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Design Driven NYC: #TypeFace, an online space for #Designers, #Design for non-designers and designers

Posted on December 9th, 2015


12/8/2015 @ TheNewSchool, 66 West 12th Street, NY

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Four speakers talked about design related concepts:

In the first presentation, Gale Anderson @SchoolOfVisualArts shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for different type sets. Gale talked about various design projects from her largest, a sign on the campus of the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA to her smallest, a U.S. stamp commemorating the emancipation proclamation.

She as co-authored with Steve Heller 12 books typefaces and wrote the book “Outside the Box” on hand drawn type on packages.

Gale also talked about how her passion for type extends to a collection of bottle caps and pictures of outdoor signs in NYC.

Gale spoke about the many authors who have inspired her and given her insight. These include

  1. Paul Rand and Alex Steinweiss
  2. Alvin Lustig
  3. Beverly Thompson
  4. Bruna Munari
  5. Saul Bass

Some of her favorite contemporary designers include

  1. Fred Woodward
  2. Paula Share
  3. Louise Fili – signs in Italy & Paris

She recommended as a reference book – Ellen Lupton “thinking with type”

The second speaker talked about a site for posting your accomplishments in the world of design. Anil Dash @Makerbase has created a site where designers can memorialize their work and seek like minded people.

Anil talked about the difficulty in getting credit for your accomplishments and how the site strives to make the site a good environment. He talked about discouraging “drive-by contributors” with the following rules

  1. Persistent identities – so you can see the history of what you have done. Don’t require real names, but you cannot be anonymous
  2. Adding accountability around content
    1. Whenever you change things – the editing actions are visible in context.
    2. Show your actions to your peers – receive email notification.
    3. Trust people to use their judgment.
    4. You can edit your own page.
    5. All your actions are viewable in your profile.
    6. There is a moderator for content who will get an alert if there is an “edit battle” (if a page is being modified frequently by two individuals) or other disturbances
    7. Make it easy to flag anything, anywhere
    8. Make a place people can trust
    9. Anything you put on the site is public.

He said the biggest challenge is to get people to come back and also for people evaluate what other people are doing.

He wants to make the site a place to share information on how to solve problems.

Next, Sara J Chipps @Jewelbots talked about how she, as a non-designer, manages designers.

Sara loves good design and spoke of how important design is in the products (Amazon Echo, Glossier , Bustle, Caeden (headphones)) she uses and the games (monument valley) she plays. However, she is not a designer. She gave recommendations on how to acquire good design if you are not a designer and how to communicate with designers.

Sara’s Principles (for those who are not good at design):

  1. Copy those who know how to design – Googled “beautiful slide deck”: Solid color background, sans serif, mostly in caps, etc.
  2. Illustrator and photoshop are difficult. Like pixelmator since it is easier to use.


When dealing with designers in your business

  1. Hire for perfection – and passion for the craft
  2. Never be prescriptive – better to share what your emotional response when you view the page.

Finally, Josh Long @Oscar (health coverage) talked about how design fits into a rapidly growing company that needs to design for many groups: patients, doctors, etc.

He talked about ways to make design work

  1. Don’t wait for things to happen – come up with your own objectives.
  2. Everyone has the right to come up with ideas, so respect what other are creating
  3. Experts need to make the big decisions – it’s a balancing act
  4. Don’t be precious about anything – your first idea might not be the best

Embrace the chaos.

When asked about the type face for the whimsical ads on the subway, Josh said that they wanted to balance the playful nature of the graphics with serifs on the type face to emphasize the serious nature of the product.

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