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The typographic Times

[Summer 2005]
Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI)
by Cynthia Batty
Association secretary


1. Can you introduce the AtypI, its goals, its members… ?

ATypIATypI was established to cultivate and preserve these values, to promote the understanding and practice of good typography, and to provide a forum for all those who are involved or interested in the field of typography.

To achieve these goals, ATypI:

- promotes the creation of new type designs for every script and language in the world;
- organizes and supports efforts of organizing our annual conference, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, and other events - on the internet and in all countries throughout the globe;
- makes and supports efforts of making publications and films about type and typography;
- promotes and encourages international dialog on education;
- provides a focus and a meeting place for type professionals, encouraging cooperation and fair competition;
- encourages ethical business practice, respect for intellectual property and good relations between all involved in making or using of type;
- works for the legal protection of type, typography and graphic design, and opposes unauthorized copying of type with every appropriate means;
- communicates and co-operates with organizations and Associations around the world that pursue similar goals;
- supports members in protecting their typographical interests.

The annual ATypI meetings were held and will be held as follows:

1957 Lausanne
1958 Düsseldorf
1959 Paris
1960 Paris
1961 Zandvoort
1962 Verona
1963 Vienna
1964 Cambridge
1965 Zurich
1966 Mainz
1967 Paris
1968 Frankfurt
1969 Prague
1970 Bruges
1971 London
1972 Barcelona
1973 Copenhagen

1974 Paris
1975 Warsaw
1976 Hamburg
1977 Lausanne
1978 Munich
1979 Vienna
1980 Basel
1981 Mainz
1982 Beaune
1983 Berlin
1984 London
1985 Kiel
1986 Basel
1987 New York
1988 Frankfurt
1989 Paris
1990 Oxford

1991 Parma
1992 Budapest
1993 Antwerp
1994 San Francisco
1995 Barcelona
1996 The Hague
1997 Reading
1998 Lyon
1999 Boston
2000 Leipzig
2001 Copenhagen
2002 Rome
2003 Vancouver
2004 Prague
2005 Helsinki

It is a business community or a cultural one ? I mean do you deal
with type business or type design ?

We deal with both. Both are important.

The name of the organisation is in French. Does it still mean something today ?

I assume the name is French is because it was Charles Peignot who started the whole thing. The seat of the organization moved to Switzerland (I don’t know when). The name stuck because it conveys the international quality of the Association and because the organization has had a European focus through a good part of its history. One of the things we have been able to do during the last nine years is to turn ATypI into a truly global Association with members and conference attendees from more than 40 countries.

Can you sumarise for us the key events which happened during the last
ATypI conference in Prague ?

ATypI, Prague 2004Prague has not yet happened at this writing, but we expect it will be as luminous as the Vancouver conference. In Vancouver we had a wonderful lecture by Robert Bringhurst (a Canadian) as our Keynote, as well as talks by such well-known people as Roger Black, Gerard Unger, John Hudson, Doyald Young, Underware, and many more. John Hudson of TiroTypeworks was the content organizer of the Vancouver conference.

Our keynote speaker in Prague will be Rick Poynor, the founding editor of Eye Magazine in London in 1990, and now a columnist for Eye and its website and author of many books and articles. We are producing ATypI in Prague in partnership with VSUP, the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Vysoká škola umeleckoprumyslová, AAAD/VŠUP) which was founded in 1885 as the first and only state school of art in Czech lands. We are very excited about our program for Prague.

Mark Batty is going to leave the presidency of the ATypI. Is it the
end of an era ?

Mark Batty (formerly ITC) has been the president of ATypI for nine years, succeeding Ernst Erich Marhencke (of Linotype Hell) and before him, Martin Fehle (Haas). When Mark was elected in 1995 at Barcelona, his election followed on the heels of a new version of the ATypI statutes which allowed the election of the President by the membership, not by the Board of Directors as it had been from the beginning. Mark was the first president so elected, and has been reelected two times since in succession.

During the time he was president, the type industry changed substantially, from a largely foundry-led industry to very much an industry of small businesspeople and designers who, because of the reach of the Web, have been able to launch and grow successful businesses. Also, the knowledge of how type is designed, and the tools to do it both aesthetically and technically, has been increased in availability, so that more creative people have been able to come into this wonderful profession.

So in the sense that Mark came in to his position at the end of one era, and leaves at the beginning of another, it does mark a change in era. But everyone, most of all he, understood this and made sure that ATypI was able to change and adapt to the new circumstances.

Many excellent and distinguished people have helped with this evolution, including Roger Black, Erik Spiekermann, Jean François Porchez (the current Vice President of ATypI), John Hudson, David Lemon, Maxim Zhukov, Henrik Birkvig, Adam Twardoch, and many others have been part of the evolution of ATypI.

Who will be the next president ?

J-F.PorchezThe current Vice President of ATypI, Jean François Porchez, will run for President at our next Annual General Meeting in Prague, and we expect he will be elected by a landslide.

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