Archive for the 'design education' Category

course featured in ‘Time Out NY’

August 27, 2010

This fall I am teaching ‘Designer as Citizen’, a course which explores our role as responsible designers. The course was featured in an article as one  of ‘five courses for a new era‘. Thanks Time Out NY! Read PDF of the Article for the full story.

Letters in to Type workshop

July 17, 2010

I just finished a week-long workshop with Sarah Soskolne from Hoefler & Frere-Jones about typeface design. it was AMAZING! Offered by SVA continuing education. I’ve highlighted important nuggets of info and included links to references that were mentioned.

Day 1
On the first day Sarah did a presentation on the history of type up to Futura. She referenced James Mosley and many more. After lunch we experimented with a selection of writing tools (markers, calligraphy pens, different sized nubs, something that looked like a hollow shoot of bamboo).

Day 2
The second day Sarah gave us a demo on using type tool. I had never used the program before and found the interface confusing (by the end of the week I felt comfortable with it). Sarah helped me choose a type specimen to work from- my original idea of creating a gothic alphabet from found wood type had been done before. She guided me in the direction of a face with a set of lowercase, since these are harder to create. In one of her type books I found a friendly roundish specimen called Canterbury that I decided to revive and customize.

Chester Jenkins came later in the day to talk about the work he’s doing at village, a boutique foundry in Brooklyn. I fell in love with Arbor, which he originally created for the NY Times magazine. Check out the counters in the lowercase e, o, a. I’m usually not a fan of the western-looking fonts, but this one has a retro 60’s feel to it. In the yellow shirt Tom is pictured, working away. I sat next to him and he helped me with a ton of little annoying questions i had throughout the week (thanks Tom!).

Day 3
We’re really getting into it. Here is a brief list of steps for making the font:

1. Scan in source material at a high resolution.
2. Bring image into Photoshop or Illustrator and begin tracing your letterforms with the pen tool. Start with the control characters, lowercase n,o,p or uppercase HOMD.
3. Bring your traced letter into Typetool. Paste it in the glyph box that corresponds with the letter.
4. Refine your letter, using the pen tool and bezier curves. and more bezier curves. they are your best friend. You can also copy and paste your original specimen from Photoshop into the background of your glyph window and use this as a guide.
5. Once you have control characters that you are pleased with, use them to create your other letterforms. the p can be the starting point for your b, q. From the o you can make your c. from your n you can make your m. Etc….
6. With your glyphs partially done, generate the font file, install, and test your font in various sizes with InDesign.
7. PRINT your font in all sizes. It looks much different on screen. use adhesion text to generate the letterforms you complete as you go along.
Tip: Remember to think of a typeface as a system. Focus on the whole rhythm and pattern, not just a single letterform.

Day 4
Work, work, work. Pictured is the proper way to set up your windows/toolbars. The more letters I did the better I got at the program and started to feel comfortable. I took the serifs off of my original type specimen and shortened the ascenders and descenders. I even began to tackle the uppercase.

Day 5
Last day of the workshop. Worked busily throughout the morning and Tobias Frere-Jones came by later to critique our fonts. You can see a glimpse of what some of them looked like. Pictured, Tobias talking to Juan about his font. I can’t wait to finish my typeface (more uppercase to go). It becomes addicting once you get a taste for it.

type stories

March 17, 2010

I found one! An example of Peter Bilak’s History typeface in use (Intermix, Park Ave and 79th). Why was this even on my mind?

A couple of weeks  ago the students from my whats your type class at the school of visual arts were assigned a typeface to research. These included: History, Archer, Gotham, Mr. & Mrs. Eaves, and Nuetraface (which has it’s own music video that I can’t stop watching).

It seems that although History is smart and beautiful (check out Sarah’s hand-letter type specimen of the font), it is hard to use and few examples of it in action can be found. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more appearances!

Hard to find applications of Miriam Banjes’ Restraint as well, but it’s fun to play with, each letter fits together like pieces of a puzzle (as shown in Yuna and Sandra’s presentation).

All of the student presentations were excellent. I know with type the oldies are goodies (Caslon, Garamond, Futura, Helvetica…), but sometimes it’s nice to play with the new guys too.


February 1, 2010

I’m thoroughly enjoying teaching ‘What’s Your Type?’ an experimental typography course I developed. Students are constantly asked to think about type in context; as it relates to its environment, how does its meaning change? Last semester we played around with the idea of edible typography in motion. Steve Smith was the mastermind behind the project, check out the process video. All in the spirit of fun and open source!

What can you do for graphic design?

January 14, 2010

I just received scholarship applications in the mail for 89 students (yikes!). Three months ago SVA contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in being a part of the review committee for their MFA scholarship. YES. I always say yes. Not only because I was a recipient of this very same scholarship when I was in the MFA program, but also because I always say yes. I hate it when people say ‘I don’t have time’. We all have the same amount of time.

I was reminded of this ‘helping others’ philosophy a few weeks ago when I was debating whether or not I should join AIGA. My intention was to immediately be a part of the NY board and add that to my CV. I emailed my friend Randy (who is very active in AIGA), and asked him his opinion. ‘What will I get for my $450?’ Randy’s answer was ‘It’s not what AIGA can do for you, rather what can you do for AIGA’. Snap!

I believe that we should all help one another (not just within the design community, but in general – but that’s a different post). First, I feel good when I can help someone. It also helps  me get out of myself. And I believe what comes around  goes around. When I needed advice on a career choice, Steven Heller (the chair of the MFA program) graciously lent his time to help me make my decision (and he’s helped me tons of other times too). It meant SO much to me. If I can possibly give someone else that feeling, that’s what it’s all about. When I first started out in Graphic Design I asked so many people for help and most of them said yes. So, say YES.

Obsessing Over Obsessing About Teaching Graphic Design

November 12, 2009

teaching GD

Teaching graphic design is something I love. I get to share my knowledge with other designers, get inspiration from them, be present (at least for the length of class), and feel like I’m making a difference (hopefully) in someone’s life.

As I suddenly find myself teaching five classes at two institutions (School of Visual Arts and Pratt), and freelancing, I am starting to obsess. Even more than before. My brain activity is filled with ideas for projects for classes. How to better assignments, set up flickr groups, create class blogs, find articles and books to read and recommend. This happens in the shower, during yoga, on the way to and from class, before I go to bed at night. On and on and on. Read the rest of this entry »

Compare & Despair

October 26, 2009
much love

The School of Visual Arts (where i teach), wants me to update my faculty profile for the launch of their new website. ugh. This means taking a look at my list of ‘clients, awards, publications, books’ all that professional stuff that ‘validate’ the ability of a designer. Looking at some of the faculty bios already posted i felt completely insecure. I thought about all of the professional accomplishments i’ve made in the past couple of years (that i’d forgotten about). For me, they are good (it took a full day of compare and despair for me to come to this conclusion). Design (and life) is not a competition. My goal is to just get better and never ever stop learning and growing. Pictured: My faculty profile picture for the new site. Thanks Emily for your cross stitch magic.