Typism ’19

Each year we're lucky enough to partner up with our favourite conferences around the world, and this year our kind friends on the Gold Coast at Typism gave us a full conference pass to give away via Instagram. Our winner this year was Kelly Jones (aka. @flow_lettering)! Kelly, alongside our TDK Gold Coast host Kristen Curtis, give us the lowdown on this year's event and their favourite highlights and takeaways from each speaker.


I’ve always heard others talk about how great Typism is, and as a Type nerd who was born and raised on the Gold Coast, the home of Typism Founder Dominique T Falla I feel incredibly slack when I say that 2019 was my first ever Typism experience!

On the morning of the event, I was both overwhelmed with excitement (OMG I AM FINALLY HEADING TO TYPISM) and nerves (I went by myself and wasn’t sure I would know anyone there) but I packed up my shit, poured myself a coffee and made my way to HOTA!

After finding a seat at a table with a few very welcoming strangers, the lights dimmed and Typism 2019 began! First to hit the stage was the hilarious and brutally honest Kate Pullen. I admired her for years on Insta but to see her get stuck in the stage curtains whilst trying to change into a tinsel jacket has solidified her in my mind as an absolute icon.

Following on from the millennial take on type that was Kate, Larry Stammers. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I was a little bit cautious of Larry, what could an old-fashion Signwriter teach me about Type that would be relevant today? Well, here I am publicly eating my words because little Larry here offers one of the most informative talks of the event and his Quickstyle lettering tutorial is life-changing! I am now a firm believer in everyone appreciating designs from all generations regardless of how daggy they are now, because each style can teach you so much about current styles and core principles of design (and of course how to break them successfully or not…).


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The 2nd sessions returned and saw Kate Hursthouse and Moya Carroll, two incredibly talented hand letterers hit the stage. Both offered similar stories in regards to getting where they are today, especially with their calligraphy practice. With Kate driving home the mindset that we should never stop learning and Moya dropping the powerful reminder that if we can’t do something, to throw a ‘yet’ on the end of it. These two were a great pair and really lifted to the crowd and reminded us to work hard and never stop learning!

Up next was Melissa So and Sophie Elinor, both of whom HUSTLE HARD. These babes presented brilliant moving kinetic type pieces and murals with depth beyond what I thought type could offer. Sophie’s philosophy is that art should be delicious for the eyes & the brain and BOY does her work reflect that! Her true to her style is so quirky and cool and just needs to be experienced! Melissa, first of all, had me drooling over her sick outfit! (I want those tooth earrings, Melissa!) and then drooling some more over her murals with type so textured you could grate cheese on it! Melissa also hit everyone in the room with the humbling reminder that change takes courage.

As Typism was nearing the end we were blessed with Nikita Prokhorov (Nikita - a man) and Kiel Tillman ( pronounced Kyle) - two heavy hitters with a great sense of humour. Nikita showcased that there is no right or wrong way to be a designer, and that the path of your carrier may not always go in the direction you had envisions but that’s okay, to enjoy the journey, learn from it and be great at your craft. And Kiel. OMG Kiel. Within seconds of Kiel starting his presentation we were blessed with what I can only describe as a slightly disturbing, f*cking hilarious, gangsta dream version of Kiel’s day to day life. And it only got better from there! In his own hilarious way, Kiel guided us all to take inspiration from sources other than the gram/other designers and to use our own experiences in life to craft our art.

Typism 2019 was a wild day, filled with laughter, lettering, and lame dad jokes. All speakers put their hearts into their presentations to remind us to work hard, be kind to ourselves, respect that talent takes time to build and that the journey is as sweet as the destination.

I am beyond grateful that I could attend this year's Typism Conference and I will be back next year for sure! Thank you to TDK for getting me there, Dominique for your madness in creating this beast, the Typism crew for putting on a flawless event (and after-party YEW) and to all the presenters for kindly sharing your knowledge, it will be used wisely!

The Design Kids reviews Typism ’19 work-4
The Design Kids reviews Typism ’19 work-4


Another perfect day on the Gold coast, I was excited to attend Typism 2019 conference at HOTA again.(I attended 2018). Again Typism did not disappoint. First stop was collecting my goodie bag containing a variety of lettering goodies, then a spot of shopping, purchasing some lettering supplies and mementos as I entered.

Each and every speaker was inspirational and had a story to tell of their journey to becoming successful.

I was most interested to hear Moya Carroll.(As I am a novice/continually learning calligrapher) Moya spoke of the place for Traditional calligraphy in the modern world. It was great to hear how she got started and her passion for calligraphy at a young age, and how she has expanded her business. Lots of useful information for me to put into practice!

Larry Stammmers with 50 years in the Signwriting business talked about the early days. I particularly enjoyed the slides of the old signage that he had painted around Melbourne and he still has his original painting cabinet. He spoke of how hand-lettering on shop fronts is still highly saute after and not a dying art.

Kiel Tillman was another standout with his positive vibe.....Be nice to people, be grateful, make friends, positive reflection and make the most of every situation. It was interesting to hear the process of painting a Gold Coast Mural at Tugun and now when I drive pass I know how much work went into it!

Many of the speakers talked of Imposter Syndrome, comparing themselves to others, which I resonated with me. It was inspiring how they overcame their fears and have become successful creatives in their fields.

Words of creative wisdom from:

Nikita Prokhoro is an ambigram expert — share your work, build connections, share your knowledge, pass it forward, do it for the love.

Sophie Elinor, moving words — say something worth hearing, words that make you laugh, a message, explore language. Especially liked her creation of plastic lids she found on the beach and used them to letter the words" Clean up your act"

Melissa So — Follow your curiosities this will lead to creative work, do stuff that scares you.

Kate Hursthouse — shifting perspective, balancing motherhood with being creative, Comparison is the thief of joy.

Kate Pullen, — do what you want to do not what they want you to do. A life lived in fear is a life half lived.

I would highly recommend Typism to novices like myself who just dabble in typography and to the more professional creative person.

Thank you for the opportunity TDK for the opportunity to attend Typism 2019. Thank you also to Dominique for organising a smooth running and enjoyable conference.

The Design Kids reviews Typism ’19 work-6
The Design Kids reviews Typism ’19 work-6

Where to find Typism ’19 online.

Website: typismconference.com

Instagram: @typism

Twitter: @TypismCommunity

Facebook: /typism

*All images via George Karakatsanis - Thanks George!

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