David Jablonski

TYPO Berlin 2018

I got invited to join the editorial team at TYPO Berlin 2018. You can read more about my work here.

I'm sat on a train to Copenhagen, packed with inspiration, ideas and energy (and merch!) from TYPO 2018. Here’s an attempt to put some of the things that happened into words.

I used TYPO as an excuse to do a lot of things I wouldn't usually do. So I bought an Interrail ticket and travelled from London to Berlin via Brussels and Amsterdam. After TYPO I'm visiting Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm, before returning to my temporary home London. But even TYPO itself consisted of hopping from one unexpected activity to the next.

In addition to writing for the TYPO newsletter and contributing to the social media channels, I got to interview some of the most influential, forward-thinking designers. Some of them I've known and admired for years (Frank Rausch, Aaron James Draplin, Timothy Goodman and more), while others I had the pleasure of getting to know personally at TYPO for the first time. All of them were incredibly friendly, open and kind.

In general, it has been very clear that massive egos have no place in the creative industries. We are stronger when we work together, share our process and discuss our values and work ethic publicly. While TYPO is by no means a cheap conference (student prices are still unaffordable for many), this year more talks than ever were livestreamed and all videos were made public within 24 hours, as opposed to only making them available for visitors as has been the case in the past. Props to the organizers for making sure even those who for whatever reason couldn't come to Berlin are still able to follow the conference online.

Another development that is worth noting (even though in 2018 shouldn’t need any applause) is that there were more female speakers than ever before (about 40%). While TYPO still has some way to go regarding diversity, it is good to see things are developing in the right direction.

One thing TYPO does that no other conference does as well is to create a schedule that will inspire (dare I say “trigger”?) you in ways you didn’t expect. I had watched many of Aaron James Draplin’s talks and knew he was a great speaker (and he was, while also being an incredible human to talk to in person). I had followed Frank Rausch for a long time and respect his opinion and work a lot, but had never seen him speak (he also smashed it). Then there are people whose work you were familiar with without knowing the designer behind it (this was the case with Fidel Peugeot for me). His enthusiasm and curiosity were just infectious. And then there are people who for some reason you didn't stumble upon yet and after watching them speak you'll find yourself asking why you didn’t discover them earlier. dina Amin’s fun and thought-provoking talk “A Tinker Story” was the unexpected highlight of TYPO 2018 for me. Her dedication and curiosity will inspire you, whatever you do.

Timothy Goodman had a great story in his talk: When he asked a guy at a party what he did for a living, he replied “Whatever I can get away with”. I’d love to be at a point in my life where I’m able to say that (mostly because I might end up in someone’s TYPO talk) and after this weekend and a lot of what happend in the last few months, I might have reached this point already. This conference included a lot of “Pinch me!” moments for sure.

Lastly, let this whole experience be a lesson to future David: When I made that video about TYPO Berlin 2017, I mainly made it for myself. I thought maybe one or two people might see it. That someone from TYPO Berlin would see it, that would be incredible. But I never considered it would lead to an invitation to join the TYPO editorial team. Sometimes it’s important to make something just for the sake of it and not expect anything in return. It may lead to incredible experiences.

Thanks TYPO.