Hi, I’m Dan Rhatigan. You can use the links above to dig through the design work, old blog posts, and various other things archived on this site. If you like you can also check out some of the material featuring me shown below, or just get in touch.
This talk took place on Saturday, June 18, 2016 in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union as part of Typographics.
My summary from the program:
It can be difficult to explore possibilities of typography when designers—and especially clients—assume certain things are given, when these variables are not hard limits, just conventions. I want to look at the background of certain defaults of our software, to get people to consider them in some context and think about them more critically.
I’ve delivered some variations of this talk in the past. In fact, I believe the first iteration for it was for Type@Cooper in New York. My ideas about the material presented continue to evolve as I learn more doing various bits of research, but this time I was able to be a little more direct in my discussion of some details now that I no longer directly represent Monotype. (There had always been some legal hindrance in my ability to speak as an employee about the manufacturing activities of the Linotype and Monotype corporations in their original incarnations, neither of which are actually the same entity that operates today as Monotype Imaging, Inc. Don’t even get me started on that.)
The basic premise of this talk, though — the relationship of type production to type design — is a big fascination of mine that keeps going deeper all time time, so I imagine someday there will be other versions of this that evolve even further.
Letraset and other brands of rub-down type literally put typography in the hands of the people. Rub-down type made it possible for students, professionals, and everyone else to design with real typefaces, without needing professional typesetting services. A cheap and easy way to experiment with typography and other graphic elements, Letraset put a lot of care into making type easy to use well, but it also resulted in a lot of ways to use type badly, but with interesting results. With some care and attention, however, it was a great way to develop an eye for typography.
This talk was a look at Letraset’s type and other graphic supplies, showing how they put the tools of professional design into everyday hands. It also looked at how people had to improvise with Letraset, and made the most of the materials at hand.
After years of listening to fascinating, chasing interviews with a diverse bunch of smart people on Typeradio, I was really flattered when Donald and Liza asked me to sit down for a chat when I was in Den Haag last March at the Robothon conference.
You can finally listen to the interview here. This is one of a few interviews that I gave before I left Monotype that have trickled out afterwards, and they all feel slightly awkward now that I'm trying to establish my place in the world outside of my old job. I can hear in this one how careful I'm being when I describe the situation, since I was only recently getting past my first attempt to leave, and trying to make peace with the new role that I took on instead.
Typeradio has quite a body of work available now, and it was really great to see the tables turned recently when Type Journal interviewed Donald and Liza about the project.
Like this site, Pink Mince is another side project that’s been going for so long that its own history is part of why I can’t bring myself to call it quits. I may publish sporadically, but I’m really proud of the eleven issues (not to mention the Minis, the merch, and the far-more-active Tumblr moodboard) I’ve produced across the last 6 years or so.
Despite the body of work, it's rare for a zine get much of a reach, so I don't often get to talk much about what the overall project has been about over the years. Happily, book artist Christopher Kardambikis invited me for an interview on Paper Cuts, an online radio show he hosts, where he talks to zine makers and other DIY publishers about the things they do. It was great to ramble on for a bit, and finally explain what I mean when I say that Pink Mince isn’t just a gay zine, but is also a showcase for contemporary typeface design and vintage lettering that features pictures of dudes.
(That’s me sneaking a discussion of Pink Mince into a talk on Letraset I was giving in Vienna.)
Unfortunately, it languished a while since Monotype cancelled the initiative this was for. Some things that are out of date:
I don’t live in that little apartment anymore. It was a great place on E. 58th St, but it was an illegal sublet of a rent-stabilized studio, and I had to move out when the landlord found out. After that, I lived in Crown Heights for about 8 months — in the same building where I lived 9 years ago, even — but it was super annoying. I now live in a great little apartment in Inwood that I just bought. So I guess I’m an adult now that I have a mortgage.
I'm not Monotype’s Type Director anymore. Or at least, I won’t be after next Friday, since I recently resigned. I’m going to hang out and work on my own typefaces for a while, and probably do some freelance work if anyone needs some help.
I have a few of new tattoos on my right forearm.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but the more time I spend talking about typography to people who are into it, the more people want to know as much about my nerdy type tattoos as they want to know about whatever I'm supposed to be talking about. As a result, I've been featured in a couple of videos that just take a look at my scrawny arms with their interesting markings:
Just for the sake of reference, here’s a list of my tattoos (as of August 2014, of course):
R from unknown wood type
& from Poetica by Robert Slimbach
ü from Meta Bold by Erik Spiekermann
s from Fette Fraktur
K from the old Krispy Kreme logo
g from Baskerville, based on types of John Baskerville
§ from Champion Gothic Middleweight by Jonathan Hoefler
7 from Century Oldstyle Bold by Morris Fuller Benton
y from Cooper Black Italic by Oswald Cooper
W from Whitney Bold by Tobias Frere-Jones
z from Stilla by François Boltana
r from Maple Medium by Eric Olson
2 from Ingeborg Block by Michael Hochleitner
w from Actium Black Italic by Gerben Dollen
a from Dolly Italic by Underware
e from Sodachrome (Left and Right) by Ian Moore and Dan Rhatigan
Y from Banco by Roger Excoffon
Å from Leyton by Ian Moore
C from De Little 30-Line 196
H from Calypso by Roger Excoffon
é from Gill Sans Ultrabold (Gill Kayo) by Eric Gill
B from Festival Titling by Phillip Boydell
ø from Bell Centennial Bold Listing by Matthew Carter
Yet another project I’ve been meaning to write more about at length, but haven’t had the time to do so properly. However, here’s a video in which I say most of what I’ve been meaning to write:
This little bit of excitement has taken up a lot of my time and concentration for the last few months, and the last few weeks in particular.
From the AIGA, our hosts: “Gathering rare and unique works from premier archives in the United States and London, “Century” will serve as the hub of a series of presentations, workshops and events held at the AIGA gallery as well as the Type Directors Club and the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union in New York City. The “Century” exhibition features a range of artifacts representing the evolution from typeface conception to fonts in use. Typeface production drawings by the preeminent designers of the last 100 years, proofs, type posters and announcement broadsides are supplemented by publications, advertising, ephemera and packaging.”
And if you're curious, here is some of the coverage:
A talk about collaboration at TYPO San Francisco, with a particular look at the typefaces by Eric Gill, which were actually produced by teams of people at Monotype.