16 Jan 2020
How was TypeParis for you?
Who is better to talk about it than our past alumni? So we asked them some questions. We published the results of our discussion with two TypeParis18 attendees, Cecilia del Castillo Daza and Kristine Arth to share their stories with you!
You want to apply but are not sure yet? You are wondering what conditions must be met, beyond the official description proposed on the home page? You can see that the attendees final typefaces designed at the end of the five weeks, are of such a high level that it seems impossible to achieve in such a short period of time? In fact not. The reality is quite different: the participants come from a variety of backgrounds, with or without experience in typeface design. So, whatever your level, you will learn a lot.
76 students from 25 different countries have already attended to TypeParis, and it could be your turn. This year TypeParis20 marks the sixth anniversary of the type design programme launched in 2015. Feel free to contact our past alumni directly via their People page, to ask about some specific details about their 5 weeks in Paris.
Why did you decide to apply to TypeParis?
Cecilia del Castillo Daza: In 2015 I studied a Master in Type Design at EINA in Barcelona, that was my first approach to Type Design, but after that, I fully focused on calligraphy. I come from an illustrator background so calligraphy sounded like a more logical step, but after studying 2 years of calligraphy and getting in love with letters I started to do some custom logotypes with calligraphy and I realized that I really needed to learn more about lettering and type design so I can truly do a good job for this kind of project. So I looked for Type Design Programmes and I found TypeParis on social media, at the same time, Gina, one of my classmates was looking for the same kind of programme so we talked about that and that year we decided to come together to Paris.
“I always felt really supported not only by the teachers but by my classmates who were always helping each other in every way possible.”
– Cecilia del Castillo Daza
Kristine Arth: I was at a pivotal point in my career, leaving a directorial role to embark on the launch of my own studio. At that point, what I needed was to be out of my own headspace and learn new habits that would introduce a new thought process. TypeParis was the perfect opportunity for me to be surrounded by a set of equally intense individuals who were focused and thoughtful with their practice.
Building the right portfolio?
CdCD: I had more calligraphy experience than lettering or type design experience, so I really didn’t know if I was going to be accepted in the programme, but If I´m honest, I wasn’t worried because I knew it was something that I really wanted to do, so I was ready to apply as many times as necessary. Anyway, when I saw the acceptance email I was super happy :)
KA: I was surprised to be selected, mainly because my background was in branding and design and not typography, so I had very few type specimens that were not born out of a brand in my portfolio.
What did you learn?
CdCD: I come from a calligrapher and illustrator background and I usually draw just with a marker and paper, so personally I have always felt more confident with manual work than with digital software, that´s why in some way I felt more comfortable the first week, just drawing and experimenting with tools that I knew better.
My biggest challenge was to be more confident with digital tools and to understand how a system works within an alphabet. How to order, systematize and translate the characteristics and spirit from a sketch to a bezier. All this in new software and with very little time to doubt or make mistakes. But like any new thing in life, it’s a matter of effort, going out of your comfort zone and trying to change your common learning process in order to adapt it to a new tool. And I must also say that in the whole process I always felt really supported not only by the teachers but by my classmates who were always helping each other in every day possible.
“I am not exactly skilled when it comes to calligraphy, in fact my hand shakes when I draw, so my results are not exactly elegant. Nevertheless, I was told to trust myself.”
– Kristine Arth
KA: I learned to trust my own hand. I am not exactly skilled when it comes to calligraphy, in fact my hand shakes when I draw, so my results are not exactly elegant. Nevertheless, I was told to trust myself. It wasn’t about the outcome, it was about following the function of each letterform. The typeface I created was based on my unique, yet wobbly handwriting.
Your expectations versus the reality?
CdCD: The reality exceeded my expectations by far. I have no doubts about saying that there’s a before and after in my professional and personal life divided by my experience at TypeParis. Professionally it changed my perspective, it gave me the foundations and the self-confidence to decide to direct my work towards what I really want to do. I learned not only from the best teachers but from amazing and humble human beings who really got involved with us in a personal way through the whole process. The visits, the critics and the talks were amazing, they are perfectly designed to arrive at the right time during the programme. And of course, the best part is to get to live this experience amongst a group of people that after five weeks become your family. At TypeParis I met friends that I know are going be friends for life.
“I have no doubts about saying that there’s a before and after in my professional and personal life divided by my experience at TypeParis.”
– Cecilia del Castillo Daza
KA: I was expecting to walk into class and have a more leisurely experiences since the setting was in beautiful Paris. The reality is that it was the kick in the ass that I needed… Long days, working through the night, waking up to critiques and studying on the weekend. I loved every minute of it and would do it all over again. The lessons I learned and the friendships I made during TypeParis have changed my life in many ways and I will always be thankful for that experience.
What are you doing now?
CdCD: Very shortly after TypeParis, I decided to take seriously my intention to focus my work on calligraphy and lettering applied to editorial design and branding. I redesigned my website, I delete every project that didn’t involve lettering, calligraphy or type design. I studied a 7 months advanced course of lettering with Ivan Castro and Laura Meseguer in Barcelona and right away I could see that what I had learned in TypeParis was reflected in these new projects. Within a year of TypeParis, I have worked on several design projects, helping other designers to create custom logotypes for branding projects and I have developed my personal work as an illustrator and letterer trying to experiment more so I can bring everything I learned to my personal imaginary. The best part has definitely been teaching for the first time lettering and calligraphy workshops, I believe that there’s no more rewarding way to continue learning than teaching. My intention in the future is to continue working, teaching and learning, and for sure I expect to keep in contact with my TP friends as we have done until now.
KA: After TypeParis I had continued to build my studio, Lobster Phone. It was an incredible year working with extraordinary clients all over the world and being able to speak about my experiences at multiple conferences. After TypeParis, I have returned to Paris to visit the new class, hear lectures and most importantly spend time with my friends from TP2018.
CdCD: My best advice will definitely start with this sentence: “YES! DO IT! don’t hesitate on having this life-changing experience, it doesn’t matter if you have little or much experience with type design because in any case you’ll learn, improve and go deeper into what you feel you need to get better at. I would recommend you to apply in time so that you don’t have problems with deadlines for payment, especially if you have to transfer money from a Latin American country because those might take a little longer. Try to book a place near Le Tank so you don’t lose much time in transportation. If you have the opportunity don´t hesitate about sharing an apartment with some of your classmates. I shared an apartment with Gina, one of my classmates, now she is like a sister to me! And finally, just enjoy every single day, the good ones and the bad ones, the victories and the frustrating moments, every second count and that is why this is an amazing experience. And a very important one! Don´t book your flight back home the day after the final presentations, if you can take some time to enjoy Paris with your friends, do it!
“It doesn’t matter if you have little or much experience with type design because in any case you’ll learn, improve and go deeper into what you feel you need to get better at.”
– Cecilia del Castillo Daza
KA: I gave this advice to Jessica Wonomijardo. She was contracting for me the summer after I attended TypeParis. I told her that she wouldn’t regret it. It will be difficult, there will be intensity, and it will likely test your patience and make you question your way of thinking, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Learn more about these two attendees:
Apply before the 14 March 2020!
Just follow the application process as explained on the programme page. The deadline for applications this year is the 14 March 2020.