TYPO SF: Part II — Creative People

by justinemendoza

I feel so lucky to have seen some incredibly creative and thoughtful people speak at TYPO SF.

“Sketchbooks are not about being a good artist, they’re about being a good thinker.”

— Jason Santa Maria, quoted by Eva-Lotta Lamm

After seeing Tina Roth Eisenberg’s keynote, I hopped over to hear Eva-Lotta Lamm speak about Sketchnotes. Sketchnotes are notes that combine images (analog) and words (symbolic) as well as hierarchy, nonlineary thinking/recording, and real-time processing to create a more comprehensive record of a talk/class/lecture. And they’re good looking:

Eva-Lotta Lamm’s sketchnotes of a TYPO talk by Yves Peters that I missed. 

This was interesting to see despite, or maybe because of, my tendency to use sketchnotes already. Helpful hint I learned: Write words first then draw box or speech-bubble.


“Everything that can be social, will be.”

—Khoi Vinh

Next I saw Khoi Vinh, creator of Mixel. A social art app in which you use “primitive” editing tools to cut and collage photos on your iPad. He was very proud and interested in the “remix” threads that allow you to use the same images that another person uses to create a response or continuation of the previous person’s idea. I don’t have an iPad, but it looks like a fun app.

Mixel Typography by Senongo Apkem ᔥ Pinterest.


“There’s stuff that’s playful, but it’s still anal.”

— Jason Munn on his own work.

“That’s great but can you change the type and color.”

— Parra, relating a client’s response to one of his book covers.

Next up was a panel discussion with two designers/illustrators Parra and Jason Munn. These two guys have become icons in the design and illustration fields, and have a very specific and unique style of work. Parra has these surreal and spontaneous, curvy, beaked creatures and (mostly) integrated voluptious type.Jason Munn has very tight, and constructed visual puns in a minimal setting and color palette. I especially loved hearing how they got their start. Jason started out voluntarily making band posters.


“Stop kerning yourself!”

RXC, from a type specimen

I had to see my boss Rod Cavazos speak, of course. It was great. He started the talk by telling people to turn on their phones, then gave away ‘obnoxious’ prizes (like slidewhistles) to those whose phones made any noise. It was nice to see (almost) all of PSY/OPS and Glyfyx‘s hard work in one neat collection. I worked hard the week before to make visuals for a bunch of projects, including our Sonic Alphabet:


“A complete headfuck.”

— Morag Myerscough, context forgotten.

Morag Myerscough was incredibly visually stimulating. I don’t even think I can describe it. So just look. Look at her stuff! — Oh. And I loved how she called photographs ‘snappy-snaps.’ She’s amazing.


“Pain is temporary, suck is forever.”

— Jason Deamer (sp?), quoted by Michael B. Johnson, advocating quality.

 Finally I saw Michael B. Johnson, of Pixar, talk about, well, Pixar. We got a behind the scenes look at the structure of the studio as well as some of the tools he has made to facilitate production and growth within the company.

I liked what he said about giving a good “note,” which is just another word for critique. In art/design school, you kinda learn how to speak about others’ works by trial and error. Pixar holds TONS of screenings and critiques during the process of making a film. At each point the artist gets notes from a team of people. Michael gave these tips on giving notes:

1. Point out a problem.

2. Propose a solution. Don’t just point out a problem.

3. Give the note when it’s still useful/The problem is still fixable.

4. Notes become opportunities: “Story-boarding is the art of stor-re-boarding.”


I missed a lot of great presentations, many of which they recorded. Unfortunately I can’t find a link at the moment, but when I do I’ll update the post.

Thanks PSY/OPS for getting me to TYPO SF!