Early January 2021 feels like a lifetime ago. Those were some of the darkest days of the pandemic, when vaccines were out of reach for almost everyone, daylight remained at a minimum, and the US was dealing with the aftermath of an attempted coup. Recording this episode of the podcast Warm up [on type], part of the 11et Encontro de Tipografia, was cathartic: Bianca Berning, Tânia Raposo, and myself discuss what Alphabettes is (and isn’t), what the group has accomplished (Mentorship Program! Alpha Crit! Blog! 24-Hour Hangout! Community! Feminist Agitation!), and what it hasn’t (Transparent Organizing! Being Totally Inclusive! Agreeing on All Things! Knowing What The Hell We Are Doing!).
Thank you to ESAD.CR Masters in Graphic Design students Diana Duarte, Beatriz Homem, Gabriela Silva, Sidónio Silva for having us, and providing the opportunity for some self-reflection at a time when we all needed it. ♥
After deciding to become a graphic designer at some point during the first 23 years of my life in Siberia, I remember spending my days alone, in front of a computer: taking online classes, watching design conferences, and making self-initiated projects. I preferred to avoid client work that didn’t show promise in favor of my own, made-up assignments that would look good in my book. Instead of collaborating with people around me, I focused on getting better at my craft with as few distractions as possible. It seems that eventually I got what I wanted: I made a portfolio good enough to move to New York.
The quarantine came quickly and forced us to stay home, isolated, away from the social contact we are used to. You might think that typeface designers were already stuck in caves before the pandemic anyway, but as I mentioned in an email exchange with one of my great teachers, Rubén Fontana, it’s one thing to choose solitude and another to have it imposed on you. In his own words, “It seems that humans cannot accept anything being imposed on us, not even for our own convenience”. So the question arises, is it possible to transform a situation that is imposed from the outside, into the protagonist of opportunity? Continue reading