How hacker-meetups and practices might be adopted by graphic designers to promote fruitful collaborations.
Several weeks ago, we were in the middle of a truly busy week, collecting materials for the launch of our brand new website. While our hands were quite full with new projects to document, we realized the heavy amount of ‘unused’ graphics, confined way deep those old Illustrator files. Among those digital scribbling, a noteworthy amount of typography drafts remained hidden in the dark.
So a crazy thought came out loud: what if we use the next saturday to actually finish some of these custom types, and invite some friends to turn, too, their dusty vectors into fully alive alphabets?. Despite we had little time to organize a proper formal event, we called it ‘Día-T: Día de Terminar Tipografías’ (T-Day: Day to Finish Types). One of us sketched a rough poster (done, actually, using letterwork from unfinished alphabets of our own) and posted it on Facebook. A simple post in our Facebook page, no tags or anything.
Within the first hour, we collected a couple dozen of likes and some shares: somehow people liked the idea, and even told us they would apply the dynamic in some other places. Along with, of course, a handful of people confirming their assistance and participation. We were excited to have some folks visiting our studio and spending half the weekend designing some custom typefaces with us.
Saturday came by, and we actually had a way lower attendance than expected. But the single (and only) presence of Eldelentes really cheered up the day, we must admit. We shared some beer, playlists, sushi and —whenever we could— feedback on our individual progress. At the end of the day, I figured out that a single day is —of course— not enough to play with type, and maybe a ‘T- Week’ would do better.
Anyway, along with the great progress with our files, we ended up with a really nice day of coexistence with a fellow designer, and experienced our work (lettering and custom type design, in this case) in a pleasant rhythm, without worrying for deadlines or specific deliveries. We are now trying to understand: how could we apply these exercises in a systematic way, in order to build interesting and enjoyable, collaborative pieces of work with other local designers?
Developers are already great on this subject, and Monterrey is full of hacker-spaces and official meetups. I made a little research to find some examples (this post from Osvaldo Ayala really came in handy), and found two that seemed to me pretty close to the experience we had with T-Day: Code and Beer, and Code All Night. I might have thought of asking their organizers for some advice, but the dynamic is quite simple: a gathering, beer and/or food, some old projects and folks to have a ball with.
While many of us designers really put an effort focusing on getting things done, I think these kind of spaces might offer us a quite enjoyable way of attaining productivity (and, quite possibly, new friendships). We will therefore try to come up with some nice collaborative dynamic, and make a test with some friends soon; so stay tuned.