The Leah Hoffmitz Milken Educator Fellowship program was launched by HMCT in 2019, with an international call for applications to typography educators teaching at the university level. The aim of the program was to place chosen educators in ArtCenter typography classes for one week, allowing them to experience typographic design education in the Graphic Design Department. Out of many applications received, the first chosen participant, David Wolske, visited ArtCenter in February of 2020. Below are his impressions and responses to questions about his fellowship.
HMCT: Can you describe your present teaching position and classes?
DW: I am an Assistant Professor in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas (UNT), in Denton, TX. I teach a range of classes including Foundations for Communication Design, Typography 1, Motion Typography + Design, Publication Design, Senior Portfolio Development, and Book Arts in both the Department of Design and the Department of Studio Art.
HMCT: Why did you want to be an LHM Educator Fellow?
DW: I consider myself a student of typography and design as well as an educator. Being named a 2020 HMCT LHM Educator Fellow provided the inestimable experience of observing and learning from some of the finest typographic designers and educators alive.
HMCT: What Typography/Design classes did you audit at ArtCenter?
DW: The ArtCenter typography classes I audited were Type 2: Structure, with Tyrone Drake; Type 3: Context, with Simon Johnston; Type 5: Transmedia, with Brad Bartlett; and all three sections of Archetype Press, taught by Christina Aumann; Seth Drenner; and Gloria Kondrup.
HMCT: What were your observations and experiences?
All of the instructors and students made me feel welcome and were so generous with their time and knowledge. I knew I was in a good place when I read the Archetype Press mantra, “Type First….The preservation of the foundry is our priority, after the safety of the students.”
Additional highlights of my visit included participating in the HMCT Archetype Press workshop with Alan Kitching and Kelvyn Smyth, of The New Typography Workshop; sitting in on a lecture by Oscar-winning film director and graphic designer, Arnold Schwartzman; and attending the opening reception of 90/300: A Measure of Representation, In Celebration of Cultural Influence.
HMCT: Did you find value in what you observed that you can use in your teaching practice?
DW: My observations and interactions were tremendously valuable and have already made a positive impact. It was validating to see and hear many commonalities between my own teaching practice and that of the accomplished ArtCenter faculty. I appreciated the consistent emphasis on developing a robust vocabulary for critically analyzing design and articulating concepts. I noticed a heavy emphasis on process. The faculty set high expectations for exploration and output, and the students produce an incredible amount of work between classes. During a critique, Simon Johnston said, “Imagine that the best version of a concept exists; it’s your job to find it. Show me something from all directions—360 degrees of possibilities.” That’s just so wonderfully challenging and aspirational!