Taking Type by Force

10 Website

A Visit to Typeforce 8 – showcasing the best in typography and design.

Diana Goh, part of The Marketing Store’s creative team at We Are Unlimited in Chicago took a visit to Typeforce 8 – an event looking at the latest in type design that gathers some of the world’s best designers.

The show is a celebration of text-based artwork created in just about any medium: sculptures, embroidery, print, collage, and technology, including the annual 40-foot-wide site-specific window display created by award-winning design studio, Firebelly Design.

Organisers Ed Marzsewski & Dawn Hancock describe it as “A nerd-out for people who love typography”, where 20+ installations are exhibited from a pool of 200 entries. Historically, these works have comprised some of the best type or lettering-based art created in the U.S. and beyond, with the event now in its eighth year running.


1 Outdoor

In Typeforce 8, two popular themes rose to the top, political resistance and the recent effects of social media. Delicious Design League’s installation The Great Divide touched upon the current political split within the nation fueled by deliberate false and divisive news. The piece is comprised of acrylic ink on various layers of plexiglass within a cedar wood frame. This illustrates that social media algorithms have only deepened relations and built further divides in today’s society.



Ade Hogue (Calligrapher) and Nicky Mazur’s Generating Likes focused on the tedious process that typically goes unseen in the social media age. The piece tapes mixed media forms onto the wall with a lit box encompassing a mobile phone in the centre. It states that a social media post may look simple and effortless, but often people get stuck in a cycle, where likes and instant gratification drive emotional responses.



Red Letter by Sky White takes a different approach by combining the technology of 3D printing and the letterform of a Gothic script and Blackletter into physical typographic structures. The letters have magnetic pieces to help stick to the metal board and are easily stackable to build any kind of word. We made the phrase “my timid soul” using the letters we could identify.



Several pieces utilised interesting shape and form, like the installation of a bed with an electronic tablet resting on top which touched on the topic of woman’s reproductive rights. Others had laser cuts into plywood, cutouts of maps, small eyeballs glued onto type, and even a video art piece that focused on staying awake during this time of political flare.



If you’re curious about any of the Typeforce events, click here for more.

Diana Goh
Art Director and Designer at We Are Unlimited