Notes from TYPOSF

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I was super excited to attend Typo 2014 in San Francisco, April 10-11. Following is a (very) brief coverage of my time at the event, so that I can share things learned (but most of all remember them for myself). The bulk of the notes I take are quotes from the speakers that resonate with me (these appear in bold).


Day 1:
Hilarious Facilitator: Erik Spiekerman (told me how to properly pronounce the ‘Nueu’ in Helvetica)

Maria Popova, The Science of Productivity and the Art of Presence
Great speaker, eloquent and motivating. She wore these cool yellow fingerless gloves that went up to her elbows. Spoke about the essence of our work ethic: show up, show up, show up. Showing up every day is the way to achieve lasting success.
How we spend our days = how we spend our lives. Show up with presence.”

Renee Knip, Wandering through the 2.5 Dimension
Presented his playful type creations applied in the environment. Seemed to favor stencil styles in his typefaces.
Think about the little potatoe. rely on what you learned as a child.”

Sibylle HagmannMapping your Creative Journey
Yay, a female type designer! I used her font Cholla, as part of the brand style guide for a client years ago. Her recent sabbatical focused on researching type in East Germany. This led her to the creation of her next font, Bria (influenced by Baskerville and geometric sans), currently in the works (below). Personal projects included drawings inspired by found type on junk mail, and reproducing type on book covers.
“Investigating form-making techniques with open ended results.”


Elliot Jay Stocks, Advanced Web Typography
Creative Director, Typekit
My brain was fried after This one. Lot’s of images of code, and helpful information about where the technology is currently. I feel better informed on this topic after his presentation. The articles on his blog are a must-read.

Luna Murer from Moniker, Connect Your Line to a Line in a Different Color
Spoke about weekly studio experiments with dots and lines, called Thursday afternoons.
“Nothing is arbitrary- you always react to what you see.”
“Being bound to rules vs. the freedom to steer.”

Day 2:
Lisa CongdonEmbrace the Abyss
The first time you engage in something new you experience a combination of anxiety and excitement. This fear of the unknown = when we are most ready for creativity. Go outside your comfort zone every day and PLAY. Keep making and keep sharing. Risk is essential. Say YES to things you don’t know how to do.
“Define yourself by your humanity NOT your achievements or failures.”
People connect with your humanity. Embrace your experiences.

Josh HigginsMoments of Change
It’s all about the moments that change your life. For him, being asked to work on the Obama 2012 campaign. On the campaign styleguide: “Consistency builds trust.”

Yasmin Kahn, Between the Beats: A space for becoming
Educator, Otis
My workspace is heavily typographic”
She investigates the notion of print behaving as online things. Gave a peak of a project in development: a collaborative teaching tool for type (coming soon:

George Aisiadis, The Gift (and curse) of Curiosity
Young excited, energetic. Playfully re-imagining the world around us. The most personal becomes the most universal. Experiments are essential. Every day we are handed other people’s ideas of the world. Be more mischievous.
When something goes wrong, remember to take a picture”

Take Away
Some of the conference content felt recycled. The main stage presentations were all meant to inspire, and mostly exceeded in doing so. Especially the opening speakers on both days (Maria and Lisa). I now want to go back to my studio and make type-related things with my hands. Notes to self: get some neon paint. Put some hand lettering over a photo. Learn more about web typography. Take time to experiment without an expected outcome.

Blogging about type

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

As the months go by, my column Playing with Type on continues to grow. Posts center around typography and projects from my book, as well as interviews and design musings. Check it out!

Thank you HOW magazine

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


Great selection of recommendations in the HOW issue on typography, which includes my book!


Type Stools

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

My fellow type enthusiast Annica Lydenberg and I had a great time painting these stools!


Brooklyn Style

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Whenever a friend asks for help with the design side of wedding organization, i’m always happy to help. I like to get crafty and stay very low budget. With this one, I used a rubber stamp to decorate the menu, back of favor tags, and other printed items at the reception (cupcake descriptions! cake flavors!). The nametags also used a rubber stamp alphabet, and have that nice silk screened affect. The reception is at Frankie’s in Brooklyn so the palette and type choices (Knockout and Mrs. Eaves) fit perfectly with the environment.

 photos: Eva Dahl


Thursday, June 30th, 2011

I’m taking the type@cooper program this summer and loving every minute of it! Learning so much and meeting some great people. Sumner Stone is schooling us on the history of typography. We’re spending hours drawing letterforms and practicing calligraphy. Sara Soskolne from H&FJ is teaching us FontLab and helping with the development of our typefaces (more to come on the progress of my project). Yesterday Ken Barber from House Industries had us practice hand-lettering.

A few classmates are blogging about their experience (thanks to all!), i thought i’d share:
Desmond Wong,  Jack Curry

learn new things: cross stitch!

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Part of this year’s resolutions includes number 12, ‘learn new things’. I’m happy to announce the completion of my very first cross stitch project. I pretty much freehanded it, after finding cross stitch type online and using that as my reference. The letterforms are a bit wonky but hey, it’s my first try.

One of my past students, Emily Wilbur, first turned me on to the craft. And for all you guys out there, there’s room for everyone.  Check out Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men (yes, the 70′s pro-football player). via Emily Wilbur.

Twitter + Design

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

I used to associate twitter with Lindsey Lohan failing her drug test. Then one day I was at a design event and attendees were asked how they found out about it. Everyone said twitter. I said the Daily Heller. Then I was told that the Daily Heller had a twitter feed, and other design-related feeds had tweeted about the event as well. Interesting.

This inspired me to set up a twitter account. And download the twitter app for my iPhone. It took a while for me to build up a list of people to follow. I got ideas from looking at who other designers followed. I love type, so I started following Hoefler Frere-Jones, who follows we love typography, and now so do I. I also follow a lot of the followers of we love typography. I follow Ellen Lupton who tweeted about an article in the New York Times, so I signed up to follow the NYT directly. I discovered that some people tweet too much. I really don’t need to know what you’re doing that’s design-related every. single. hour. Then i figured out how to unfollow people. Just like unfriending on facebook. A timesaver and great alternative to abstinence.

Yesterday I tweeted for the third time! It’s not often that I feel like I have anything worth tweeting. It was very exciting, like publishing that first blog post. That feeling of ‘look at me, i’m out and about in the world! Twitter has become my new favorite tool for communicating with the design community. I will now tweet about this post. Follow me @laramacaroon

my work is on

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Hey, aren’t those the posters I did for NCADD in the background? on MTV?!?

Letters in to Type workshop

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

I just finished a week-long workshop with Sarah Soskolne from Hoefler & Frere-Jones about typeface design. it was AMAZING! Offered by SVA continuing education. I’ve highlighted important nuggets of info and included links to references that were mentioned.

Day 1
On the first day Sarah did a presentation on the history of type up to Futura. She referenced James Mosley and many more. After lunch we experimented with a selection of writing tools (markers, calligraphy pens, different sized nubs, something that looked like a hollow shoot of bamboo).

Day 2
The second day Sarah gave us a demo on using type tool. I had never used the program before and found the interface confusing (by the end of the week I felt comfortable with it). Sarah helped me choose a type specimen to work from- my original idea of creating a gothic alphabet from found wood type had been done before. She guided me in the direction of a face with a set of lowercase, since these are harder to create. In one of her type books I found a friendly roundish specimen called Canterbury that I decided to revive and customize.

Chester Jenkins came later in the day to talk about the work he’s doing at village, a boutique foundry in Brooklyn. I fell in love with Arbor, which he originally created for the NY Times magazine. Check out the counters in the lowercase e, o, a. I’m usually not a fan of the western-looking fonts, but this one has a retro 60′s feel to it. In the yellow shirt Tom is pictured, working away. I sat next to him and he helped me with a ton of little annoying questions i had throughout the week (thanks Tom!).

Day 3
We’re really getting into it. Here is a brief list of steps for making the font:

1. Scan in source material at a high resolution.
2. Bring image into Photoshop or Illustrator and begin tracing your letterforms with the pen tool. Start with the control characters, lowercase n,o,p or uppercase HOMD.
3. Bring your traced letter into Typetool. Paste it in the glyph box that corresponds with the letter.
4. Refine your letter, using the pen tool and bezier curves. and more bezier curves. they are your best friend. You can also copy and paste your original specimen from Photoshop into the background of your glyph window and use this as a guide.
5. Once you have control characters that you are pleased with, use them to create your other letterforms. the p can be the starting point for your b, q. From the o you can make your c. from your n you can make your m. Etc….
6. With your glyphs partially done, generate the font file, install, and test your font in various sizes with InDesign.
7. PRINT your font in all sizes. It looks much different on screen. use adhesion text to generate the letterforms you complete as you go along.
Tip: Remember to think of a typeface as a system. Focus on the whole rhythm and pattern, not just a single letterform.

Day 4
Work, work, work. Pictured is the proper way to set up your windows/toolbars. The more letters I did the better I got at the program and started to feel comfortable. I took the serifs off of my original type specimen and shortened the ascenders and descenders. I even began to tackle the uppercase.

Day 5
Last day of the workshop. Worked busily throughout the morning and Tobias Frere-Jones came by later to critique our fonts. You can see a glimpse of what some of them looked like. Pictured, Tobias talking to Juan about his font. I can’t wait to finish my typeface (more uppercase to go). It becomes addicting once you get a taste for it.


Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

I love random moments like this!
1st Ave at 4th St

i am on ed benguiat’s jock

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I love typography and have always been a fan of Ed Benguiat. He has crafted over 600 typefaces including Tiffany, Bookman, Panache, Edwardian Script, and the self-titled typefaces Benguiat and Benguiat Gothic.  He’s a legend, a hall of famer. Today i had the opportunity to hang out with him. At the student portfolio review, professors were divided into groups, and guess who was in my group? Yes!

I didn’t want to approach him like a groupie so i simply told him how nice it is to to meet him. He made a joke (that i can’t remember, something about ex-wives). He told me stories. We compared notes on what a beautiful thing type is and how obsessive one can get with it. He told me on his ride over to the art director’s club that morning (in his limo), he was taking pictures with his phone of type on buildings. AMAZING. He still has the passion for the craft.

I feel so lucky to live in New York and have access to graphic design legends. What a warm, wonderful man.

my wedding invitation!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Yesterday all of the invitation emails were sent out. I created a simple typographic invitation using three fonts: Clarendon (because i love it’s old school slab-serif flavor), Knockout (a typeface used in the New York Times Magazine, created by a NYC type foundry), and Bodoni italic (an italian typeface, because the reception is at an italian restaurant). If I was to get it printed, it would be letterpressed on a creamy 110# cover stock (imagine that!).

Typeface Love

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Last year I sent out a digital valentine (top) to all my students. Later, one of my PRATT students, Emily Wilbur, gave me the most AWESOME gift (above). You probably get it that I love Helvetica. What typeface do you love?


Monday, February 1st, 2010

I’m thoroughly enjoying teaching ‘What’s Your Type?’ an experimental typography course I developed. Students are constantly asked to think about type in context; as it relates to its environment, how does its meaning change? Last semester we played around with the idea of edible typography in motion. Steve Smith was the mastermind behind the project, check out the process video. All in the spirit of fun and open source!

there is a typographer working at Papaya Dog

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

At Papaya dog on 14th street and 1st Ave, Louis writes on food. He’s from the South Bronx and has 3 kids. When I asked him if he had an interest in graphic design, he simply said ‘I don’t know what you mean’. I told him i love his work.

in the doorway

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

nodding out

spotted on 6th st. & Avenue A.

Haiku Poetry

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

lovelyI love paintchips, the color names in particular. Who thinks these up? I want their job.  In my collecting i’ve discovered categories of names: emotional, edible, things, and then there’s miscellaneous (these are the best). Enjoy haiku from my latest collecting trip:

calm, fond memory,
forget me not, peace and happiness,
lazy sunday.

grandma’s sweater, fresh cut grass, little piggy, pool party,
hiking path, cupid’s dart,
fountain spout, baby chick.

homespun charm,
under the big top,
pennies from heaven.

icing on the cake, pumpkin mousse, marshmallow bunny, sweet taffy,
fruit shake, pink popsicle, vegetable patch, raisin torte,
melted ice cream.

- Benjamin Moore, Broadway @ Spring St, SoHo