Type design is a centuries-old discipline, but the resources to accelerate its study are often geographically distant, out of print, or simply scattered in tiny bits all over the internet. Sol Matas and Nicole Dotin started Practica to create a rigorous, supportive environment in which to study type design no matter where you are in the world, and regardless of whether your city is type-rich like Sol’s (hello, Berlin) or relatively type-poor like Nicole’s (sorry, Minneapolis). And although it’s impossible to ignore the reality of the pandemic, the choice to be online was deliberate. We want our corner of expertise to be available to more people: global and accessible.
Nicole and Sol met while organizing Alphacrit, an online type critique Nicole launched on the Alphabettes platform. After organizing together for more than a year, the pair started dreaming up Practica as a means of realizing their shared goal of helping others gain access to the world of type design.
Nicole is a typeface designer and partner at the Process Type Foundry, located in her adopted home state of Minnesota, USA. Working at a small independent type foundry for more than 15 years has allowed her to flex her generalist tendencies, handling everything from designing custom typefaces to brokering large licensing deals to diving into font production. Her retail releases include Elena and Pique.
Nicole started her career as a graphic designer working for a community arts organization. Before that, she received her MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in visual studies (a.k.a. graphic design). She later took on the role of educator and taught typography and web design at her alma mater. She has enjoyed watching her students develop their own successful careers. Some of them are even type designers.
While Nicole could have happily continued teaching, she left her position at MCAD to attend the University of Reading, where she received an MA in typeface design with distinction. That smooth sentence belies just how difficult it was for her to achieve that: writing, a central component of the MA, is one of Nicole’s great foes.
Since then, she has become an active part of the type design community. She is a member of Alphabettes, founded and runs Alphacrit, has given workshops at ATypI and TypoLabs, and has judged SOTA’s Typography Award and Catalyst Award, as well as the TDC’s annual type design competition. If you want to know more, try the Process Type website.
Sol Matas lives and breathes type design in her beloved adopted city of Berlin. From her sunny studio, she collaborates with an international type and design community.
Type design found and claimed her during her formative years at Universidad de Buenos Aires. She mingled and shared classes with architects, and those technical ideas infused her design methodology with the functional precision of an engineer. After spending time at Saatchi & Saatchi, she set out on her own, and formed a new studio.
Client projects have led her to research glyphs for Cyrillic, Greek, Oriya, and Devanagari, uncovering the history and meaning of the strokes.
She lectures and teaches type design around the world, and her type projects have been selected for the European Design Awards, the Bienal Tipos Latinos, Sello Buen Diseño 10° Edition, and the International Typography Congress in Valencia.
Building community and organizations is second nature to her. Collaborations and contributions include: typefaces for The Typecraft Initiative in India, women’s network Alphabettes, Typographica, Berlin’s Typostammtisch, and her own Hungry Type Society.
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