Tag Archives: guest

What’s it like to be a guest typography expert on live television?

“Welcome to Sunday Brunch Live, Sarah welcome back to the show…”

I love being the occasional typography expert for Sunday Brunch, Channel 4 Television’s live TV show here in the UK. It’s always an exciting opportunity to share my type-themed games and demonstrations with a mainstream audience, which is something I’ve specialised in since launching Type Tasting.

Knowing that well over half a million people watch each show really gets the adrenaline pumping while I’m sitting in the green room watching the time counting down. It’s a very surreal feeling. But the presenters are absolutely brilliant at making the guests feel relaxed—I think that’s their superpower. When my very first appearance was about to start, presenter Simon Rimmer leaned over and whispered “I love typography” to me with a big smile. This turned my nerves into enthusiasm, and you can tell that we were having fun when you watch.

Presenters Simon and Tim Lovejoy have joined me for font sniffing, to chat about how menus can influence your appreciation of a meal and I’ve analysed their personalities from their font choices. I’ve talked about type trends in popular culture and where they come from. There are always lots of props and visuals. It’s fun preparing the content because the graphics team at the production company get excited about creating the visuals for the segment. After all, it’s all about typography!

It’s fascinating to see behind the scenes of live television and to know just how much goes into creating a show. I was surprised to discover that the studio’s pretty small and not the spacious environment I used to imagine when I watched. The table for my interviews is right on the edge of the kitchen, so I wait very quietly for the cooking to end and hope my stomach doesn’t decide to growl from the smell of the food. Then I have to tiptoe quietly out of the studio as soon as my segment ends. The adrenaline shakes are setting in at that point so I have to be extra careful not to trip over cables and duck under lights carefully so I don’t knock them out of position. It’s interesting to see how different people calm their nerves in the green room beforehand, especially the really famous guests who must have done this so many times.

Thank you to my expert friends who help with the content. Especially beer writer Pete Brown for the beer label history and Pixel Press for loaning their stunning tray of “slab serif case number 7” letterpress wood type.

I look forward to popping up on television again soon, maybe on Sunday Brunch again.

Radio interviews

🔊Word of Mouth BBC Radio 4: Michael Rosen with Sarah Hyndman (28 mins)

🔊Saturday Live BBC Radio 4 with Sarah Hyndman (4 mins)