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Nearly every year since 1998, the nonprofit group known as the Society of Typographic Aficionados has presented the traveling TypeCon conference. This year's edition in Portland opens on Wednesday with a full lineup of workshops and lectures. TypeCon includes both a full-day course exploring letterpress printing of the Bodoni typeface (now sold out), and sessions to help independent type foundries market their work.

Ahead of the 14th TypeCon, nicknamed "Portl&," we traded emails with organizer Grant Hutchinson about the Emoji workshop, geographic typography, and what makes their type quiz so "infamous."

orangeyThere's a workshop on the type of Taiwan, another on type in South Africa. Is there a focus on geographic typography this year?
The focus isn't specific to this year's conference. We always try to include linguistic and cross-cultural topics in the program. For example, at TypeCon2012 in Milwaukee we covered topics such as Cherokee syllabary, South American beer labels, and Mayan writing reform. In 2011, there were presentations on Japanese typography, Turkish type design, and the connections between typography, text, and black identity in America.

Is the lecture on Friday the first time TypeCon will feature the Emoji?
We've had presentations cover the topic of symbol fonts and Emoji before, but this is the first time that the new color Emoji technology has been discussed.

Big -> SmallYou're a member of the Society of Typographic Aficionados, which presents TypeCon every year. Can you tell me a little about what kind of work the Society does?
The primary work that we focus on is producing our annual TypeCon conference. We're a small and very grassroots organization, and the conference reflects that. It's important to us that we keep the conference program jam-packed with relevant and wide-reaching variation of topics. We also focus on typographic education through the Type & Design Education Forum held during the conference, as well as our annual Catalyst award targeted at young designers.

Another ongoing project is our Font Aid fundraising efforts. We have organized six Font Aid projects so far, each bringing together hundreds of designers and typographers to create a typeface which is sold to raise needed funds for disaster relief.

Auto RacesWhat's one workshop no one should miss?
That's a difficult call. If it was me (and I had the time), I wouldn't miss the two-day, hands-on Brush Roman Majuscules workshop with John Downer & Paul Herrera. Otherwise, this year's special presentation with Alejandro Paul and the keynote by Adrian Shaughnessy should be killer. Of course, I'm biased. This year's entire program is pretty amazing.

What is the "infamous type quiz" all about?
Each year, Allan Haley of Monotype hosts a quick-fire trivia contest featuring some of the toughest typographic questions out there. It's amazing to witness how much geeky type knowledge (and minutia) some of the participants possess. Points are tallied; drinks are poured; prizes are awarded.

TypeCon kicks off Wednesday, August 21 in Portland, OR. All photos are embedded via the TypeCon Flickr Pool.