TDC Announces "Multilingue: Writing and Typography for Native Languages from America Latina" Conference

TDC Announces "Multilingue: Writing and Typography for Native Languages from America Latina" Conference

Sep. 07, 2023

The Type Directors Club, the leading organization for the global type community and part of The One Club for Creativity, will this fall host “Multilingüe: Writing and Typography for Native Languages from America Latina”, the latest in its ongoing Type Drives Culture conference series.

Taking place virtually November 9-11, 2023, “Multilingüe'' will focus on the conservation, conversation, design, and use of native languages in the contemporary context.  Following the successful approach of last year’s Ezhishin, the first-ever conference dedicated to Native North American typography, “Multilingüe'' will promote dialogue this time between North, Central and South American Native speakers, researchers, designers, and typographers.  

The conference – “Multilingüe: Escritura y tipografía para lenguas originarias de América Latina” in Spanish; “Multilingüe: Escrita E Tipografia para línguas nativas da América Latina” in Portuguese – will be of interest to graphic designers, publishers, type designers and linguists, as a way to understand the scope and multidisciplinary necessary in the development of fonts and typefaces for native languages.

Participants and attendees will be able to speak and listen in three languages, as the conference will be conducted in Spanish and Portuguese, with simultaneous translation into English.  

The Spanish word multilingüe refers to someone who speaks or communicates in different languages. "Multilingüe" will be a space for listening carefully to the voices of those in the trenches: people who publish books, write, research, and design typefaces for the native languages of North, Central and South America.  The conference will serve as a global platform to explore how communities work in modernity, and what tools and resources they use to conserve, promote, and revitalize native languages in order to help preserve the rich linguistic diversity of the American continent.

“Multilingüe” is co-organized by Sandra García, graphic designer, teacher, and typographer from Colombia and partner at Tipastype in Ciudad de México, and Manuel López Rocha, a typographer, teacher and researcher based in Veracruz who has worked on the design and development of various typography design projects for indigenous languages in Mexico.  

The conference will include presentations, conversations and workshops with leading native researchers and linguists, as well as non-native designers working in partnership with native communities.  A multidisciplinary agenda encompasses Typography Design and Collaboration; Education and Publishing; and Alphabets: Spelling, and Writing Standardization. 

Confirmed speakers who will discuss the achievements and challenges related to design and work with native languages include Yásnaya Elena Aguilar (Mexico); Carolina Giovagnoli (Argentina/Germany); Rafael Dietzsch (Brazil); Pablo Cosgaya (Argentina); Henrique Nardi (Brazil/US), Hilaria Cruz (Mexico/US); Diego Mier y Terán (Mexico); Marcela Romero (Argentina), Marina Garone Gravier (México/Argentina) and many others.  A complete list of confirmed speakers can be viewed here.

Co-organizer García said:

"For us, this is the first conference experience that seeks to establish a space for communication between the different actors involved in the process of designing and developing typography for native languages, understood as a language tool and not just as an aesthetic or ornamental element."


When designing a typeface, she explained, there is the idea that designers face the work alone, resolving the form and function to their liking.  But in reality when developing fonts for languages other than their own, it is necessary to generate multidisciplinary connections with users, linguists, editors, and communities that want and need a font as a tool to develop other materials. 

“Multilingüe” was developed not a congress only for typographers, designers, and people dedicated to this fascinating world of font design and its use, but rather an open invitation to all designers, users, researchers, promoters, activists, teachers, professionals in the study of languages and communities of speakers, to understand the different perspectives of the design exercise of and with typography and type design, and build bridges to understand the needs of each field and develop better tools for writing native languages. 

Co-organizer Lopez Rocha added:

"It is work that connects and generates human networks that expand coverage, understanding, and voice among those who work for its conservation, dissemination, and maintenance."


“Multilingüe” branding was created by Vanesa Zuniga Tinizaray, a designer from Ecuador specialized in experimental type, pattern fonts, and typography-in-motion who will also speak at the conference.  Recognized as one of the most proactive and effervescent designers and researchers on the Latin American scene, her work focuses on the creation and development of pieces that rescue and exalt the graphic legacy of the native communities of Latin America.

For “Multilingüe”, she utilizes the concept of the serpent, a common visual symbol used by the various indigenous cultures, and recurrent in architecture, textiles, archaeological pieces, and even the snakebite ritual in certain Amazonian cultures.  

For more information and to register for “Multilingüe”, please visit the conference website.

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