• Image of The Typeforce Retrospective Book
  • Image of The Typeforce Retrospective Book
  • Image of The Typeforce Retrospective Book

Our Typeforce book will be released in March, 2020! Please pre-order yours now!

From the introduction of the book:

Typeforce is an annual exhibition hosted at the experimental cultural center, Co-Prosperity Sphere, based in Bridgeport on Chicago’s south side. We co-founded the event out of a deep, shared love for the local art and design community, as well as an interest in the intersection of art and activism.

As social entrepreneurs, we’ve spent our careers helping Chicago artists, designers, nonprofits and projects thrive. Along the way, we’ve met so many amazing people, doing great work, who share our interest in building a better world. And while many of them were willing to volunteer their time and talents to other people’s projects, they lacked the space and support to celebrate their own, especially those interested in converging the lines between commercial art and experimental practice. Artists could rarely show work as a designer. And designers weren’t showing work in galleries, despite the hybrid nature of their work.

So we created an exhibition to fill that void.

The show was almost called My Type of Town: The Annual Chicago Show of Typographic Excellence. Dawn suggested TYPE FORCE : The Annual Chicago Showcase of Emerging Typographic Allstars for the inaugural show. It was definitely a lot more fun. We can also thank Rick Valecenti for guiding us to that name cuz, well, he’s Rick.

The name hinted at the blend of professional practice and experimental ideas. It would definitely make for a fantastic group art show. The goal was to turn type into visual art, to show how both language and art are forms of communication. And to do it with panache.

The concept was clear: showcase the best in emerging typographic design and art in Chicago. Next, we had to find our all-stars. We took to the streets, uncovering hidden gems among agencies and artist studios. We found some of the most amazing talent anywhere on the planet. Really, they blew us away.

We selected 20 of Chicago's top type-makers. Told them to create whatever they wanted (yes, really) and show up on February 23, 2010 to install what we hoped would be step one in proving that Chicago really does bring it. And did they ever.

From a lycra window display to sound-activated motion graphics, a typographic graveyard to a powdered type sculpture, the brilliance was on full display.

Over 500 people came through the Co-Prosperity Sphere's doors that first night. After that, we knew we had to memorialize the work and decided to make it an annual tradition.

Ten year later, Typeforce continues, featuring all-stars not just from Chicago but around the world. For many of the city’s top creatives, participating is a bucket list item. We’ve been delighted to share their work. It has become a designer’s holiday, with opening night regularly pulling in over one thousand visitors. Each year, Firebelly designs a sculptural installation. Marz Brewing releases a limited edition beer just for the event. And a few dozen artists present work that runs the gamut of interactive, performative, 2D and 3D work. It is a living testament to our collective ability to reimagine and contribute new ideas around the intersections of art, typography and community.

This book is a simple record. It documents the participants of Typeforce I through X. It’s our homage to the imagination, inventiveness, and experimentation that we’ve been honored to present each year.

Ed Marszewski, Public Media Institute

Dawn Hancock, Firebelly Design