I’m back at Typecon and things are in full swing now. There was a long but fascinating keynote presentation from Tobias Frere-Jones last night on type as security in banknotes. It was the main entertainment for the evening and went on an on for a bit. I actually had to cut out before I could ask my question – “Why are the new 100s so damned ugly.” Probably just as well.
Today is the first day of the main program. There are presentations all day long, they type gallery is open and the store is selling stuff. The Typecon folks are well meaning but they really have no clue when it comes to retail marketing of fonts or anything else. For example its nice that they have our special Walter Crane collection at the checkout, at least it would be if you could tell that it was the checkout at all. As someone pointed out it looked more like a networked Minecraft game. Also some sponsors seem to have gotten special display space an option which I didn’t see offered and which could have been used more creatively with more font foundries actually selling their fonts.
Particularly interesting offerings today were the Silent Auction and the Type Gallery. The Silent Auction includes all sorts of nifty type memorabilia, the most exciting of which too me is a numbered print of Eric Gill’s drawings for Gill Sans Bold Condensed from 1937. I’m currently leading the bidding at $75. The type gallery contains all sorts of interesting entires from the prosaic (ours shown to right) to the fantastical. Some of the entries aren’t really type. They’re more hand drawn riffs on type like the hand drawn poster of Annie Oakley by Chandler O’Leary.
All told I’ve learned some thing at Typecon and one of the biggest lessons is that we need to commit big time for an event like this and go all out with cool items for the store and silent auction and definitely have a presence of the program. Our samples in the Type Gallery were definitely an afterthought and look like it. On the other hand out USB disks of the Walter Crane collection may be too avant garde. Virtually no one has actual fonts in the store and certainly not packaged as conveniently. But because they’re the only item of that sort people don’t know what to make of them so next year will have to bring a few more packages to keep them company and make a bigger splash.