Type Drives Culture Conference
from the Type Directors Club—
Native North American Edition

Led by established and emerging Native designers, Ezhishin aims to facilitate conversations around the typographic needs of First Nations/Native American communities. Hosted virtually by the Type Directors Club on November 11–13, Ezhishin is part of TDC’s Type Drives Culture series, created to showcase typography, lettering, and type design from communities all over the globe.

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1:10 PM
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4:20 PM
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1:10 PM —
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4:40 PM
4:40 PM —
5:00 PM
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5:30 PM
Time Zone: (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) [Change Time Zone]

Sunday, Nov 13 — Workshops

Workshops by Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer, Leo Vicenti, and others to be announced soon!

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Presenters and Panelists

Joi T. Arcand


Joi T. Arcand
Muskeg Lake Cree
Insta: jtarcand Web: joitarcand.com
Joi T. Arcand is an artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005. In 2018, Arcand was shortlisted for the prestigious Sobey Art Award. Her practice includes photography, digital collage, and graphic design and is characterized by a visionary and subversive reclamation and indigenization of public spaces through the use of Cree language and syllabics.

Sébastien Aubin


Sébastien Aubin
Opaskwayak Cree
Insta: sebaubin Web: saubin.ca
With a Bachelors of Fine Arts (major in Graphic Design) from the University of Québec, Sébastien Aubin has worked for Kolegram, one of the most prestigious graphic design studios in Québec, and has since shaped his professional career as a freelance graphic artist. Aubin has done publications for numerous artists, organizations and art galleries in Winnipeg, Montréal and Ottawa, including Plug In ICA Close Encounters, the next 500 years, Terrance Houle, KC Adams, Carleton University Art Gallery, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, and Art Gallery of South Western Manitoba. Aubin is one of the founding members of the ITWÉ collective that is dedicated to research, creation, production and education of Aboriginal digital culture. Currently based in Montréal, QC, Sébastien Aubin is a proud member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba.

Kaylene Big Knife


Kaylene Big Knife
Chippewa Cree
Insta: kaybigknife Web: kaybigknifedesign.com
Kaylene J. Big Knife is from the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation located in northcentral Montana. She is a graphic designer and a digital illustrator with a love for comic art and storybooks. Big Knife’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies from the University of Montana – Missoula and a master’s degree in Native American Languages and Linguistics from the University of Arizona. Big Knife has since returned home and is currently self-employed and growing her art business, Kay Big Knife Design. Her life passions and creative interests include: Indigenous language revitalization, pop culture, humor, comics, museums, floral motifs, video games, fiction writing, glitter and iridescent art mediums, and cats.

Roy Boney Jr.


Roy Boney Jr.
Cherokee
Insta: royboney Web: royboneyart.com
Roy Boney is an award-winning writer & artist focusing on the intersection of Cherokee language and culture with art & technology. He has contributed art & articles to Marvel, Oklahoma Today, Indian Country Today, Native Peoples, and First American Art Magazine about Indigenous art & history. He is Manager of the Cherokee Nation Language Program. He is Liaison Representative for Cherokee Nation to the Unicode Consortium &President of the Five Civilized Tribes Intertribal Council Language Committee. He has a BFA in Graphic Design from Oklahoma State University & an MA in Studio Art from the University of Arkansas.

Kevin Coochwytewa


Kevin Coochwytewa
Isleta Pueblo, Hopi
Insta: lightning.kev Web: lightningkev.com
Kevin is an award-winning freelance designer based in Seattle. His career includes over 15 years in full-time senior creative roles for companies in the arts, publishing, nonprofit, and advertising industries including Native Peoples Magazine, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and Eighth Generation. He holds a BFA in studio art from the University of Arizona. Kevin acknowledges his Indigenous Isleta Pueblo and Hopi heritage with igniting the spark of a lifelong appreciation for art and design. Being born into traditional cultures with strong and important connections to the land and community has shaped his thought processes, enriched client relationships, and influenced the methods, execution, and aesthetic of his designs.

Violet Duncan


Violet Duncan
Kehewin Cree Nation
Insta: violetduncan Web: violetduncan.com
Violet Duncan is Plains Cree and Taino from Kehewin Cree Nation. Touring nationally and internationally since 1991, she has performed for audiences across the United States, Canada, and Europe through work as a Native American dancer, hoop dancer, choreographer, storyteller, and author. Violet is a former "Miss Indian World", representing all Indigenous people of North America. After becoming a mother of 4 and seeing the need for Native representation in literature, she took it upon herself to author three award-winning children's books: I am Native, When We Dance, and Lets Hoop Dance! She has recently joined the family of Penguin Random House with two new children’s books and a middle school novel coming out 2023/24. Violet is the Creative Director of Young Warriors, where she aims to create space for programming of Indigenous performance and practice.

Sebastian Ebarb


Sebastian Ebarb
Choctaw-Apache
Insta: sebastianebarb
Sebastian Ellington Flying Eagle Ebarb is a designer based in Boston. A member of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb, he has spent his years working to revive, hold and revere all of his heritage. He is the co-owner of the design studio Nahi (meaning “we” in Apache)" and an Associate Teaching Professor in Design at Northeastern University.

Jeff Edwards


Jeff Edwards
Cherokee
Jeff Edwards, of Vian, Oaklahoma, is an award-winning Cherokee graphic artist who has worked for the Cherokee Nation for over 22 years. His career at the Nation has always been working with the Cherokee Syllabary & language and he is a language activist and has worked on numerous projects that have projected the Cherokee language into the global spotlight. His artwork is almost exclusively Cherokee themed and he prefers using the Cherokee Syllabary opposed to English to promote the Cherokee language and likes using old cultural concepts but expressing them with modern electronic tools.

Menaja Ganesh


Menaja Ganesh
Insta: menaja.art Web: letterformarchive.org
Menaja Ganesh is a Tamil artist from bengal, currently based in San Francisco. their work lies at the intersections between language and presentation, queerness and femininity, familiarity and loss. Their creative process is rooted in ceremony, fully engaging the body and space2 through the practices of printmaking, spacial installation, and performance. they are deeply nourished by Maa Kali, Maa Parvati, and Maa Durga, by homecooked dinners and offerings, by the scent of jasmine (no matter how faint), by their mother’s silver jewelry and their grandmothers' sarees. they believe that they cannot be separated from the history of the lands that raised them, and are honoured to carry forth that legacy through their work, collaborations, and learnings.

Dr. Jessica Moore Harjo


Dr. Jessica Moore Harjo
Otoe-Missouria, Osage, Pawnee
Insta: weomepe Web: weomepedesigns.com
Jessica Moore Harjo, Ph.D., Weomepe, is an artist, designer, and educator based in Oklahoma. Jessica’s approach to art and design is unique, post-traditional, and grounded in cultural symbolism. Her research interests are in design and typography as well as intersections of cultural and visual representation affecting social awareness and identity.

Whess Harman


Whess Harman
Carrier Wit’at
Insta: ndn_bebop Web: whessharman.com
Whess Harman is an artist and curator based in what is colonially known as Vancouver, British Columbia. They are perhaps most known for their beading and zine work, including their Potlach Punk series and their Together Apart Zine series.

John Hudson


John Hudson
Insta: tirotypeworks Web: tiro.com
John Hudson is co-founder of Tiro Typeworks, a digital font foundry specialising in custom types for multilingual publishing and computing. In a 25 year career, he has designed or collaborated on numerous typefaces for the Arabic, Bengali, Cyrillic, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Greek, Gurmukhi, Hebrew, Javanese, Kannada, Odia, Sinhala, Telugu, and Thai scripts. He is a contributor to the Unicode Standard, the W3C Webfonts Working Group, and the OpenType variations and layout working groups, and former vice-president of the Association Typographique Internationale.

Mark Jamra


Mark Jamra
Insta: jamra_patel Web: jamra-patel.com
Mark Jamra is a type designer and former professor of graphic design, who has designed and produced typefaces for four decades. He is the founder of TypeCulture, an online type foundry and academic resource, and is a founding partner of JamraPatel, a studio creating innovative type systems with multiple scripts for use in under-supported language communities. Mark has taught letterform and type design at colleges and in workshops in the U.S. and Germany. His typefaces have received recognition from the TDC and the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI).

Kevin King


Kevin King
Insta: calligraphio Web: typotheque.com
Kevin King is a typeface designer, typographer, calligrapher, and type researcher based in Canada. After working at Toronto’s Coach House Press and Canada Type, he completed his Master’s degree in Typeface Design with distinction at the University of Reading in 2018. His work focuses on font support and research for minority languages, working directly with Indigenous communities in North America to support their language revitalization and preservation efforts. Through his work collaborating with Typotheque, he has contributed to reforming the text standardisation for the Unified Canadian Syllabics in the Unicode Standard through character additions and representative glyph revisions. In conjunction with his type design work, he maintains a calligraphy practice, teaching workshops and lecturing on both subjects in Canada and Europe.

Noah Lee (Starfeet Studio)


Noah Lee (Starfeet Studio)
Navajo
Insta: starfeetstudio Web: starfeetstudio.com
I was born and raised in Window Rock, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. Heightened by a culture of meaning devoid of decoration and unnecessary components. Applying the subtleties of visual storytelling to typography has been a driving factor in my creativity. I believe the ordering and presentation of information is a key component to bettering our lives from the perspective of both the user and distributor. I am a spatial thinker, and can abstract conceptual components into strong graphical elements. It is my mission to bridge my ancestral art and understanding with modern design applications.

Monique Ortman


Monique Ortman
Cherokee Nation
Insta: @unique.monique.87
Osiyo! Monique is a Cherokee Nation citizen from Harrah, Oklahoma. She is a mother, Graphic Designer, Educator, and an M.F.A candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She teaches Graphic Design at the University of Central Oklahoma’s School of Design as an Artist-in-Residence. Her thesis work revolves around her love for Cherokee: rivercane baskets, visual language, culture, language, and typography. This work led Monique into the world of type design, culminating in a Cherokee syllabary typeface called Kamama, inspired by and designed for use in Cherokee basket and mat weaving, as well as digitally.

Victor Pascual


Victor Pascual
Navajo, Maya
Insta: digitalnavajo Web: digitalnavajo.com
Ya’at’eeh. Victor Pascual (Navajo + Maya) is a designer from the northern Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico. Victor earned his undergraduate degree in visual communication from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and later earned his Masters of Architecture degree from the University of New Mexico. For more than 20 years, Victor has worked as a graphic designer at various firms and companies until launching his own studio in 2008, Digital Navajo. Since then, Victor has developed a large portfolio of work while working with Indian-owned businesses, Indian-led foundations and non-profits and tribal governments. Today, Victor continues to take on branding and identity projects, although on a smaller and more refined scale and mostly focusing on work he is passionate about doing.

Neil Patel


Neil Patel
Insta: jamra_patel Web: jamra-patel.com
Neil Patel is a type designer and former semiconductor process engineer based in Portland, Maine. He is the founder of Tetradtype, an independent type foundry, and a founding partner of JamraPatel, a studio which focuses on typefaces, keyboards and apps for indigenous scripts. Neil’s collaborative logotype designs with local studios have been featured in How Magazine and Comm Arts. He has also been known to dabble with programming, which he ties back into his design practice.

Sadie Red Wing


Sadie Red Wing
Spirit Lake Dakota Nation
Insta: sadieredwing Web: sadieredwing.com
Sadie Red Wing (sadieredwing.com) is a Lakota graphic designer and advocate from the Spirit Lake Nation of Fort Totten, North Dakota. Red Wing earned her BFA in New Media Arts and Interactive Design at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She received her Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University. Her research on cultural revitalization through design tools and strategies created a new demand for tribal competence in graphic design research. Red Wing urges Native American graphic designers to express visual sovereignty in their design work, as well as, encourages academia to include an indigenous perspective in design curriculum. Currently, Red Wing serves as an Assistant Professor at OCAD University (Toronto, ONT).

Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer


Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
Insta: glyphsapp Web: glyphsapp.com
Rainer Erich (‘Eric’) Scheichelbauer was born in Vienna, and studied photography, philosophy and Dutch. Today, he creates and produces typefaces, gives type design workshops, translates Dutch books on typography into German, and writes articles and Python scripts. He joined the Glyphs team in 2012, and has been writing tutorials and the handbook ever since.

Brian Skeet


Brian Skeet
Diné Bikéyah
Insta: brianskeetdesign
Brian Skeet is an Indigenous (Diné - Navajo) designer born in Tuba City, Arizona and raised on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Skeet is a multidisciplinary designer that strives to cultivate Indigenous initiatives through Design, Research, Technology, and innovation. Strategically, Skeet's work focuses on energizing future Indigenous creatives to illuminate systemic issues and cultivate culturally centered solutions with Indigenous communities. Skeet holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, Design Management, and Graphic Design.

Chris Skillern


Chris Skillern
Cherokee Nation
Insta: tulseytype
Chris Skillern is a type designer and citizen of the Cherokee Nation from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Chris traces his love of drawing letters back to his childhood spent cartooning and, later, to his involvement in Tulsa's punk rock and underground music scene, making flyers and posters for his band and others. As a member of the 2021 graduating class from Type West, the Letterform Archive's postgraduate certificate program in type design, his final project was a type family consisting of three styles meant for children’s books that supports both the Latin alphabet and the Cherokee syllabary. Chris has a special interest in working with the syllabary and plans to pursue it further with the launch of his foundry, Tulsey Type.

Christopher Sleboda


Christopher Sleboda
Insta: christophersleboda Web: csleboda.com
Christopher Sleboda is a graphic designer, curator, and educator. He is an Associate Professor of Art, Graphic Design at Boston University and teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. From 2005 to 2020, he served as director of graphic design at the Yale University Art Gallery, overseeing the graphic design and way finding for the museum. He recently curated the Multiple Formats Contemporary Art Book Symposium, and is the co-founder of Draw Down Books and the illustration studio Gluekit. His work is featured in more than a dozen books about graphic design and illustration, and he is the author of three monographs.

Kathleen Sleboda


Kathleen Sleboda
Nlaka’pamux
Insta: newlyformed_official
Kathleen Sleboda is an art director, graphic designer, educator, and illustrator. Her work crosses disciplines, weaving together the acts of making, curating, collaborating, and documenting. She is co-founder and design director of Draw Down Books and principal of the illustration studio Gluekit. For the past 15 years, she has designed books and printed materials for cultural institutions while lecturing and writing about graphic design, independent publishing, Indigenous knowledge systems, and the preservation of cultural heritage. She currently teaches graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design. Originally from San Francisco, she graduated from Yale University and the University of British Columbia. Kathleen is Nlaka’pamux and a member of the Coldwater Indian Band of Merritt, British Columbia.

Bobby Joe Smith III


Bobby Joe Smith III
Lakota
Instagram: bobbyjoesmithiii Web: bobbyjoesmith.com
Bobby Joe Smith III is a Black and Lakota (Hunkpapa and Oohenumpa) graphic designer and media artist. Design, computation, performance, writing, and lens-based image-making are mediums of expression and inquiry he turns to often. His creative practice is rooted in the ongoing decolonial and abolitionist movements led by Indigenous communities on Turtle Island and across the Black diaspora. His research draws from the decolonial, abolitionist, and post-apocalyptic strategies of Black and Indigenous people to construct a poetic vernacular of "unsettling grammars"—gestures, methodologies, and utterances that deviate, disrupt, and dismantle settler-colonial systems. By rearticulating these "unsettling grammars" through the disciplines of media art and design, Bobby Joe seeks to reveal vectors leading toward decolonial futures and generate work that resonates with the people and movements he is from. He holds an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Graphic Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Middlebury College.

Neebinnaukzhik Southall


Neebinnaukzhik Southall
Chippewas of Rama First Nation
Web: neebin.com
Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Chippewas of Rama First Nation), is a graphic designer, artist, photographer, and writer who specializes in working within Indigenous communities.

Leo Vicenti


Leo Vicenti
Jicarilla Apache
Insta: lowerearthorigin Web: lvicenti.com
Leo Vicenti is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation. He identifies creatively as a human, an artist, educator and visual communication designer, which informs his making.

About the Conference

The Type Directors Club presents Ezhishin, a formative conference focused on Native North American typography, co-curated by Ksenya Samarskaya and Neebinnaukzhik Southall, as part of the Type Drives Culture conference series. Our goal is to facilitate conversation around the typographic needs of First Nations/Native American communities, while simultaneously showcasing lettering projects and typographic styles by Native designers.

Ksenya Samarskaya, current Managing Director of the Type Directors Club, is a researcher and connector, focusing on all things typographic, pedagogical, and with regenerative futures on her mind.

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Neebin Southall
Chippewas of Rama First Nation
Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Chippewas of Rama First Nation), is a graphic designer, artist, photographer, and writer who specializes in working within Indigenous communities.

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Chris Skillren
Cherokee Nation
Chris Skillern is a designer, print shop owner, type nerd, and musician.
Greg has worked as a graphic designer at branding studios, start-ups and non-profits before working in the field of typeface design. He is currently a type designer at Commercial Type.

“Ezhishin is based on a respectful relationship between myself and Ksenya Samarskaya. As part of her first actions as the newly named Managing Director of the Type Directors Club, Ksenya reached out to me to co-curate a conference focused on Native North American typography. Previously, she had profiled me for a Typographica article, which was itself collaborative in nature. In my mind, this conference is an example of what a positive partnership to uplift diverse communities looks like. The work of Native designers has frequently been left out of conversations in the mainstream and has not adequately been addressed in design history — 
we can take steps to change that. Ezhishin is significant as one of the first conferences hosted by a major design organization that highlights Native North American typography. The conference includes prominent Native designers as well as non-Native designers working respectfully with Native communities. The word ezhishin, s/he leaves a mark, comes from my Ojibwe language, and serves as a poetic title for a conference that is not only about the mark-making of typographers, but also the legacy we leave as designers.” — Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Chippewas of Rama First Nation)

The logo was developed by Chris Skillern (Cherokee Nation), and is inspired by Cherokee beadwork. With a mind towards Cherokee revitalization and self-determination, Skillern echoed the organic, curvilinear shapes found in Cherokee beadwork to create this custom font lettering in three weights which can also be layered, and provided elements of the lettering to form motifs such as borders. It was animated with the help of Eric Jacobsen.

The Ezhishin branding is collaboratively designed by Ksenya Samarskaya and Neebin Southall, inspired by the bright colors of beadwork, powwow regalia, and ribbon skirts.

The body type you’re reading is Robinson, designed by Greg Gazdowicz and generously donated to TDC by Commercial Type Foundry.