Don’t believe the type!

Two weeks ago (Yes, time really does fly when you’re having fun) I took part in ‘Don’t believe the type’ in The Hague. Trapped in Suburbia organises these workshops, lectures and exhibitions about typography every year. This year they even organised a ‘Don’t believe the type’ edition in Shanghai! They invite the most interesting people from different fields of typography to come teach and speak about their work, inspiration and love for type. This time it was up to Sean Freeman, Jeff Canham and Hort. I signed up for the workshop ‘one big typographic journey’ by Sean Freeman.

Workshop Sean Freeman

The workshop with Sean was really interesting and entertaining. Sean was a little bit nervous and clearly had to get used to being kind of a teacher figure. This wasn’t a bad thing because this way the whole workshop had quitte an open character, the atmosphere was really laidback and Sean was super approachable.

Everybody was seated at large tables and automatically started talking and formed groups with the other people at their table, so we were working in groups. On forehand we were asked to bring all kind of household items and different materials. We were told to lay it all out on the table and play with it for a while. Getting used to the texture and the way it moves we came up with different ways to use this materials in a typographic way. Everybody was working away as Sean went to all the tables to disguss ideas and give some tips and feedback here and there.

After various testing and mainly screwing up materials I came up with the idea to ‘paint’ letters on tin foil with maple syrup. When you hold a lighter underneath it the maple syrup will caramelize and look burned. An obvious link to drugs so I chose to write the word ‘Junkie’. In contrast with the meaning of the word I thought it would be a nice twist to use elegant lettering. This is what I managed to come up with in a few hours time. I definitely plan to work out this concept more detailed and perfect it.

Lectures Sean Freeman, Jeff Canham and Hort

The lectures started at 19:30 and were really interesting and entertaining. Sean explained his method of working and how he loves to work with different materials. Jeff showed us many pictures of his craftmanship. His hand painted signs are beautiful but his art works are even more amazing. The bird houses are just awesome!

Hort’s lecture….. well what can i say? Hort’s lecture was one of a kind, truly original, unconventional and inspiring. He showed us how to be truly creative by doing the exact opposite of what people (or clients) expect from you.

Sean Freeman

Sean is an expert in making 3d typographic installations, he makes them with ordinary items and makes them look great!  He is an illustrator and designer based out of London, whose clients list includes VH1, Nike, The New York Times, and Leo Burnett.  His work is highly process-based, incorporating glitter, dust, paint, wood, and fur.

Jeff Canham

We’re proud to have San Francisco’s finest sign painter in town! Jeff Canham’s colorful, typographic compositions showcase his skills as a fine artist, graphic designer and traditional sign painter. From art directing Surfer Magazine to learning the traditional craft of sign painting at New Bohemia Signs, his juxtaposition of old and new methods have evolved to form the backbone of his work today. Jeff currently resides in San Francisco, California.


Hort began its inhabitance back in 1994, under the previous stage name of Eike´s Grafischer Hort. But who the hell is Eike? Eike is the creator of HORT. HORT – a direct translation of the studio’s mission. A creative playground and a place where ‘work and play’ can be said in the same sentence. An unconventional working environment. Once a household name in the music industry. Now, a multi-disciplinary creative hub. Not just a studio space, but an institution devoted to making ideas come to life. A place to learn, a place to grow, and a place that is still growing.

Exhibition ‘Ship of fools’ gallery

The lectures slightly delayed the opening of the exhibition. It included works from Alex Trochut, Craig Ward, Jan Rothuyzen, Michiel van der Born, Seb Lester, Si Scott and Nick Deakin.

It was really nice to be able to enjoy the works of these great typographers with a much deserved beer in the hand while mingling with all of the other people there at the end of such a long tiring day of working and listening.

I recommend everybody with a love for typography to sign up for next year and become inspired by other artists.

About typofille

I'm a graphic designer, art director and allround design enthusiast. I'm also the owner of Ontherockz Concept & Creatie, provider of marketing based creativity and wodka red bull lover.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s