curious what others guessed.

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Type at the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1

Every year, Printed Matter and MoMA choose a sticky weekend in late September to host the New York Art Book Fair at PS1. Between the insane crowds of mostly white people and the heat and the exhaustive, never-ending booths of vendors, everyone leaves traumatized. Which is why it took me six years to go back. But I did, for the love of typography.

I took my intrepid companion, a seven year-old Goth kid who’s really into personal expression, named Francesca. She rides on the back pegs of my bike, and as we came over a small bridge in Queens, we took in the Manhattan skyline and its wavy heat currents. I said, “isn’t living in New York City great?!” … to a native New Yorker, who was like “sure.”

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