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By Simon Johnston – December 18, 2015
By Simon Johnston
December 18, 2015

It was great last week to be able to use the main space in the type center for the first time to display work from various classes for final presentations and grading purposes. Shown here is work from my Typography 3 class. Mostly third term graphics students (end of their first year), with a few sharp illustration students to spice up the mix. We wallpapered the space with black-and-white posters, and used some of the tables whose tops can swivel to become vertical as secondary display surfaces. The space works well.

For the pedagogically inclined, here are a few details of the three projects I give the students over the 14-week term. At this level of the typography curriculum the focus is primarily on developing formal skills. You can have the best concept in the world but if you don’t have the formal skills to make it happen, the work will fail.


The most visible project in the photos here is a typographic identity for a semi-fictional typography conference (I switch the location so that it cannot be confused with the actual conference, and because I want to see what the students will do with the possibilities of the nice short word Oslo with two O’s.). Here the goal is to use letterforms to create a logo/graphic identity for use on large b/w posters, conference t-shirts and attendee badges. The large posters are very cheap to print on plotters typically used for architects’ plans, and the 6×3 ft. size means we can have discussions about designing for public spaces and human scale. I have them print one positive and one negative of the same composition to increase the drama of the final presentation, and because it is interesting to see what it does to the design.

DSC00913DSC00916Secondly a film series poster which can also double as a brochure when cut down into 6 pieces folded and stapled to become a 12 page publication. You can see the brochure covers on the table in the foreground of the image below. The educational goals here are many: to learn ways of successfully combining type and image (both headline and text); to plan ahead with the structure of the typography to make a poster that can also work well as a brochure, given that one cannot see the brochure on a screen, only by printing, cutting and folding; and to work within the parameters of a two-color print job, allowing us to cover print production methods in the class. Oh, and to watch some great films.


Lastly a text-heavy 8-page plus cover biographical booklet about a famous writer. This project focuses on text setting and detailing, grids and page/spread composition. It is difficult to show these well in this context, but you can see them in the last two shots, with Mackenzie Pringle’s clever but not so easy to decipher Allen Ginsberg cover being the last shot. The cover text reads Allen Ginsberg The Great American Writers Series (at least that is what he told me). (Only kidding Mackenzie).

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