Just Our Type: The Ampersand Web Typography Conference

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Learning from industry colleagues and interacting with fellow designers can be a great way to develop new skills and discover what's next in the world of design. Amanda Joy Frank from the FINE design team had an opportunity to do just that recently at the Ampersand Web Typography Conference in New York City, a one-day event featuring speakers, workshops, and exhibitions from leaders in the design industry.

Among Amanda's highlights was Mark Boulton's presentation, which included topics like responsive typography, making prototypes instead of static pictures, getting content before designing, and understanding the purpose of a project in order to design for it. Mark ended his time on stage with the Theory of Marginal Gains and how it applies to design.

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Below are a few notes that Amanda shared about her experience:

“I believe that mastering the art of typography is essential to creating compelling, dynamic, and communicative design. The Ampersand conference allowed me to learn a lot about the historical transformation of traditional typography to web typography, new technologies relating to implementing complex and dynamic typographic designs, and to see the possibilities of where web typography can take us in the future.

Responsive typography and dynamic typefaces were the two most interesting and important concepts that I took away from this conference. 'Detect and Serve' was the main topic within Mark Boulton's talk on responsive typography, which is the same concept for responsive design. The difference was, of course, the focus on typography and how we can serve different typefaces, type styles, type sizes, etc., for different devices or viewports.

Nick Sherman discussed dynamic typefaces, which was interesting because right now fonts are static. He believes, "we should be able to make fluid decisions for fluid typefaces." I believe he is right. This is the future of type — creating master type files that interpolate on the fly, so you don't have to load 125 different font files for complex or responsive type designs. Along with this concept was the idea that we would purchase or license fonts by weight ranges, rather than by each individual weight (like we do now).

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I learned a lot of information that I know I am going to factor into my own decisions when it comes to designing for and implementing typography. Ampersand was a great conference for UX designers, UI designers, typographers, and coders. If typography is of any significance to you, you would definitely enjoy this conference. I would love to go again.

I am really excited to see how the application of web fonts will transform in the coming years."

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