We need you!

Have you ever thought of becoming a Mentor with the Alphabettes Mentorship Program? Now is the time to jump into this rewarding and exciting experience. Simply fill in this form and wait to be matched.

Spring term just openend, and we are on the hunt for growing our pool of mentors.

  • Not sure you could be a mentor? If you are unsure you are a good fit to join as a Mentor send us message and we will chat with you about it. Most likely you ARE a great fit, and can really help making a change in people’s lives ❤️️
  • Worried about the commitment? If this is a busy time for you, you can sign up for as little as a 1 month program (about 4 sessions).Moreover, you get to decide with the Mentee your preferred method of communication: Zoom, email, Slack or a combination.
  • How is the schedule? The sessions are flexible in time and dates, and you set them with your Mentee in a way which will make it work for both of you.
  • Will I need to be a mentor forever? We have two annual terms: spring and autumn. After every term, we check in and confirm with you that you are happy to continue. However, if you feel like you need a break, you can always pause.
  • What if I’m not a type designer? We have so many topics that Mentees are seeking guidance on: research, education, lettering, font production, business, writing, typography. If you are in type, you can be a huge help.
  • Can only women be a mentor? Not at all! Everyone is welcome. Since Alphabettes is a network supporting woman, we centre a woman in every pair.
  • Want to hear more? We can send you a recording of a previous Q&A session we did for Mentors. Just email us!
  • We look forward to you!
    The AMP team,
    Eleni, Katy, Liron, Shani, and Veronika

    Alphabettes Mentorship Program opens new term

    mentorship program

    We are thrilled to re-open the mentorship program to new Mentees from around the globe. We especially welcome women and underrepresented groups. Applications for the Spring term can be submitted via the form between the 21 March and 4th April 2021.

    See some presentations of previous Mentees, have a peep behind the scenes, request access to the Q&A for Mentees, and more on the AMP blog and find FAQs and the application forms here.

    The AMP team is looking forward to receiving your applications.
    Eleni, Liron, Katy, Shani, and Veronika

    Mentorship showcase party recording

    A few weeks ago, in February 2021, we celebrated the achievements of the over 200 participants in the Alphabettes Mentorship Program.

    10 selected Mentees presented their projects that they had developed, advanced and critiqued within their mentorship in 2020. They included research and design of the Sharada script, guidance on structuring research material, exploring the personal lettering style, help navigating the business side of type, experimenting with the Gujurati script, digitising and preserving old Columbian metal street signs, turning intricate lettering into a typeface, reviewing a personal typeface, and developing a typeface inspired by Mexican price label cards found in food markets.

    For those who missed these awesome Mentees and their work, you can view them all in this video.

    Thank you to all Mentees and their fantstic Mentors whitout whose incredible commitment and time these wonderful results would not have been possible!

    More results and projects to come soon.

    The Alphabettes Mentorship Team
    Eleni, Liron, Katy, Shani, and Veronika

    24-Hour Hangout for International Women’s Day 2021

    In a year that’s felt like one giant 24-hour online meeting, it’s been difficult to collectively motivate ourselves to organize our 3rd annual 24-Hour Hangout for International Women’s Day. One year ago, socializing on a virtual call with friends and strangers from across the globe for a ridiculous amount of time sounded exciting, even sort of quaint. Now? Well, the novelty has worn off. But, this is Alphabettes! We don’t throw in the towel on crazy! We roll up our sleeves and embrace the chaos.

    Care to join us?

    Here’s how it works:

    From 12am (0:00) EST to 11:59pm (23:59) EST on March 8, stop by for conversations on type, design, the universe, what’s in that dreaded ‘desktop’ folder on our desktop, whatever! Some times may be more spontaneous and chatty, other hours might be filled with activities and presentations.

    Some fun plans throughout the day:

    10am EST: Ulrike chats with Elena Albertoni about The Pre-Vinylettes
    11am EST: Type Education Chat
    12pm EST: Handwriting fun with Eleni B.
    4pm EST: Dina Benbrahim + Lisa Maione talk about design education
    5pm EST: La Hora Spanish!
    6pm EST: Typecooker (ESP, ENG)
    9pm EST: Mónica Munguía chats about her foundry, Momutype, and TypeThursday México City
    10pm EST: Chatting about type event organization

    and more! Surprises! Fun! Chats!

    Who can attend:

    You! All are welcome* to stop by when you can and leave when you need. Video is possible but just audio is fine, too. Or, just help the chat stay aflame. Keep an eye on this post, Twitter, and Instagram for any updates and help us spread the word! WOMEN = FUN.

    * Participants must follow our code of conduct.

    WOMEN = FUN

    Celebrating Mentees & Mentors

    alphabettes mentorship program

    Five years after the Alphabettes Mentorship Program’s (AMP) initiation, we thought it’s time to throw a (online) party! The achievements of the many wonderful people are certainly worth celebrating!

    We’d love to present all projects, but the roughly 200 are simply too many for one evening. So we decided to select a bunch of mentees from various backgrounds with different goals and challenges.

    The projects are developed, advanced and critiqued within their mentorship in 2020. Each of the mentees will have a short presentation to showcase their work and discuss their learnings, experiences and next steps. We very much look forward sharing these stories with you!

    alphabettes mentorship

    Additionally the opening dates for the 2021 AMP season will be announced and we keenly welcome feedback and new ideas for the program.

    Come and join us for the presentations on Zoom and then for socialising on Wonder. The party will take place on 21 Feb at 16:00 GMT. You can check starting time for your timezone.

    Please register at Eventbrite for details.

    We look forward to welcome you on the 21 February,
    Eleni, Katy, Liron, Shani and Veronika

    5 years of Alphabettes

    "Alphabettes" made out of Wood type

    Wood type composition by Grendl Löfkvist

    This September, we’re celebrating five years of Alphabettes. Five YEARS?! While the past six months feels like 20 years, it can’t be possible that we’ve been cultivating this tiny plot of the internet for that long, can it? And yet, here we are.

    According to reliable sources like Grendl, a 5 year anniversary is celebrated with the gift of wood, to represent the durability of the relationship (psst, you might be seeing some wood type around these parts over the next month). Wood is durable, but it can also show signs of its natural aging process. Kind of like Alphabettes.

    What is Alphabettes, anyway? I ask myself that question everyday.

    Alphabettes is a disorganized group of (sometimes) loud and (always) opinionated women who share a love of type and lettering. We respect the diverse lived experiences of women in our industry and we can continue to do better to honor and celebrate this. At its roots, Alphabettes supports and promotes the work of all women in type even if everyone doesn’t agree with what we publish or how we (dis)organize ourselves.

    Alphabettes is built on the stamina of its contributors. We tend to favor spontaneity over perfection. Sometimes, what we do doesn’t live up to expectations. Sometimes (A LOT of time) we disagree. Some people would like to see us more organized, more transparent, more scholarly, or more conventional. It’s never been perfect but here’s the rub: Alphabettes currently has no sponsors, no membership fees, no budget, no heavy-handed editorial policies, and no hierarchies. There are no profit margins to meet, no board members to appease, and no silent benefactors to placate. Despite this (or perhaps because of this?), a lot of good things have come out of the mix:

    • Since 2016, the Alphabettes Mentorship program has helped connect hundreds of professionals with newcomers in the type world. Kudos to Liron Lavi Turkenich, Shani Avni, Eleni Beveratou, Veronika Burian, Katy Mawhood, and everyone else throughout the years (especially Bianca Berning and Isabel Urbina Peña, who started it) has built this amazing initiative.

    Alphacrit has offered over 10 sessions in the past two years for newcomers to have in-progress work critiqued by two seasoned professionals. Nicole Dotin steers the formidable boat (shout-out to co-founder emeritus, Luisa Baeta) with a wonderful crew of volunteers including Sol Matas, Tanya Maria George, Vitória Neves, Tamye Riggs, Lila Symons, and Tânia Raposo.

    • Since 2015, this fine blog you’re reading has published over 300 articles on type and lettering, industry commentary, research in the field, interviews with experts, quite a few series, and has featured nearly 130 headers by women in the type fields. Phew! It’s impossible to name every person who has written, edited, reviewed, code-tweaked, cheerleaded, or contributed to this effort. Big thanks to Elena Schneider who seamlessly ensures the header updates every other Thursday forever and ever.

    • We’ve hosted several live, quasi-chaotic events through the years, including three editions of the Alphabettes Variety Show at the Typographics conference in NYC and the global 24-hour Hangout.

    • Our Instagram feed is taken over each week (or so 😬) by a member of the Alphabettes network, featuring their work, research or things that inspire them.

    • Sometimes we get into good trouble on Twitter but hey, what’s Twitter for anyway?

    • More women have spoken at type conferences and events in the past five years than ever before. We’ve done our best to respond to every request for speaker recommendations, to circulate calls for speakers within our network, and cheer on those who need the extra push.

    • We adopted the 💌.

    • Some more things I am probably forgetting because I, probably like you, haven’t slept much in six months.

    What’s next for Alphabettes? Good question. The Mentorship Program and Alphacrit are going strong and who knows what other ideas we’ll think up in the future. Do you want to publish an article, submit a header or something else? Please get in touch. It’s hard to know when a labor of love has lost its spark or when to gracefully move on. Spontaneity and disorganization can come at a cost but, for now, this place is still worth it. Here’s to five years, and maybe, if we feel like it, five years more? Knock on wood 😘.

    A website for Alphacrit & the next crit

    Website for Alphacrit

    We are excited to announce a new website dedicated to Alphacrit, an initiative of the Alphabettes that organizes critique sessions. Since its beginning in 2018, we’ve held nine sessions over 2 years. 26 participants received expert feedback on their lettering projects or WIP typefaces with many more attending the livestreams. Another 20 or so got their questions about font production or OpenType features answered in special Q&A editions of Alphacrit. The new website brings all the information under one roof.

    The next Alphacrit, the first to be announced on the new site, features María Montes and Isabel Urbina Peña who will review lettering projects on August 20. Read more about both our guests, the application process, and more when you visit our new website!

    Call for mentors

    The Alphabettes Mentorship program has been so successful that we are overwhelmed by the many mentee applications. This is great, but also means that we need to stop accepting new applications for the moment, until we have processed the open requests.

    We are actually actively looking for new mentors. Over 100 mentees need YOU! Please consider sharing your experience with this wonderful and enriching community.

    Simply fill in this form

    Thank you
    Alphabettes Mentorship Team

    Book Review: Natural Enemies of Books: A Messy History of Women in Printing and Typography

    I pre-ordered Natural Enemies of Books: A Messy History of Women in Printing and Typography immediately when I stumbled upon on the ‘forthcoming titles’ page of publisher Occasional Papers’s website. I knew the the title was a reference to an essay in a book designed and printed by a number of women in 1937—Bookmaking on the Distaff Side. I had recently learned about it in my own research and had only just succeeded in getting my hands on a copy from the edition of 100 after many dead ends. Thank you, interlibrary loan, and thank you, UC Berkeley!

    Bookmaking on the Distaff Side was a unique piece of collective work in which women printers were invited by a committee to submit signatures they’d printed to be bound into an edition, which contributor, Kathleen Walkup, refers to as a pot-luck format. This means each submission is printed on unique paper, with varied colors, type, and illustration styles. It’s diminutive size and deckled edges with unique papers (and colors) make it such a treat to hold and leaf through. Content focuses generally on printing and typography, whether it be type theory, history of women and printing, or humorous piss-takes about the famous typographic men of that era. Perhaps my own greatest surprise in reading the book was the shade thrown at male printers and typographers. Though it is often tempered with some clarifying diplomatic statement, it’s clear the women who put this volume together had opinions and knew humor was a clever way to couch their critical opinions.

    Continue reading