Workshops and Tours

Thursday, October 3

Morning Workshops

9:00AM to 1:00PM—The Chicago Poster with John Downer

In the 1920s, a riot of commercial lettering was seen in stores and on printed advertisements. Letterforms were vivacious, playful, and dynamic. They had medium stroke contrast, animated proportions, and elliptical serifs Alphabets made expressly for headlines led the way. Pen and brush construction formed the essence of their appeal.
Grab a spot in class and look back at the Roaring Twenties as you explore principles of letterform construction which now symbolize a memorable era in Chicago’s graphic past.

10:00AM to 12:00PM—The Type Business with Matthew Rechs

Through a series of short lectures, practice sessions, role-playing exercises and Q & A, Matthew Rechs will help you gain business insights that take most type designers years to learn.

11:00AM to 11:00PM—Uninvited Redesigns with Roger Black

Haven’t you ever looked at a sign or a logo, and thought, I could do better than that! Roger Black has. The editor of TYPE magazine and co-founder of Font Bureau, Roger will show a few examples of redesigns he’s done just because he couldn’t stand it any more. He invites you to bring in your own bete noirs—or even current projects for a quick, and collaborative rethink. Bring your laptop!

Morning Tours

10:00AM to 12:00PM—Starshaped Press Visit with Jen Farrel

Hands on. Visit the innovative letterpress studio that combined contemporary typography with a 550 year-old craft. Here’s a chance to set foundry type by hand, or pull a proof on the Vandercook. Letterpress experience puts into context the dimensionality of type. You can read about it, but there’s nothing like doing it.

11:00AM to 12:00PM—Design Museum of Chicago Visit with Tanner Woodford

A special guided tour of the typographical side of the exhibit, “Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre,” conducted by Tanner Woodford, who describes himself as the museum’s “founder, executive director, and bartender.” And if we’re lucky Tanner will pull a few Chicago type treasures out of the archive.

Lunch on your own
Afternoon Workshops

2:00 to 4:00PM—Web Typography with Lucas Czarnecki

Learn the little details and fun tricks that can take your web typography from passable to engaging. Hover effects, animations, variable fonts, and more—this hands-on workshop will teach you the tools you need for your next big web project. Lucas Czarnecki, the managing editor of TYPE, has been running online courses at for five years. Here’s a chance to work with him in person. Bring your laptop!

Afternoon Tours

2:00 to 4:00PM—Chicago Lettering Walk with Paul Shaw

One of Paul Shaw’s famous type tours, you’ll get a view of Chicago’s letterforms as seen by an expert eye. There’ll be stone inscriptions on landmarks, astounding historic neon signs, architectural graphics, and some ghost signs that you might have missed.

2:00 to 4:00PM—Thirst Visit with Rick Valicenti

A personal tour at a landmark of contemporary typography, Thirst, led by its founder, Rick Valicenti. The alumni list is a who’s who of Chicago typographers, but the focus of the tour is on the projects in house. (Friday, Rick will try to stack it all up—the history, and the direction of Chicago type.)

Unless indicated by an asterisk (*) all Type Tales Chicago  events take place at:

Conaway Center
Columbia College Chicago
1104 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

A badge is needed to attend everything on the program.

While tours and workshops are included in the conference registration, spaces are limited. A registration link for workshops and tours will be sent to Type Tales Chicago ticket-holders .


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Type Designer and Historian
Chair of Graphic Design, University of Illinois at Chicago
Type Designer, Monotype