Type Hunting

“Look!!! Typography!” #typeintheenvironment #typography #typeallaround #gravestone #graphics

A photo posted by Sancha de Burca (@sanchagdp) on

 

Yesterday we took our HND Graphic Design students out on a little typographic tour of their college town of Tonbridge. We wanted to stress the point that we spend our lives bombarded by messages and thousands of these are typographic. As such the purpose of the walk was to help enable students to reconnect with type at a more conscious level; thinking about its style, location, purpose, context, what it’s made of and whether or not it’s good or bad, etc.

As well as the usual high number of ugly plastic shop signage to be found in every high street we found some little gems, one of which was finding professional sign writer, Ollie Stone, at work in a local pub. It was perfect timing for us but I suspect Ollie was not expecting so much attention!

The images collected will form part of their research for a current poster project and next week we’re heading to Bexhill to gather more whilst visiting the De la Warr pavilion.

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#typography #gravestone #lettering #lettercutting #m #scriptlettering

A photo posted by Tim Bones (@mrtimbones) on

 

Happiness is Good Handwriting!

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As I have mentioned before I have something of an obsession with handwriting. As an obsessive maker of notes in an age that is witnessing a rapid decline in handwriting, I was fascinated and somewhat amused to discover T. Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms from 1888. Hill extolled the virtues of good penmanship, specifically with regards to one’s happiness, career and intellect! I think there still more than a grain of truth within his pearls of wisdom.

Why have good handwriting?

“Because, 1st.  Good penmanship of itself adds greatly to our happiness.  The consciousness to the lady or gentleman of being able to write a letter that shall win the admiration and praise of the friend to whom it is written is a source of unspeakable pleasure to the writer, and to possess this ability throughout our lifetime is to be proficient in an accomplishment which adds to our happiness, as does excellence in oratory, painting or music.  Good writing is a fine art, and is to the eye what good language is to the ear.”

2nd.  Good writing is of great benefit to us pecuniarily. The person who may apply for a situation as teacher, clerk, or any position where intellectual ability is required, finds a beautifully written letter the best recommendation that can be sent  when applying for that position. Hundreds of instances are on record, many doubtless within the knowledge of the reader, where lucrative situations have been obtained through good penmanship, that could never have been secured had the applicant not had a good handwriting.”

And, 3rd. A mastery of the art of writing is of great service to us intellectually. Persons who can write well, taking pleasure in the practice, will write more than they otherwise would. Every time they write a word they spell it, and thus improve in spelling. Every time a sentence is written, an application is made of grammar; and thus knowledge is obtained of  how to speak correctly. The subject they write about, they become familiar with ; and thus, in the act of writing, they are intellectually improved. The most intelligent and influential in any community are those  who can express thought most easily and correctly on paper.”

T.E. Hill
—Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms. (1888)

Hill's Manual.
Hill’s Manual.

Thinking About (design) Thinking

Shoe tower
Designers with souls!

So begins the new term at West Kent College and this week and my colleague and I have been introducing the new students to aspects of design thinking. We’re keen to stress the importance of thinking and approaches to the design process, trying to reiterate that using a computer as the exclusive means of problem solving is not what design is about. Yes, Google is great and so is Photoshop but so are our brains along with our ability to communicate and it’s these that need exercising as much learning how to make slick designs on a Mac.

We want to demonstrate—or rather have the students demonstrate to themselves—that planning and discussion are essential in design and for them to appreciate the importance of remaining open and receptive to new ideas and to be able to develop the means to explore approaches to thinking and the range of possibilities that such thinking can yield.

This little group activity requires the building of the tallest and most elegant tower of shoes possible. In doing so the participants discuss, build, take down, rebuild, and essentially explore possibilities. It sounds and looks a bit quirky but if it helps students consider that design is about possibilities, communication, interaction and collaboration then maybe they will rapidly appreciate that this unusual activity serves a very meaningful purpose.

And the winner is…