Brand New Web Typography Conference in Brighton, UK

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News | Yves Peters | March 14, 2011

In three months, on June 17, 2011, a brand new typography conference will take place in Brighton, UK. Ampersand is an affordable one-day event for knowledgeable web designers & type enthusiasts. The conference represents the overlapping worlds of type design, web design, and software. It will be a fabulous day of nitty-gritty details from experts in font design & development, typesetting & font usage, browser implementations, and with glimpses of a bright typographic future.

Ampersand will feature the following speakers:

Ampersand is presented by Clearleft, a user experience design consultancy based in Brighton, UK. Clearleft makes websites, and in their spare time they like to give something back to the web design community by running conferences like Ampersand. It’s a grass-roots conference that gathers some of the brightest minds in web design and typography from around the world, and brings them to their little home by the sea for a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

The conference will be held in the famous Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and is a must for anyone working with words on the web. Cosmopolitan, compact, energetic, unique, fun, lively, historic, young, exotic and free-spirited, Brighton is a city like no other. It is one of the most vibrant, colourful and creative cities in Europe. It has a rich typographic history, including being the birthplace of Eric Gill.

Richard Rutter of Clearleft. © 2005 Andy Budd

I had the opportunity to talk to Richard Rutter, founding partner and Production Director at Clearleft, about Ampersand which is basically his baby.

Why Ampersand?

“There’s so much to learn about the full story of typography on the web, from designing typefaces specifically for the screen medium, through engineering those fonts to make them render acceptably across the various platforms of the ‘crude media’ as Berlow puts it, to writing the browser software to make it happen, the CSS specs which provide designers with a framework for defining their work, to the actual typesetting and layout requirements that are so specific to the web.

So many interwoven, and sometimes adversarial, disciplines are involved that I wanted to try and tell the whole story in one day, from experts and practitioners of the different disciplines. I felt that if I, as primarily a website designer, knew more about the type design decisions, the hinting process, the issues browser makers have, then I could become a better designer.

And no conference existed with all of this in one place, so I put together Ampersand. So I’m hugely, genuinely, excited about the line-up we managed to put together. As well as knowledgeable experts, we’ve got really good, entertaining speakers too (the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand). I can’t wait to hear Vincent Connare’s Comic Sans story and David Berlow’s account of redesigning fonts for the web. Tim Brown’s approach to typesetting on the web went down really well at Build, in Belfast last year, and Mark Porter’s experience at the Guardian will be fascinating to hear.”

Attendance at dConstruct 2010. Photo by Paul Robert Lloyd

Registration opened two weeks ago. How is the first edition of this new conference shaping up?

“I knew with Clearleft’s years of experience of holding dConstruct and UX London that we’d be able to pull it off smoothly, and I hoped that there would be enough people out there who would be interested in such a conference. I’d seen first-hand the enthusiastic attendance of Webfontday in Munich, and the huge interest in web typography at conferences like South by Southwest.

I was pretty much right. We sold a third of the tickets on the first day, and we’ve now sold about half of the 350 tickets available, with sales still going strong. So yes, this is the first Ampersand conference, and right now it’s planned as a one-off but we don’t rule out doing another one.”

How is Ampersand connected to the type community?

“We’re really pleased to have the support of Fontdeck along with our other enterprise sponsors Typekit, Webtype, and Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

As well as this major sponsorship, we’ve also introduced a really low-cost grass-roots sponsorship scheme for small companies wanting to get their name out there in front of a savvy audience. This way we hope to be helping to promote small type foundries, web designers, and any exciting type-related endeavours.”

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  1. One assumes you mean “In three months, on June 17, 2011“… :)

    Posted by Alex on Mar. 14, 2011
  2. No, actually – we’ve just cracked the secret of time travel, and are now able to go back a decade through a rift in the space-time continuum! : D

    Thanks for pointing that out, Alex. ; )

    Posted by Yves Peters on Mar. 14, 2011
  3. Excelente exfuerzo!!!!! me encantaria estar en esas megaconferencias pero estoy muy lejos.

    Saludos y en buena hora por lo que hacen día con día en el mundo de la tipografía.


    Posted by Juan Durán on Mar. 15, 2011

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