Established in 1957 by Charles Peignot (he of Peignot font fame), ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) is a member-run, non-profit organization that serves as a “global forum and focal point for the type community and business”. One of its signature contributions to the world of typography is the annual ATypI conference, which has been running for 60 years and is held in a different city around the world each year. It is the premier global event for the design and use of typography, attracting speakers and attendees from all over the world. This past September it was held in Montréal, Quebec, and the identity was designed by local designer Julien Hébert.
For a conference about typography and aimed at a creative audience, ATypI’s event identities have always been surprisingly bland and not very interesting. This year’s identity, though, makes up for at least a decade’s worth of previous identities. The main logo is a custom type job that brings together some beautifully exaggerated letterforms into a tight little unit with perfect spacing and some serious ink traps. The way the “7” flows into the “t” below is delightful, as is the cut of the “1” in relationship to the angle of the “A”. The lettering has an old school vibe somehow but it’s also decidedly contemporary. Like Montréal itself, in a way (where I happen to be writing this review from today.) The secondary typeface is Guillon, chosen in part because it was designed by Montréal-based Feedtype. It’s a nice, simple, and efficient complement.
In application, things get wild, with Julien using about a dozen different typefaces, each with a loud personality. Fonts in Use has a great breakdown of most of the fonts used. In a way, none of the typefaces go together well at all but being used one at a time and then nicely modulated in each application, where they are used big and complemented with the more neutral Guillon and punctuated by the small logo, is a surprisingly effective approach that yields a really cool typographic tapestry. Most importantly, you get the joyous feeling of TYPE! which is what the conference is about.
The applications can be sort of relentless in how much different typography they display but if there is one instance where that’s okay, it’s ATypI. This wouldn’t work for a conference’s multi-year identity much less, I dunno, a law firm’s identity. Aside from having a bunch of wild type on the applications, the actual executions and informational typography is all nicely done as well.
Overall, this is a typographic delight as long as, I guess, you enjoy unconventional typography, and hopefully it marks the start of more ambitious identities for ATypI, that has a subject matter primed for exploitation.
Thanks to Emile Lord Ayotte for the tip.