Typographic time machine at the London Design Festival

Part of the London Design Festival, the Typographic Time Machine workshop was created and ran by graphic designer and Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman. Volunteer, Emily Melling, shares what it’s like to build an environment to encourage adults to let go, be fearless and create.

I was invited to help run and supervise the Typographic Time Machine workshop alongside a team of other volunteers. The aim of the workshop was to encourage adults to let go and be creative.

On entering the workshop, people got to choose from a variety of letter templates and customize their letter to look as if it came from anytime in the, past, present or future. Once people had created the letter we put it up to become part of a mural which would grow over the two days the workshop was held. 

Sarah Hyndman’s workshop was all about having ideas, letting go and not being afraid to be creative. As a new graduate, a brilliant part of the experience was being immersed in an environment where anything could be produced.

Anyone who thinks they ‘don't have a creative bone in their body’ just needs to be brave enough to try it out.

As I arrived at the V&A on the first day of the workshop with no idea what to expect, the nerves really kicked in. I love meeting new people and talking about art and design but had never helped to run a workshop at such a prestigious venue or event. However, Sarah’s enthusiasm for the weekend transformed any nerves I had into pure excitement.

As we started to get set up and unpack materials supplied by Monotype, I found myself thinking a lot about how I could create my own piece for this collaborative effort and wondering what materials others might use. So as soon as people started flooding in, I started observing how different people approached the brief. The originality and fearless creativity gave me a better insight into how others think and use materials they are given, whilst trying to remember that I was also there to help tidy up!

People created art that was truly their own, with very few restrictions or rules and were proud to place these on the wall to join with all the other letters which had been created. Some people had a specific moment in history in mind, some a time period and some just the sense of a time. 

Throughout Saturday my confidence in trying to entice people into the workshop grew and I was able to chat to designers, parents, type enthusiasts, students- a massive range of people who all had one thing in common, they became absorbed by the workshop. 

There were points in which I walked into the room and people were so concentrated on their letter forms silence had fallen. To my surprise, usually the people who needed the most persuasion were the ones who got the most into the process and were genuinely proud of what they achieved.

The weekend became even better when we were invited to move into the entrance hall of the learning centre in the V&A and take on a second room. I really enjoyed trying to create a space in which people were at ease. We got some music on in the background, laid plenty of materials everywhere and made sure that every person who came to join in the experience had fun.

As we stared to wind the workshop down and looked at the collection of letters I felt extremely inspired to go home and create. All of these people had started with a brief and a blank canvas and had all created something that was completely their own.

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to kick off my working life and I’ve learnt that anyone who thinks they ‘don't have a creative bone in their body’ just needs to be brave enough to try it out.