Photos and interview by Adventure Board Member, Lauren DeFilippo.

Kyle Read is a type designer and graphic designer working in Denver. He currently owns the only digital type foundry in the city, called Badson Studio. Kyle studied printmaking and graphic design as an undergrad at Savannah College of Art and Design before obtaining a Certificate of Type Design at [email protected] at The Cooper Union in Manhattan.

Kyle moved to Denver in 2014 to start his foundry and to create retail and custom typography for small and large businesses alike. He currently works on local and national projects and won the Catalyst Award from the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) in 2013 for potential in type design.

We sat down with Kyle to chat about the state of typography in Denver, the scavenger hunt he created for the TEDxMileHigh community and how we can help preserve the history of Denver’s type scene. 


What’s your involvement in the type community in Denver?

Well, my involvement is a burgeoning one. I run a small independent Type Foundry here in town where I design and sell custom fonts through the Badson Shop. I also create specific types for branding projects and local restaurants and small businesses. Denver has a fantastic typographic history, and the things I’m working on in the studio are aimed at enhancing, perpetuating and adding to some of this city’s unique typographic flavor. And I’m not alone in this, either. There is a small but growing community of typographically minded people here in Denver doing some fun and valuable work, and I’m happy to be contributing to it.

What is typography and why should anyone care?

Typography is all around us. Typography is the visual representation of our written language. From street signs to books to food packaging to shop-front signage, it has a big impact on how we navigate the world we live in. Take a moment on your next commute into work or jaunt downtown on an errand and count how many times you see letters. It’s an inescapable part of our culture, and therefore is incredibly important to pay attention to. Typography has the power to sway, affect, and even spin the information we take in. The more control we have over its presence in our daily lives, the more it puts us in a specific place and time in culture. That’s a pretty cool thing.

Why a scavenger hunt?

I’ve always been a fan of scavenger hunts. I thought it would be a great way to get people away from the screens and images online and into the streets where the typographic rubber really hits the road. RiNo, specifically, is rife with ghost signs, hand painted lettering and unique typography just waiting for you to discover it. This TEDx Mile High Adventure was a perfect opportunity to get everyone out into town to reveal it.

What are some ways that you think the general public can take ownership of Denver’s typographic culture? 

It’s true that there are a lot of pressing cultural issues out there more immediate and visceral than typography, but this is one of the reasons I loved giving a talk as part of this adventure. It allowed me to bring attention to the fact that Denver has got something special worth talking about. I believe there are three ways to keep the ball rolling for type in our community and personally: preservation, documentation, and conversation.

Preservation of Denver’s type history is an important step towards establishing Denver’s national identity into the future, something I know this city is trying to really establish in a big way right now. Finding the ghost signs, the hand painted lettering, the stone carvings and documenting them is a great way to bring awareness and define that identity. I’ve been putting pictures up on social media under the hashtag, #typehuntdenver. Feel free to add to it! Lastly: conversation. Sharing and chatting about the way that type affects us is a great way to keep it in the zeitgeist. I believe type has real power, especially as Denver looks to expand geographically, politically, and culturally. Preservation of our type history is a great way to put that expansion on a good path forward.

What does the future of type look like in Denver?

I think the future of type in Denver is bright and incredibly exciting. There are more and more people waking up to the idea of what good typographic design can do for their business, their experiences or just their everyday lives. And with the city growing so quickly and more folks flocking here to start new things, there is even more opportunity to make sure our unique type heritage stands out on the national stage.

Also, there is a lot of really great work being done in this community and ways to get involved. The Depot, a letterpress and type museum and workshop space is currently under development. That’s going to be an amazing place when it opens. And there’s a renewed interest in letterpress and quality type-on-paper evident in all the great print shops on the Front Range that’s definitely here to stay. I’d say get in on this party as it’s blowing up in a big way!


If you’re interested in checking out the RiNo Type Hunt for yourself, feel free to download a copy here! Otherwise, check out Kyle’s work at badsonstudio.com or follow him on Instagram at @badsonstudio.

A special thanks to Pon Pon Bar for hosting our Adventure!