Dominique Falla, Typographer

Dominique Falla layers colour and texture with some serious attention to detail. Her work is some of the most vibrant and dynamic we know, and we LOVE what she has to say about creativity - read on!  

What do you do?

I am a Tactile Typographer which means I make pieces of type and lettering from tactile materials for installations, galleries and just recently, lots of book covers.

I also run a global online community called Typism. We are united by our shared love of letterforms and have members from all over the world.

I am also writing a book about ways to build your Creativity Fitness.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

Creativity is a muscle. Exercise it every day.

I firmly believe we are all born creative, but some allow their creativity muscles to atrophy, whereas others exercise them regularly.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

My PhD research into tactile typography changed my life because the work I was doing as part of my research really resonated with people and gave me a whole new career path.

Running the first Typism Conference in 2013. I didn’t realise there was such a need in the design community for type and lettering-specific resources.

Getting a publishing contract. Before then, Creativity Fitness was just in my head. Now I get to share it people in a variety of ways and speaking at conferences has been so amazing. I recently spoke at PauseFest in Melbourne and was blown away with how much the ideas resonated with people.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’m off to the Creative South Conference in April, so pretty excited about that. I will be running a tactile typography workshop and speaking about how to be a multi passionate creative.

I have a third Typism Conference planned for October as well as an online summit.

I am finishing writing the book and 12-week Creativity Fitness course so I’m excited to launch that this year as well.

What is your dream project?

I love working on Tactile Typography projects with my husband. We made a large installation for Google and loved the travel and interaction that brought us. Another one like that would be great, maybe in the offices of Facebook or Apple? Anyone?

I would also love to give a TED Talk about Creativity Fitness one day.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

Yes. I get a little sick of hipster bearded twenty-somethings at design and leadership conferences, but I think the tide is turning. It was 52% female presenters at Pausefest and Typism has always been a natural balance. I don’t even think of it consciously, I just ask people I love to speak and they tend to balance out.

I was surprised to read the other day however, about Tropfest switching to a blind review and successful films screened by women directors at the conference leapt from 6.5% to 50% in one year. Until I read that article I wouldn’t have really said there was an issue, but clearly unconscious bias is still very much an issue.

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

I guess most internet interviews tend to have a range of surface questions. I like podcasts because you can really go deep on a topic.

How can we find our more about your work?

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Carla Hackett, Maria Montes and Eliza Svikulis are all hand-letterers from Melbourne and they’re three pretty rad chicks.

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I can play the drums and I studied several forms of martial arts in my 20s. I’m a bit rusty now, but I could probably still do some damage. It’s all peace and love though, I just like the feeling of being able to walk around a city at night.

If you could choose to hear from any female contemporary at a Make Nice event, who would it be and why?

I have girl crushes on several Tactile Typographers, so Evelyn Kasikov, Marian Bantjes, Becca Clason and Maricor/Maricar

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

You are only responsible for your own happiness.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

I teach at university and so I am surrounded by waves of amazing young women who graduate every year and go out into the world. If I ever need a sounding board, my ex-students are brilliant. I also have a friend Kymba Burrows who is so amazing when I need clarity and perspective. She is so good at guiding me through the fog.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

Probably reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It changed everything for me. I cried several times in the V&A Museum in London. The work of Evelin Kasikov was a paradigm shift for me which took my work in a new direction. The Tea Party live in Melbourne ripped my heart into my throat during their song Transmission. So many, but they are a few which stand out.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

I listen to podcasts when I drive in my car. Storybrand is on high rotation, but I like Bulletproof Dave Asprey and Jonathan Field’s Goodlife Project as well. I loved Sense8 on Netflix, but mainly I’m watching how-to videos at the moment because I’m trying to build a new website with a whole lot of bells and whistles and I’m out of my depth a little.