I started teaching Type 1 and 2 at Brainco last night. I have 13 students with a wide range of experiences in design and other creative fields. Some are writers, some with communication degrees, some have no training in the design field at all. It is going to be a fantastic challenge to create assignments that are both challenging but also relevant as they build their portfolios.
Since this class is combining Type 1 and 2 for the first time, my first class was focused around understanding where each student was in their knowledge of typography. I attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island and was trained in typography over the course of 2 years in the Graphic Design department. Since the class I am teaching is compressed into 13 weeks, the biggest challenge is to create classes and assignments that give enough information but also don't become too technical.
I have assigned two required texts and three recommended ones. Because of the time constraints, I am placing a lot of trust in my students to read and take notes on some of the more technical information involved in understanding typography. The two books I am having them read are The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst and The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici. There are hundreds of books on typography and these are the two I have found that are the most straight forward and clear in their information. While their focus is on fundamentals and clean typography, I find some of the other books too "fun" in their approach. I want the assignments to be exciting and fun, but I think for good books that you can refer to anytime for terms or information, these two are great!
I intend to read and take notes on all the assigned reading I give to the students as well. For their first assignment, I asked them to do an oral report on 5 historical facts, good rules of thumb or conventions of good typography use. This is just a basic starting off point before I go back to my RISD roots and start handing out assignments that take one week to complete and 4 hours to critique. Well, maybe not that far… But, as my husband Jason Craig, who is also a designer/art director, said to me, "You are going to be a hard teacher."
I really just want my students to find the love for typography that I have and see it as an integral part of the visual communication process.