Increasing commissioned work for women typographers worldwide
When it comes to the world of typography, there is still a significant gender imbalance in the field. An overwhelming majority of typeface designers are male, even though the field of graphic design as a whole has certainly become more gender-balanced over recent years.
That's why celebrating skilled female type designers worldwide and ensuring credit for their design endeavours is so important. Additionally, female role models are key to inspiring the many girls seeking to enter the exiting world of typography worldwide.
An exciting obsession with lettering
My name is Dominique, and I am obsessed with letters. I once heard typefaces described as the clothes letters wear. If this is true, then consider me a fashion designer for fonts.
As a university Associate Professor, I started Typism as a way to encourage my graphic design graduates to focus on their passions. I gathered together a group of my professional lettering friends, and we created a conference to communicate how to build a successful creative career around a lettering niche.
Typism struck a chord with my students, but also the broader design community. Every year the conference attracts over 300 delegates to one of Austraia's tourism capitals, the sunny Gold Coast, to delight in their shared love of letterforms and learn from some of the industry's brightest and best internationally. In conjunction with the conference, the Typism community also publishes a curated book of the best black-and-white lettering in the world. While many attendees at the conference are from within Australian, the publication attracts submissions from every corner of the globe.
The science of lettering
Typism is an 'ism' which encapsulates all forms of lettering, calligraphy, and typography. To the novice letter lover, there might be some confusion between those three terms, so let's take a moment to clarify each one.
Lettering, specifically hand lettering, describes any letter form which has been constructed or illustrated from scratch. You might think of lettering as being drawn letters, either by hand, on an iPad, or a computer.
Calligraphy, on the other hand, is a letterform which relies on the tool for its unique shape and features. A brush pen, for example, makes thin strokes and thick strokes depending on how the device is used. When drawing a letter form with the brush pen, the downward strokes are thicker as a result of pressing down on the tool. As the tool moves in an upward direction, it is lifted, and the line becomes thinner as a result.
Typography is the art of rearranging preformed letters. If you have ever opened a computer program and selected a typeface, any lettering you then arrange on a page is known as typography. Related to this field is the art of designing the fonts themselves, and typeface designers do this.
Pre-computer, typeface designers used wood and metal to create their typefaces. In the digital age, most fonts are designed using a computer and made available for use digitally.
Social media is the home of creative typographers
The popularity of Typism spread quickly because of image sharing on social media. Many typographers embrace social media as a way to realise the power of the shareable word via social media.
As we curated the work of lettering artists, calligraphers and typeface designers, a thriving community sprung up around this idea, and our shared love of letterforms united us.
No matter your age, race, gender, or physical location, social media is a great leveller when it comes to sharing your work online. No matter what language you speak, the power of the written word is amplified when you dress your letters in beautiful clothes.
Vichcraft is the online moniker of Chicago punk rock lettering artist Jenna Blazevich.
She stitches and sticks her letters onto clothing and products to empower and advocate for social change from her shopfront studio.
Lauren Hom from Homsweethom has a sweet online persona but don’t be fooled. This lady kicks serious ass as a lady boss.
With almost 200,000 Instagram devoted followers, lauren leads the way in online business and entrepreneurial flair.
She runs successful courses, workshops, and now a podcast - all built on the back of her lettering skills.
Lettershoppe is the online home of Dina Rodriguez where she publishes lettering pieces about mental health, cannabis culture and body positivity.
She creates and sells branded products but more importantly, her Instagram serves as a place for women to go and learn that it's OK to be themselves.
Typism rhymes with Feminism
Typography can empower women through its creativity, its skills and via the income it can generate. With greater visibility can come greater economic empowerment for women.
Typism is very proud to be a Friend of International Women's Day to celebrate the wealth of female lettering artists around the world.
Follow the Typism Community on Instagram to keep up to date with all things lettering related.
Dominique Falla is the founder of Typism. She used to be a creatively frustrated designer, tired of being undervalued by digital technology and outsourcing until she began developing her own unique lettering style. After a while, she learned how to share her work online, build a global audience and be valued for her creativity. She founded the Typism Community to help others do the same and she hosts a conference once a year to bring a sense of this community into the real world.