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[WI] How Culture Affects Typography


On the evening of Oct 20th 2016, Thursday at MICA Fred Lazarus IV Center, Baltimore we attend this event organized by AIGA Baltimore as a part of Baltimore Design Week 2016 where Nikki Villagómez discussed how culture affects typography and relate decision making processes. Nikki used pictures taken throughout her travels to discuss the comparisons (and contrasts) in type choices based on location. This talk explored how design choices are informed by the language of cultural surroundings, and discussed the power of type selection, color usage, and more.

Lively part of the event was, speaker asked for the pictures from around the Baltimore which she would include in her presentation! She’s looking for everything including graffiti, manhole covers, local signage, and wayfinding. It was sort of a challenge spectators to go out and find the everyday typography that makes Baltimore unique. Thinking every image submitted had the potential to be accompanied by cultural and historical commentary.

Nikki’s presentation was divided into three major parts, her past, present and main talk. She walked us through her childhood, school and work life showing how she gradually got involved and inspired by typography. As well she demonstrated the way she switched her career from tennis to art and how she got in touch with the AIGA. She’s already talk the same matter over 20+ cities. She’s prominent travel and have observed many design trends based on the local culture. She’s been curator for London Typography Society from where she was able to appeal whole world to send picture of manhole from across the world and helped her study them.

It was really interesting to notice that even manhole from each place, their graphic and typography were heavily influence by their culture. Say for example manhole from UK seemed very simple, only text and classy. Whereas manhole from Italy have engraving of famous architectural monuments. She presented many picture to make her point, too.

Her final part of talk was the comparison and contrasting of the Baltimore typography with other noticeable cities. Like huge sign of Domino Sugar, typeface of National Bohemian Brewery, Crab’s effect on local culture. Miami showed heavy usage of Graffiti on public places and well many sign boards, whereas plenty of neon sings could be found in Los Vegas.

Her story inspired me and now it makes me wonder about the impact of culture whenever I seem some typeface which I can relate to that place where it comes from.

Speaker’s Contact

Twitter: @AIGABaltimore @nikki_vz // #BaltimoreType Instagram: @nikki_vz // #BaltimoreType Email:

Event Website :
Attendees:Alana HardeeDaniel FurfaroKamilah MolyneauxNathan GoreyAlexandra SchmidtDavid Williamskelly allenderNicole HovermaleAlicia HasenfussDurba SamantaKim MichalovNicole MunchelAlison RequaElissa DubyoskiKrunal OdedraPat MurtaghAllison RandallElizabeth LacquementKrystal CarpintieriPhoebe MinacapelliAmber SimmonsEmilee BeesonLaksman FrankPragya ShrotiAngelique WegerErica LesterLaksman FrankRobert OuelletteAnna LoweErick GilLaura EvansShana KoslowskyCamila VelardeEsha janssensLeah CornblattSumeet DabhiCamila VelardeJami ShinaultMaura DwyerTejas BhaleraoChristine BattaJessica LangleyMeagan HealyTracey HirschCiara BinasJessica PfannerMegan Mancuso

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