Over the course of this first week of school, I've been assigned multiple readings by different teachers. My fiction workshop teacher told us yesterday that to become a good writer, it's as important to read, as it is to write. So yesterday as I sat down with my stack of readings, I was killing two birds with one stone; doing my assignments AND becoming a better writer!
I pulled out lots of good nuggets from my readings, such as this one from an essay by Frank Chimero:
"Design is just a language, it's not a message. If you say "retro" too much you will get hives and maybe die. Learn your design history. Know that design changes when technology changes, and its been that way since the 1400s."
I believe the idea of deeply understanding the history of any artistic medium really is the key to making good work. It's also the key to winning arguments at cocktail parties. Did you know how letters came to be called 'uppercase' and 'lowercase'?
Now you know!
Our first couple of readings for Typography give a clear timeline early through modern development of recorded language. While calligraphy will always be the 'one that brought me to the dance,' I loved the depictions of experimental typefaces of the 1990s, such as this one by Ed Fella.
The forms were drawn by hand and developed by making multiple copies, and would technically be considered, "damaged and defective." Now that's my kind of typeface! There is something about seeing the hand of the artist in the work that is really important to me.
Frank Chimero's list of advice for graphic design students is full of many things we hear every day from our teachers, and this one, while obvious, really seems like the perfect recipe for success:
"Develop a point of view. Think about what experiences you have that many others do not. Then, think of what experiences you have that almost everyone else has. Then, mix those two things and try to make someone cry or laugh or feel understood."
I'll do my best, Frank.
Oh, and I'll leave you with one last nugget.
So, to appreciate good typography, you must be modest and chaste. Uh oh.