In Kōrero with… Kātoitoi cofounders, Louise Kellerman and Nicole Arnett Phillips

Growing an archive – by and for the community Louise Kellerman and Nicole Arnett Phillips are the co-founders of Kātoitoi. Having collaborated for a number of years through Design Assembly, […]

1 year ago by

Tune into Australia’s premier Design, Business and Culture event from Aotearoa.

Kia ora friends, stepping out from the collective DA team voice here to talk to share my (Nicole Arnett Phillips) personal experience with The Design Conference “The Design Conference is […]

1 year ago by

Our inaugural Kātoitoi collection is live.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: this is a pilot. We are brand-new at evaluating and archiving work, so we began by looking to other organisations to see […]

1 year ago by

Kātoitoi kaupapa, people and process.

An annual collection of design, Kātoitoi the Aotearoa Design Archive seeks to capture, curate and map design practice and practitioners in Aotearoa. Kātoitoi collects representations of Aotearoa now, as seen […]

1 year ago by

Field Guide 2020: Epub

Kia ora Friends, We are so pleased to be able to share our 2020 Field Guide with you. We originally framed this project (back in April) as “a multidisciplinary exploration […]

2 years ago by

Field Guide 2020: Towards Openness

This Field Guide article is part of a series of commissioned essays, interviews, podcasts and artworks to be published over 16 weeks on designassembly.org.nz and culminate in a downloadable PDF […]

2 years ago by

Field Guide 2020: A Daring & Caring Re-imagining

This Field Guide article is part of a series of commissioned essays, interviews, podcasts and artworks to be published over 16 weeks on designassembly.org.nz and culminate in a downloadable PDF […]

2 years ago by

Field Guide 2020: Our Opportunity

This Field Guide article is part of a series of commissioned essays, interviews, podcasts and artworks to be published over 16 weeks on designassembly.org.nz and culminate in a downloadable PDF […]

2 years ago by

Take 10 with… Nicole Arnett Phillips

The DA team want to support our community through these unprecedented times – something we kept coming back to is a focus on connection and community. So we want to […]

2 years ago by

Practical and emotional advice for Aotearoa Designers

The core tenants of DA are to connect and celebrate our community. We want all Aotearoa Designers to live well and to flourish. Usually, when we write here, the DA […]

2 years ago by

Field Guide — Typographic Anatomy

There is plenty of Jargon (and way too many rules!) in typography which can be overwhelming when just starting out in design. You don’t need to be a specialist to […]

3 years ago by

Field Guide — Finding your path By Kate McGuinness

Kate speaks to three designers at different stages of their career on advice for navigating the beginnings of a design journey. Ryan Romanes Freelance Designer / Art Director 5+ industry […]

3 years ago by

Idealog partnership — Designer dirt: Why we should invest in our creativity the same way farmers invest in our lands

In collaboration with Idealog (to mark their creativity month), Design Assembly writer and editor Nicole Arnett Phillips argues that creativity is a resource that needs to be nurtured and invested […]

3 years ago by

DA Workshop: The Essentials of Typography with Nicole Arnett Phillips, 27 May, Auckland

Join Brisbane-based type designer Nicole Arnett Phillips aka TypographHer, for this full-day, hands-on typography workshop in Auckland:

The Essentials of Typography – Everything about type that you didn’t learn at school!
Saturday 27th May
10am–4.00pm

Yoobee, Level 4 workspace
3 City Road
Auckland CBD

$350 Professional / $250 Design Assembly Friend (Not a DA Friend? Click here for details on how to sign up). 
$150 DA Student Friend (Not a DA Student Friend? Click here for details on how to sign up). 


Refreshments from Atomic Coffee and Serious Popcorn. Thanks Guys!


I attended Auckland University of Technology, and our curriculum was broad. We had an introduction to typography, its historical context, pairing typefaces and the fundamental geometry of the major type classifications — barely scratching the surface of type as a discipline.

At the time (15+ years ago) design schools were moving away from drawing (and making) toward more fast-paced, digital production practices, so I soon realised that I needed to create a personal investigative practice that trained my eye, developed my hand, and nurtured my curiosity for the mechanics of typography. I began interrogating letters (and typefaces) hoping to unlock their dirty little secrets. My method of visual research was tactile and analogue. I would draw, trace, and scale characters, rotate and reverse them, crop them and recreate them.

This craft based learning (after graduation) was where my type education began. Analogue craftsmanship demands you to be resourceful and clever, I value the freedom that comes from working slow, with my hands, and without the safety net of {cmd+Z} to undo. Crafting and interrogating letterforms in this way is the best medium to learn the finer details of typography, lettering and type design.

In this one day workshop I will share some of what I have learned as well as my techniques for interrogating, drawing (and learning) about type. We will explore all the things you didn’t learn about type design and typography at school, using craft to unlock type’s dirty little secrets.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Exploring the origins, anatomy, and vernacular of typography.
  • Understanding recognition, legibility, archetypal forms, and the visual logic of typography.
  • Using varied techniques for creating typography by hand.
  • Gaining insight into the maths (geometry) and magic (common optical illusions/adjustments) used in typography.
  • Participants will also deepen their understanding of typographic tone, what sounds look like, and the relationship between visual and verbal language.

Eventbrite - The Essentials of Typography with Nicole Arnett Phillips

Fresh from the Field — Disobedient Teaching, Welby Ings

Written by Nicole Arnett Phillips When I was at AUT, I was distracted. I enjoyed design, I enjoyed learning… but I was also working 18+ (often 24-30) hours per week, […]

5 years ago by

DA Workshop: The Essentials of Typography with Nicole Arnett Phillips, 28th May 2017, Christchurch

Join Brisbane-based type designer Nicole Arnett Phillips aka TypographHer, for this full-day, hands-on typography workshop in Christchurch: The Essentials of Typography – Everything about type that you didn’t learn at school! Sunday, […]

5 years ago by

DA Workshop: The Essentials of Typography with Nicole Arnett Phillips, 27 May 2017, Auckland

Join Brisbane-based type designer Nicole Arnett Phillips aka TypographHer, for this full-day, hands-on typography workshop in Auckland: The Essentials of Typography – Everything about type that you didn’t learn at school! Saturday […]

6 years ago by

Showcasing the latest TYPOgraphJournal

Slow and Fast design showcased in the latest volume of TYPOgraphJournal. Three years ago Kiwi type enthusiast Nicole Arnett Phillips started TYPOgraphJournal as a way to start a dialogue within […]

6 years ago by