MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The Philippines has had a long love affair with type design, from the hand-painted letters on jeepney signs to the rise of modern typefaces inspired by our cultural heritage. On December 02, 2023, Manila Middle Ground and Type63 will be celebrating the art form with the first-ever Type Fair PH, a gathering of Filipino type and talent at Comuna, Makati City.
Type Fair PH is the brainchild of creative space Manila Middle Ground’s Jeth Torres, type designer and Type63 Founder Jo Malinis, and Canva Creative Lead Kookie Santos. It was Jeth who initially opened the idea to Jo, who had been wanting to mount the same concept. It was during a basketball game a week after that Jeth proposed the idea that Kookie be a co-organizer, and she quickly agreed. To establish the event’s vision, they brought in designer Lazir Caluya to handle the overall design and execution.
Quick type in time
According to Jeth, modern efforts in calligraphy, lettering, and type design began around 2014, followed by events such as Type Kita and Type Lab MNL in 2015. Notably, from 2016 onwards, there was at least one type-related event happening every month.
Fast forward to 2019 for Tipong Pilipino, co-organized by graphic designers Vincent Africa and Clara Cayosa. A recent event was Font Fiesta by HUB: Make Lab last October 2023. Type63, while being the most active platform in showcasing the love for Filipino type, had not yet organized an event like this. The foundation to create one had been laid down, but it was only now that Type63 found the right collaborators.
What to expect at Type Fair PH
Type Fair PH will feature a type poster exhibit, live art showcases, type talks and workshops, and even a curated merch market.
The type exhibit is themed “Tayo,” with the Tagalog word for “we” being interpreted as a show of togetherness. Participants were asked to design either calligraphic, lettering, custom type design, or typographic pieces incorporating a creative phrase ending in “tayo,” aiming to showcase solidarity within the community.
Type Fair PH will host talks and workshops headlined by individuals such as Gian Wong on the secrets of designing with type; Lloyd Zapanta on the history and current state of Baybayin; and lastly, Aaron Amar, Jad Maza, and Jo Malinis on their insights into the creation of their typefaces Quiapo Free V2, Makahiya, and Alluyon Weave, respectively. The same trio will also discuss type in a roundtable discussion, where they will go in-depth into their processes, and type wisdom.
Seasoned signage artist Edwin Tayao will be at the event doing live art, and MerchPH will share their business learnings on providing high-quality merchandise for brands and artists. The Type Market, a merchandise area featuring 10 carefully curated artists and merchants, will be plying type goodies for guests.