Kerning Conference 2014

I missed the first Kerning Conference in 2013, but I made it to round #2 this year. My very short review of this short conference: it’s a great excuse to visit Italy. I decided to go just a week before mostly thanks to finding an extremely affordable flight and reasonable hotel deal (and the conference itself was rather cheap). The speakers or talks weren’t such a draw for me (which turned out to be a good thing, else I would have been somewhat disappointed). But with this mindset I was able to simply enjoy my trip, and not be dependent on incredible/inspiring conference performances.

The organizers did a wonderful job. Everything seemed smooth, the coffee was decent, food was tasty, location was great. But I must say, after attending, it’s not clear to me exactly who this conference is made for. Is it for Italians – to strengthen and inspire the Italian scene, or is it for foreigners to come see Italy? It seems to have been in some undefined middle ground. There was only one Italian presenter, and the others were very typical big names that you see at many other conferences. As a non-Italian visitor I would have liked to have seen more local voices, or at least different people from every other conference. But from an Italian perspective, Kerning is a nice excuse to lure the bigger names to this small city.

My only other organizational complaint was the lack of wifi. Us poor non-Italians didn’t get to contribute to the #keming twitter discussion. In lieu of not tweeting during the talks, I’ll offer up Twitter-styled commentary on each presentation. (The reviews were written a month later, and having not taken notes at the time, these are ultimately the long-lasting impressions.)

@ Francesco Franchi
It was great to see Francesco speak. He can make any news item interesting. I think he and Jan could work well together.

@ Ellen Lupton
Was way less crappy than at ATypI Lisbon. That was a relief. Her themes of narrative and  storytelling were fairly interesting.

@ Vincent Connare
Dalton Maag portfolio review.

@ Jan Middendorp
Jan was the highlight of the day with a non-typical design talk. We should open our eyes to the world around us, ignore less, care more, & do more.

@ Jessica Hische
Jessica is a charismatic presenter.

@ Erik Van Blokland
I’ve already seen this talk, but it’s totally re-watchable. Erik is such a hardcore nerd it’s utterly fascinating.

@ Elliot Jay Stocks
“Let’s look at the state of web typography now… Check out these blog posts of mine from 2 years ago… they are still relevant, nothing much has changed.”

@ Frank Chimero
My first time seeing Frank, I was hoping to finally understand what he’s about, but I didn’t. He’s great with Kickstarter tho.