Notes from the Fontstand event in Milan
  This headline is set in Milano Graphic Festival by CAST. Get it on Fontstand for only €2.00/month.

We teamed up with the Biennale Internazionale Milano to put on a unique typography event.
This headline is set in Milano Graphic Festival by CAST. Get it on Fontstand for only €2.00/month.

Fontstand is a global community of type creators, mostly functioning through online means like the Fontstand app or this news platform. But we are always trying to connect to local audiences, and when the opportunity arose to cooperate with the new Biennale Internazionale Milano project, we jumped at the chance. Thanks to Francesco Dondina, the event organizer, and Matteo Bologna – our friend and a foundry partner – it was a smooth process from the start.

Earlier this year, we opted not to mount another of our big Fontstand conferences in 2024. While the two previous conferences (The Hague in 2022 and Dublin in 2023) each happened in the Fall, we’d always wanted to return to our conference’s original spring dates. We’re planning to organize our next big event in April 2025. Therefore, a mini-conference connected to this Italian festival seemed to be a good fit to fill the gap between our main events.

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Silvana Amato, President of AGI Italia, introduces the speakers on the conference stage.

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Beatrice D’Agostino opens her presentation on unconventional parameters for teaching type design. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

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In her talk, Beatrice D’Agostino mentioned the “Frankenstein” method of assembling parts.

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Beatrice brings her experience as a type designer to her teaching.

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Afterwards, Beatrice D’Agostino answered questions from Silvana Amato.

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Andrea Amato gave an inspiring talk on the differences between legibility and readability in type design. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

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You might also know Andrea Amato by his handle, Tipiblu. He’s been a member of CAST since 2018. CAST is an Italian type foundry and Fontstand partner. Andrea is its art director.

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Behind Andrea, you can see several sizes of one of CAST’s newest typefaces, Roma Neue. It was designed by Stefano Cremisini. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

There are multiple foundry partners for Fontstand in Italy or with Italian connections who were happy to take part in the event in their free time. There’s CAST (Cooperativa Anonima Servizi Tipografici), an extensive type foundry project with many independent collaborators and a member of Fontstand since 2016. We’ve also recently added Zetafonts, an independent type foundry from Florence, to our portfolio. And, of course, Matteo Bologna of muccaTypo, our Italian foundry in New York, is recently actively joining the Italian-type scene, too.

It was a simple choice for the event’s presentations to be in Italian, as this would align with the local audience. We asked our friend Silvana Amato, the President of AGI Italia and a graphic designer and researcher herself, to help us introduce the speakers in Italian. She very kindly agreed.

The afternoon program was divided into two parts. In the opening presentation, Beatrice D’Agostino, a freelance type and graphic designer and teacher who publishes fonts with CAST on Fontstand, presented a method of introducing unconventional parameters for developing ideas for new typefaces. That can be beneficial for experimenting as well as for teaching type design.

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Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini discusses the idea of design spaces. He’s a co-founder of Zetafonts is an independent type foundry based in the heart of Florence.

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Close-up of Cosimo during his talk. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

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In this photo, Cosimo is shown discussing Codec Pro, one of Zetafonts’ new multilingual projects. Behind him you can see text in the Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew scripts.

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Giulio Galli on generative AI and type design research. Giulio, who graduated with an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading in 2021, has been working with the Italian type foundry CAST since 2018. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

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Behind Giulio, you can see a few examples of early parameterized vector fonts created with AI.

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Giulio also spoke about how the thinking behind generative design evolved over the years.

Next up was Andrea Amato, art director and type designer at CAST. He gave an inspiring talk about the differences between legibility and readability in type design and the aspects of readability studies vs. typographic tools for presenting the text. Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini, the co-founder of Zetafonts, then gave a good overview of some important type design projects, from personal passion to more recent large, international, and multilingual type projects.

After the break – a great chance for friends to chat and have a good time – the second block started with Giulio Galli, a designer, researcher, and type designer who also works with CAST foundry. He gave us the lowdown on the research that’s going on in the lab in Hasselt on how generative AI can influence and change type design in the future. Fortunately, it seems that there’s still a bright future ahead for humanity in type design.

To prove this, the next and last speaker of the day was Matteo Bologna, the founder of muccaTypo. He showed us a type-design-slash-branding project for the Tin Building, an extensive new food marketplace in NYC. For this project, he used only one custom typeface throughout the many venues and sub-brands of the site. The entertaining and colorful presentation was a great way to wrap up the entire event.

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Silvana Amato, introducing the next talk.

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Our final speaker was Matteo Bologna, the founder and creative director of the Mucca design studio and the muccaTypo foundry. Photo courtesy of @markablestudio.

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Matteo spoke about custom typefaces for branding projects.

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During his talk, the room was packed with type lovers and enthusiasts!

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Matteo answers questions from the audience.

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Together on stage, from left: Matteo Bologna, Silvana Amato, Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini, Andrea Amato, Andrej Krátky, Giulio Galli and Beatrice D’Agostino. Photo courtesy of @dondina_associati.

For designers and type designers, in-person conferences present the perfect opportunity to meet and share ideas. We’re already looking forward to seeing many of the speakers and members of the audience at our next Fontstand International Conference in the spring of 2025. Stay tuned for our announcement of the place and date!


BIG is a festival curated by @francescodondina and produced by @dondina_associati

The fonts mentioned in this article are available to rent by the month for a fraction of their retail price on Fontstand.