I find, if you speak about anything for long enough, it always comes back to type. I once heard book designer Peter Cocking say this, and decided that was all the more reason to speak about it sooner.

That is what we do at Type Brigade, Vancouver’s typography and type design meetup. In 2014, I became the organiser, relaunching it as speaker series, along with my fantastic co-organisers.

Vince Lo & Alvin Kwan present their initial foray into type design, and how it impacted their subsequent graphic design work.

In our first year alone, we hosted eight free events to bring Vancouver’s type community together. Type Brigade has hosted many incredible speakers, including:

Photos by various attendees, all shared on Instagram.

Photos often feature the custom prints we put together for each event, featuring lettering work by Andrea Husky, Riley Cran, and Cade Cran.

The Type Brigade team and I hope to help Vancouverites’ interest in type flourish with valuable educational events: this includes special events like Bruno Maag’s first Canadian talk, a worksop with calligrapher Martin Jackson, and hosting Commercial Type’s first tour date. We also pride ourselves in giving under-recognised, local voices in type and lettering a platform to present.

Attendees include designers, students, artists, letterers, developers, and other professionals looking to share their interest in typography, or improve their work. We also design a custom print to commemorate each event, which we give away to everyone there.

Commercial Type speaking at Type Brigade on the first date of their North American tour.
Our annual collaboration with Peter Cocking, one of Canada’s most celebrated book designers: Type Brigade & The Pop-up Museum of Typography. Peter’s class puts on a large exhibition and I host and introduce lightning talks with all the contributors.

Workshops

During Vancouver Design Week, we also hosted a workshop, where designers had the chance to explore the relationship between letters and the tools used to make them:

Ross Milne leads a lettering workshop, with help from Andrea Husky. The space we were in was on the corner of Cordova & Carrall in Vancouver, so we lettered one street name on each wall.

The Website

I also built the Type Brigade website and blog. Here, we write about the events and what’s happening with the meetup. It’s a static site built using Harp and hosted on the Surge CDN, two other projects I have been part of.

It’s automatically compiled down to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and then deployed, each time someone pushes an update to GitHub. The code is open source. New speakers can also apply there, and we’ll automatically be notified in our internal Slack channel.

A screenshot of the Type Brigade website.

A blog post on the Type Brigade website, which I designed, built, and open sourced. We are continuing to expand it, as an archive of presentations.

Lettering for Type Brigade

Each edition of Type Brigade, we commission a commemorative numeral. I contributed the “27” and “28” lettering pieces.

Sketch of the №27 that I continued to work on.
The final version of the №27 I drew for the prints we gave away at that event.
Sketches and concepts for the №28 print.