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SEEN AND NOTED · October 4, 2011

Font Bureau at SND STL

Freshly back from this year's Society for News Design Conference in St. Louis, I am hopeful and inspired for what lies ahead in the world of news design, both digital and print.

As a print designer and illustrator, I—like many others—felt an aversion to the digital design realm when it began to blossom. It was an alternate universe, and one that we felt was aiming to wipe us out. Coding confused us, pixels intimidated us, and for a while, our lack of font choices made us feel very confined. It was a dark time. But, I have to say that time has passed, and the vibe from this conference confirms that.

The sessions were very smart and covered a variety of topics promoting print-to-web harmony. Sam Berlow, Alan Tam and Danny DeBelius spoke of the new freedoms web fonts are providing to the digital realm (with the proper licensing of course). Adios Arial! New Tools for Taking Beautiful Typography from Print to Digital, focused on the importance of testing and using live type, and how that relates to the user experience.  

Another favorite was Finding the Web Designer Within, with Upstatement's Tito Bottitta and Mike Swartz. They related new web design methods to print designers without a hitch, and did their entire presentation online. They were successful in explaining that these skills are valuable in the digital world as well, drawing lines between InDesign practices and those of CSS. Yes, I'd have to code, but I walked out of there feeling like I wanted to! It's either a trick, or they really convinced this print designer that web design can be creatively fulfilling. I think it's the latter.

Other topics at the conference included designing a responsive news website, mobile device design, reinventing yourself, the challenges and rewards of working abroad, and many more—including two I had the privilege to speak on.  

I was a part of two different panels, one that discussed brainstorming methods; the other, career paths. Both very important for an audience where time and resources are often restricted in some way. In Brainstorming and Creative Strategies, I walked people through how I brainstorm best by staying organized. The slides were all sketchbook pages, drawn in sharpie and scanned in (hello, hand lettering!), which I hoped would make it feel more inspiring. I'll be putting the presentation up on my website shortly with notes.

I was happy, as a part of Font Bureau, that typography is something that continues to translate across platforms and is always on the minds of good designers. Type had a big presence at this conference: in the sessions, in the silent auction pieces, in conversation, and even in St. Louis's architecture and signage.  

Thank you SND! I can't wait to see what's in store for the next year, and I'll see you for the next annual conference in Cleveland.

Thanks to Miranda Mulligan of The Boston Globe for contributing images


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