Why one mustn't compare apples to oranges

*** NOTE: I am not wearing any hats but my own with this entry. ***

I am sick to death of comparisons that arise every year as we enter conference season. Specifically, the comparison of ATypI to TypeCon. Yes, both conference happen to share the topic of type. But, why compare? Why not just love? I guess I sit in a tough place. I love both. Some might say ATypI is more academic. Others say TypeCon isn't serious enough. I hate to break it to you people, but both conferences have both qualities. Where TypeCon is less expensive, ATypI gives you the opportunity to mill around during lunch and watch your heroes eat. Where ATypI bends toward specific corners of typographic theory, TypeCon gets to move into Type use in Graphic Design. Even these are gross generalizations. ATypI has three tracks, argued to be a good thing because you get choice. TypeCon has one track allowing us to not pine and winge over the speakers we are missing.

Compare for yourself.

ATypI and TypeCon

Both conferences have their share of high-brow talk and low-fi fun. Don't hate, participate!


Tiff, don't shun comparison. It's the only way I myself could arrive at the same conclusion as you: both conferences are great! If the two conference were too similar then we'd be in trouble. Relish diversity.


Relish diversity


[devil's advocate]

Tiffany, it is unreasonable to expect that TypeCon & ATypI Conferences serve the same audiences (except perhaps in the one year out of four that ATypI comes to North America). Most designers, especially students, young designers, busy designers, or poor designers, cannot be expected to afford to attend both conferences. Those who can afford both get the reward of attending both ;-)

The rest have to make decisions. It does come down a bit to funding. Location & cost are a factor, and interest is another. It is not unreasonable to expect more graphic designers to attend TypeCon than ATypI. Font Technicians who can only make one conference should pick the ATypI. The conferences are not the same. If they were the same, then they could please eveyone by just happening once, not twice, right?

[/devil's advocate]

Dan, you little devil's advocate, ::wink:: I never said they serve the same audience. I only said they have many similarities and I did call to attention two places at which they diverge from one another. I also didn't say that students should attend both. My checkbook can attest to the fact that I couldn't attend both accept for a few lucky circustances this year. Location and cost are a total factor, I agree. I also agree that more graphic designers attend TypeCon. Hmm. Me thinks that I didn't write in English and wrote, instead, in Tiffanese.

Dan, I was attempting to start the conversation, which inevitably happens every year, off on a good note.

Yes. Cost is a factor. Yes. Location is a factor. Yes. If you are a student that lives on a pauper's budget you more than likely can't make it to both or either one for that matter. Yes. Yes. and. Yes.

Since I live in New York, I can make TypeCon, but Helsinki...yeah, a little out of the way for some of us struggling freelancers.

Terry, I could also see that a TypeCon in NYC might make attendance by Europeans a lot more accessible. (Yves is coming!) The cost of flights from NYC to Europe sometimes rival flights from NYC to SF. I'm curious to see if there's a much stronger European contingent at this year's - I suspect there will be.

Hey, you can't beat that Euro to Dollar exchange rate! ;-)


I do know several Europeans who are coming because it is New York. Somehow, everyone seems to know someone there. So even though the city is so expensive, it doesn't sway them because they are just going to end up crashing on friends' couches anyway.

This is probably a phenomenon that couldn't be the same in another city like Toronto, Minneapolis, or Chicago. Although it does seem to happen every year during TYPO Berlin. I guess that Berlin is one of those places, too.

Glad the exchange rate is helping someone. =)

I'll be attending TypeCon, but not the ATypI conference this year. Last year, I went to the ATypI and not to San Francisco. We'll see how this year compares to last, but I'll miss the great ATypI TypeTech forum.