Fabienne Serriere

On the Urban Typography workshop

fabbing communication

Urban Typography: what does your city say to you and what do you say to your city? This workshop encouraged participants to express themselves through words and text in their urban environments through the use of Mediamatic's Fab Lab.

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These letters will be used in a stop motion video by one of the participants in a project about Amsterdam Noord. -

The Urban Typography workshop took place at Mediamatic over two days. Participants were encouraged to form groups for collaboration. Ideas, inspiration, and brainstorming were the focus of day one, while day two focused on putting ideas in practice on the machinery of the Fab Lab. A Fab Lab is a space where computer controlled machines allow one to build just about anything. The focus of the Urban Typography theme helped reign in the participants to create works using the Fab Lab that shout, scream and engage others using text in an urban environment.

The workshop started out with some engaging presentations by visual artist Mirthe Blusse, street artist and graphic designer ZEDZ, and architect Jack Bakker from Zwarts en Jansma Architects. Participants then were encouraged to brainstorm, share ideas, and form pairs and teams for their projects. Day two was strictly hands-on as the participants put their ideas into practice with the help of Bernardo. Some participants chose to focus on one larger project, while others used their time to pursue more than one computer-controlled medium. By far the biggest challenge was vectorizing all of the design files to work with the various driver software systems for the machines. If you attend a workshop, be sure to familiarize yourself with vectorization ahead of time and come prepared with your designs in a compatible vectorized format.

All in all the two-day workshop was a success for each participant. The Fab Lab made text pop seamlessly from dream into an urban environment-- whether in the form of an interesting object, or lettering on a sticker to place on a building, or words for a stop motion video.

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A piece of paper cut like lace as textural inspiration. - Fabienne Serriere

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An example from Zwarts en Jansma architects showing how to construct 3D pieces with 2D paper cut by a laser. -

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Participants are discussing in front of a red mural by one of the inspirational speakers, street artist ZEDZ. -

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Some laser cut pieces to inspire the participants and get the creative juices flowing. - Fabienne Serriere

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at Mediamatic - Mirthe Blusse spoke about street art and using written word in design for public places. Fabienne Serriere

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Laser cutter results - Jack Bakker from Zwarts en Jansma architects shows some materials that are made with the laser-cutter. Fabienne Serriere

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from left to right: Vinyl cutter, milling machine, and sublimation printer in the Fab Lab. - Fabienne Serriere

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Luuk is sketching. -

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Milling machine -

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Vinyl-cutter -

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Harold and Bernardo vectorize the design to be able to put it into the Fab Lab machines' software. -

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Sometimes there are too many possibilities! -

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The participants brainstorm with the aid of laptops, design software and sketchpads. -

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The Fab Lab entrance, where all the machines live. -

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Architectural details are primed to be used with the theme of Urban Typography. - Fabienne Serriere

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Another participant dreams of some cubed inspiration. -

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Sketchbooks fill up with ideas, letters, typography, and design pieces. -

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Pencils and computer pointers are equally as important. -

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Urban Typography Workshop at Mediamatic - Fabric to be printed on with the sublimation printer should contain polyester. If not, it can be treated with poly paint, shown here.

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Urban Typography Workshop at Mediamatic - The Fnordlicht by fd0 is open source hardware. The file was opened in Rhino and was already vectorized. Fabienne Serriere

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Urban Typography Workshop at Mediamatic - The circuit diagram board layout was then made 3D for the milling machine. Fabienne Serriere

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Urban Typography Workshop at Mediamatic - A smaller bit was fitted on the milling machine to mill the circuit board. Fabienne Serriere

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The un-etched copper board is stuck to the work bed of the milling machine with double sided tape. -

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The vinyl cutter's print screen to make continuous long sheets is a bit hidden in sub menus. -

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As the vinyl cutter cuts a long sheet, it feeds the entire length forward and backwards causing a bit of a workout for the participants. -

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The laser cutter, hard to photograph, but here caught in action cutting some plexiglass. -

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Letters fresh out of the laser cutter. -

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Urban typography was the theme of the two day workshop and many filled sketchbooks with ideas. -

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The laser cutter cutting some cardboard for a book cover about gravestone typography by one of the participants. -

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Luuk's forms were cut by the laser cutter for an urban logo for a hip hop group. - Fabienne Serriere