Last Wednesday saw this year's final Grafik Letterform Live event, presented in partnership with our friends at Monotype and the ISTD, and hosted by Protein Studios. The audience witnessed five different speakers, each giving a varied and highly personal presentation, starting with a single typographic letterform of their choice and continuing onwards from there. Somewhat appropriately, given the festive time of year (and also the challenges of 2016…) our theme was “Beer”. Given the theme, things got weird, wobbly and a little bit raucous. As Angharad, editor of Grafik, pointed out in her introduction: “one thing I’ve learnt over the years of hosting events with Grafik, is that designers do love a beer.” Bottles in hand (kindly supplied by Monotype and the Five Points Brewing Company), the sold-out audience eagerly awaited our first speaker of the night.
Kicking us off was Stephen O’Neill, art director at London advertising agency AML, but also know as Typechap, the man behind a website showcasing “an ever growing collection of typography in beautiful disrepair, from the back streets of Andalucia to crumbly blue houses in Morocco, via murky olde London.” Stephen’s chosen letterform was a wobbly, angled slab serif capital A, hand painted in a washy green and red colour scheme. This letter, it was revealed, came from the word BAR, on the sign of a restaurant in Toledo, a medieval city in central Spain. With a Beer themed Letterform Live in mind, Stephen was paying extra attention to bar signs on his latest trip to Spain, and noticed that they all tended to go for “capitalised big chunky slab serifs.”