How was TypeParis for you?
Who is better to talk about it than our alumni? So we asked them some questions. We published the results of our discussion with two TypeParis18 attendees, Cecilia del Castillo Daza and Ruggero Magrì 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 Summer page? You can conclude that the attendees final typefaces designed at the end of the six 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.
94 students from 32 different countries have already attended to TypeParis, and it could be your turn. This year TypeParis23 marks the eighth anniversary of the type design programme launched in 2015. Feel free to contact our alumni directly via their People page, to ask about some specific details about their 6 weeks in Paris.
Why you decided to apply to TypeParis?
Ruggero Magrì During my bachelor’s degree in graphic design and art direction, my interest in letters was growing stronger and stronger. Their expressive and communicative possibilities fascinated me, so – once I graduated – I started to look for places that would allow me to deepen my understanding of calligraphy, lettering and type design. I remember that two in particular popped out to my eyes: TypeParis and Type@Cooper. Given the proximity and all the positives that came with it, I decided to apply for the summer course in Paris and it definitely turned out to be the best choice!
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 I finished that year I fully focused on Calligraphy.
I come from a Graphic Design and illustration background so calligraphy sounded like a more logical step, and to be honest, looking back to that moment the truth is that I was afraid of Type Design, It seemed to me that I would have to develop so many new skills and acquire so much technical knowledge that I felt overwhelmed.
But somehow calligraphy and lettering led my way again to type design, I started to do some custom logotypes with calligraphy and I realized that I really needed to go back to Type Design so I could truly do a good job drawing letters and designing custom wordmarks.
So I looked for Type Design Programs and found TypeParis on Social media, at the same time, Gina Serret, one of my classmates was looking for the same kind of program so we talked about that and that year we decided to come together to Paris.
“Typeparis has been a milestone for my ‘stilldefintelytooyoung’ career!”
– Ruggero Magrì
Building the right portfolio?
Cecilia del Castillo Daza I had more calligraphy experience than lettering or type design experience, so I really didn’t know if I was going to be accepted into the program, 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 :)
Ruggero Magrì I had already taken some calligraphy classes and started exploring type design before I enrolled in TypeParis. I remember that when it was time to build a portfolio, I collected and put together everything I had produced in the past years. My main goal was to show my curiosity and interest about every aspect of typography. Regarding admission, I had no info whatsoever about the level of possible classmates and did not know exactly what to expect. I simply sent the email and hoped for the best!
“Professionally it changed my perspective, it gave me the foundations and the self-confidence to decide to direct my work toward what I really want to do.”
– Cecilia del Castillo Daza
What do you have learned?
Ruggero Magrì The learning experience was great! It started with calligraphy to understand the letter structure, and given my previous experiences in that field I felt comfortable right away. Once we shifted to type design I started struggling a bit as it requires quite a lot of experience and discipline, but the teaching staff is top notch and makes everything easier. Mathieu Réguer once said: “Type design doesn’t get less painful as time goes on, you just get faster.” No statement has ever been so true.
Cecilia del Castillo Daza I come from a calligraphy and illustration 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 the first week I felt more comfortable just drawing and experimenting with tools that are better known for me.
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 features 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 way possible.
“Don’t be afraid, it will be great. Learn as much as you can, these opportunities don’t happen often.”
– Ruggero Magrì
What are you doing now?
Cecilia del Castillo Daza After attending Type Paris in 2018, I am based in Amsterdam and Barcelona where I am working remotely as a Type Designer for Typemade, a Mexican Type Foundry located in Monterrey México. I am grateful to have the privilege to be part of an amazing team from which I have learned enormously. I’ve been involved in complex Type Design projects that have made me grow as a Type Designer.
While I kept updating myself and studying at Tipo G a Type Design Program lead by Laura Meseguer, Jordi Embodas and other great Type Designers and teachers.
I developed my second typeface called Valedora inspired by street signs of “Mexican Blackletter”.
I’m also developing a new Type Design Project in collaboration with Sabina Chipară in Amsterdam. Learning from her work methodology and her approach to typography has enriched my way of working and understanding letterforms. It’s also very empowering to join forces with another woman in Type Design.
Looking back at these last 4 years, it’s extremely fulfilling to be able to say that everyday, 24/7, my life has been full of letters.
Ruggero Magrì Nowadays I am a full-time freelancer type designer and lettering artist. After a precious internship at Typofonderie and an MA in The Hague, I started designing digital typefaces for several foundries while designing logos and lettering pieces for brands and design studios. Typeparis has been a milestone for my “stilldefintelytooyoung” career!
“At TypeParis I met friends that I know are going be friends for life.”
– Cecilia del Castillo Daza
Your expectations versus the reality?
Cecilia del Castillo Daza 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 in TypeParis. Professionally it changed my perspective, it gave me the foundations and the self-confidence to decide to direct my work toward 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 throughout 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 still think and believe in every word in this response :)
Ruggero Magrì Don’t be afraid, it will be great.
It is expensive, but worth every single penny.
Learn as much as you can, these opportunities don’t happen often.
Bond with your classmates, they’ll make everything better.
Cecilia del Castillo Daza 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 recommend you 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 TypeParis Summer courses so you don’t lose much time on 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 counts 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!