Highlights from TYPO Berlin 2017

Highlights from TYPO Berlin 2017

The 2017 TYPO Berlin came to a close on Friday. Over the course of three days, a total of 1,579 participants and 84 speakers exchanged ideas on the new developments in visual communication via exciting presentations, performances and workshops.

This year's theme, 'wanderlust,' offered the headlining speakers surprising breadth. Susanne Koelbl used her opening presentation to recount her experiences working for SPIEGEL as a nomadic foreign correspondent in the war-torn regions of our world. Peter Bil'ak (The Hague) swept the audience along with him on the search for good design, visiting everything from the first motorcar to light bulbs that never burn out. Dominic Wilcox, a visual communicator known for his bizarre reimaginings of everyday items, advocated a reinvention of what we consider normal.

Lettering artist and calligrapher Chris Campe (All Things Letters) offered a humorous argument in support of dilettantism. The typographer and author Erik Spiekermann, by contrast, related the tale of his journey between the digital and analogue worlds. He also summed up his life's work (to much amusement) with the help of the 'missing edge' (abbe Ecke) and the 'red bar' (roter Balken).

The editor of Rough Trade Magazine, Liv Siddall, demonstrated at breakneck speed how she produces the magazine as a one-woman editorial. The Dutch advertiser Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer) used his time to discuss the art of failure. With plenty of humour and surprisingly earnest insight, he revealed how one can glean new ideas from mistakes and turn misfortunes into successes. Erik van Blokland and Paul van der Laan's Typecooking workshop was once again a highlight at this year's conference. As usual, the Dutch duo deconstructed the results of the workshop at an entertaining closing session.

With long queues and a packed presentation hall, Brand Talks, the new programme segment on the second day of the conference was a resounding success. At 30-minute intervals a host of renowned brands and agencies presented interesting case studies. Among the presenters were such famous names as KMS Team, Mutabor, oddity, Pentagram, Olapic, Swyft, Strichpunkt, Fuenfwerken, Interbrand and the Peter Schmidt Group, as well as brands such as Skoda, DFL/Bundesliga, Kiehl's, Audi, Prinz von Hessen und Hilti.

A total of 14 Brand Talks examined how digital branding works today, and the factors that can make or break brand management. Topics ranged from the presentation of new corporate designs, to social media and influencer marketing, to user-generated content, to mobile messaging and interface branding. Some results of the collaboration were thoroughly striking, including a move away from the classical, structured corporate design style guide and toward more openness.