Workshop Archive

Urban Typography

Experimenting and iteratively fine-tuning urban designs

3 Apr 2008
4 Apr 2008

A two-day course centered on experimenting and iteratively fine-tuning urban designs with FabLab. Use materials such as frames and stencil sheets in combination with light and mirrors in order to create spatial constructs.


Still - Deborah M. Kōdō

Workshop approach

The course starts off with several lectures and short presentations designed to act as a catalyst for the brainstorming and concept development process of its participants.

First Mirthe Blussé (graphic designer, maker of Amsterdam Guerilla Art magazine) discusses the use of typography on and off the street as well as its application in creative design concepts.

Additionally, the renown Dutch graffiti artist and graphic designer Zedz will introduce his fresh insight on typography inspired by his particular background and know-how of the creative possibilities of graffiti. He will be around on both days to assist and inspire you.

On the second day the designer / graffiti artist Wayne Horse will give a short presentation of his work, he makes very recognizable pieces.

The rest of the program is the hands-on experience portion of the program. It is directed at experimenting and iteratively fine-tuning designs. Here you will be assisted by the coach and the technical Fablab supervisor Bernardo Gaeiras and you will receive a short introduction to the Fablab machines.

What is a FabLab?

Pioneered by MIT's Neil Gershenfeld, a FabLab (fabrication laboratory) is a small scale workshop with the tools to make almost anything. This includes technology-enabled products generally perceived as limited to mass production. It empowers people to create material objects in line with their own artistic aspirations.

What can you make with it?

"Almost anything!" if we are to believe Gershenfeld. The only real limitation is your own imagination! The FabLab equipment is designed to complement one another so that most aspects of a given project can be developed within one workspace. To see what equipment is available during this Fablab workshop edition click here NB with the exception of the laser cutter.

For who is this course?

The workshop is for people who want hands-on experiment with urban typography , and that have some (graphical) design skills: graphic designers, taggers, fashion designers, exhibition designers.


(Graphic) designer and Guerilla Art magazine creator Mirthe Blussé, graffiti artist ZEDZ and the FabLab expert Bernardo Gaeiras will be assisted by the experienced graphic designer and typographer Janno Hahn.


Artist Wayne Horse will provide a morning lecture on the first workshop day to discuss his work and influences.

Workshop Report

Day 1:

After a brief introduction by Mediamatic's workshop coordinator Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, the spotlight was directed at Mirthe Blusse. Mirthe took the workshop participants, as one would expect with a Urban Typography workshop, outside. Not literally, but a journey wandering down streets with strange, delightful and above all inspiring typographic encounters. She discussed their design and statements and provided insight on her personal experience of them. Workshop participants threw in their voice and personal perspective along the way, establishing fruitful discussions even related to topics such as the possibility of giving urban typography a commercial twist.

Through her presentation Mirthe paved the path for street artist Zedz. Zedz generously offered his own creativity and discussed his work as graffiti artist. Followed by Jack Bakker from Zwarts en Jansma Architects who provided some examples on the possibilities of the laser cutter. With a glimpse of an eye the workshop space emptied out as participants headed to a well deserved lunch.


Zedz presents own print -

After lunch Bernardo Gaieras and Jacco Hahn granted a quick Fablab 101.


Participants workshop -

Next the participants embarked on a brainstorm session and were paired up in groups to work on related themes. In their ideas they were stimulated and supported by the artistic and creative insights of both Zedz and Mirthe.
Some groups even managed to get cracking with the FabLab machinery before the first day was over. Herein Jacco and Bernardo provided assistance, sharing their experiences.

Day 2:

The day started off a bit slow, with participants crawling into the workshop space. But slow pace received it's acceleration when Wayne Horse gave an overview of his mind boggling and highly provocative work .

Consequently a round up: discussions on creative blockages and mere technical restrictions took place. In a collective effort these were re-evaluated and, to the extent possible, resolved or redirected to new challenges. The remainder of the day consisted of the assisted work on projects, finishing off designs on the computer, passing these through to Fablab machines, or even the introduction of a new alphabet that needed digitalization and consequent material implementation.


Zedz spray painting wall -

At the end of a two day workshop it is only natural that you would want to be able to see the direct result of your self-made, designed urban stencil sheet. Lucky for us, but no surprise for a graffiti artist of his caliber, Zedz was armed with a spray-can in his bag. Before it really sunk in, the stencils were being implemented on the bathroom walls of Mediamatic by the Pro himself (see above image).


Mediamatic's bathroom... - Deborah M. Kōdō

Later, participants followed his example filling the offices with head-ache provoking fumes in the process of pimping the spaces' aesthetics. In every respect, this workshop has left it's mark!

But these bathrooms weren't the only ones subject to the artistic wave. Another group of participants demanded a projector in order to use it's light rays to provide a visually stunning effect through plastic colored stencil sheets. The above still-image does not begin to capture the measure of the effect they accomplished since the motion of the three plastic stencils swung back and forth, animating the wall projection and seducing the colors to a playful engagement.

The workshop came to a closing and everyone started cleaning up opening the bottles of the well deserved beers!


Wayne Horse presents -


Zedz (l) en Wayne Horse (r) -


Zedz feedbacking design brainstorm -


making an R -