Typography Summer School
July 5 - 9, 2010
Visited London for the first time this past July, just so I could attend Typography Summer School. It was an intense week of discovery and rediscovery for me. The week-long seminar was part design exercise, part lecture series, with opportunities to collaborate and work independently. I felt beyond lucky to have seen and participated in a series of inspiring lectures and workshops from several guest speakers: Fraser Muggeridge, Sara De Bondt, Europa, Ken Garland, Stefan Kraus, Sarah Newitt, David Pearson, Fiona Banner and Paul Elliman.
I feel compelled to share some tidbits of what I gathered from my experience. So here goes...
Fraser Muggeridge gives a talk on a recently published peice in Eye Magazine, "Typography With Words."
Be aware of the choices you make as they depend on the information you're designing.
Create your own constraints.
Typographic principles become part of a designer's style.
Look at good and bad design.
Typography is different from type design.
Typography = intention, function, appropriateness
Sarah De Bondt Studio visit.
Concepts and Process.
Having a discussion with a client around what their competitors "look" like.
Thinking about the logo as a system, an adaptable thing that has parts that can be applied differently.
It's not just about the logo but everything that happens around it.
Europa visits and talks about some of their work.
Graphic forms are embedded in each project.
Use of "graphic ready mades", deriving from what they've been given, taking inspiration formally. They take graphic elements from a project's content to inform their work.
Reuse, Re-Appropriate, Pay homage to, Re-Contextualize.
Observing and editing.
Stefan Kraus teaches us "Rhythmic Drawing."
Walked in to find Stefan Kraus preparing to teach us how to do "Rhythmic Drawing." We did it, and it was wonderful. Large sheets of paper on the wall, some lead, and a rhythmic gesture from your arm extending to your hand. Besides being really calming and meditative, it created a lovely roar of pencil-to-wall vibrations across the room that was pretty cool to have been a part of. I think this exercise could be good for curing creative blocks.
Ken Garland visits and gives a lecture and workshop.
I loved hearing his thoughts on design and typography. He mirror writes... if you can believe it. He writes backwards perfectly, in cursive. If that's not pure understanding of letterforms, I don't know what is. We did an exercise where we were each given 3 letters to "animate", an exploration in typography that forced us to just look at the forms of each character and find new forms within their combinations.
David Pearson visits and speaks about his work and process.
Research helps validate your decisions.
Minimal designs require perfect balance. The key is restraint.
Don't hide the fact that you're passionate about something.
Implements handmade techniques in his designs, through the use of rubber stamps as a transfer method.
Paul Elliman collects photos of crowds. What a great thing to collect. He shared some of his work, and just as importantly, the ideas they are founded in.
Human communication... Typography is a process language.
"Graphic design works for economic production." DEBATABLE. (To me, graphic design is more.)
Interaction between work and viewer, not just about intention of artist.
"Typography is a linguistic object, a meaningful object."
"The work that you make is part of your own discourse that cannot be replicated."
From each speaker, I learned something new and different, or was reminded of things once learned. As a whole, the biggest thing I took away was the importance of process. I enjoyed hearing how these artists and designers have defined their processes, and how they approach their work. Process can be so mystified sometimes. Everyone has a different way of creating. Having the opportunity to learn about the creative processes of these designers and artists doesn't make the work any less special or less appreciated - if anything it solidifies communication and a higher level of understanding of the work. I hope I can continue to have experiences where I am exposed to different ways of working, therefore developing a more defined design approach for myself in the process.
Special thanks to Fraser Muggeridge for having me on board for Week 1 of this special program. (And to Alex Lis for being SO awesome and making us feel welcome.) For another account of Typography Summer School, check out my classmate, Erik Carter's blog entry.