Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), is Holding its 52nd Annual Conference on 17-21 September 2008 in St Petersburg, Russia

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ATypI conferences bring together hundreds of typographers, lettering artists, designers, educators, students, and businesspeople from all over the world to talk about fonts, typeface design, typography, graphic design and visual communication. In 2008 ATypI will mark its first ever visit to Russia -- to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Czar Peter the Great's historic reform of Russian typography. This city seems to be most appropriate for this year's ATypI theme: The Old • The New.

Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI), the premier international organization dedicated to type design and typography, is holding its 52nd annual conference on 17-21 September 2008 in St Petersburg, Russia. Every year, ATypI conferences bring together hundreds of typographers, lettering artists, designers, educators, students, and businesspeople from all over the world to talk about fonts, typeface design, typography, graphic design and visual communication. After having visited cities as diverse as Rome, Vancouver, Prague, Helsinki, Lisbon and Brighton in the past years, in 2008 ATypI will mark its first ever visit to Russia -- to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Czar Peter the Great's historic reform of Russian typography.

In 1708-1710, in a bold move of opening a 'window on the West,' Peter the Great personally supervised the redesign of the Cyrillic letterforms. The Russian printed word, which to that date was still rooted in its medieval origins, was given a new, Western look. In the same spirit, the Czar ignited a series of economic, social and cultural reforms in Russia, and founded the city of St Petersburg. Boasting a famous array of classic architecture, museums, canals, bridges, and a vibrant contemporary life -- as well as a few monuments from the years in which it was known as Leningrad -- this city seems to be most appropriate for this year's ATypI theme: The Old • The New.

This topic is especially important in our times of rapid advancement of communication technologies. The speed of change often outpaces the evolution of the human mind, of the means of expression, of the conventions of communication; its promise frequently exceeds the actual demand of the user. Among design professionals, this pressure of technology causes -- not infrequently -- considerable confusion, loss of direction, perspective, and priorities. Addressing the many issues and challenges of 'The New,' as well as its complex relationship with 'The Old,' may provide for a better understanding of the direction in which we, as a community, are moving -- and for the creation of a professional agenda adequate to the challenges of the day.

The first two days, 17 and 18 September, will witness a series of calligraphy and lettering workshops, as well as the TypeTech/TypeTools Forum, an annual seminar focused on digital typeface design and the OpenType font technology, presented by ATypI, Fontlab Ltd. and DTL. In the afternoon of 18 September, the main conference will be opened at the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace. Located right at St Petersburg's famous Nevsky Prospekt, the Palace will be filled with lectures and panel sessions for the following three days, featuring more than 50 international speakers, renowned experts in art history, design and typography -- such as Ken Barber, Roger Black, Frank E. Blokland, Robert Bringhurst, Si Daniels, John Downer, Olga Florenskaya, Irina Fomenko, J. Victor Gaultney, Yuri Gherchuk, Jerry Kelly, Håkon Wium Lie, Paul Luna, George D. Matthiopoulos, Heidrun Osterer, Tagir Safayev, Nick Shinn, Erik Spiekermann, Gerard Unger and Vladimir Yefimov. A series of side events will include design and typography exhibitions, a screening of the Typophile Film Fest and further evening festivities.

For further information about ATypI or the 2008 St Petersburg conference, please visit the ATypI website (http://www.atypi.org) or contact Barbara Jarzyna (e-mail: secretariat @ atypi.org).

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Barbara Jarzyna

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