As designers we have the ability to reinvent ourselves with each venture this is where it is a unique process.
So, what happens when we invest our time in an immersive, 7-month process of solving typographic challenges in which a team of novice and advanced design students from two undergraduate universities worked in tandem with two design professors on the production of a limited-edition letterpress book of ABCs?
The project and accompanying workshops centered around the value of collaborative creative thinking and the use of letterpress printing as a tool for acute typographic problem-solving. As they addressed technical, conceptual and visual aspects of typography, the team was exposed to various “sub-problems” that demanded effective teamwork and innovative solutions to produce the edition of 360 letterpress books.
The book project serves as a case study outlining the lessons learned and unexpected discoveries that emerged in exposing students to an immersive, long-term, hands-on typographic process. The project ultimately raises the question, in an increasingly ephemeral digital design world, does an immersive physical creative process yield educational merits that can serve as an effective learning tool? And concurrently, it examines the question, what is the role of craft in contemporary design education?
Ned Drew is a senior faculty member within the Graphic Design Program at Rutgers University-Newark where he teaches design and design history courses. Drew was a member of the AIGA’s DEC Steering Committee and is the Founding Director of The Design Consortium, a student/teacher design studio.
Drew was the co-editor of Design Education in Progress: Volumes 1, 2 and 3 and co-author of BY ITS COVER, Purity of Aim: The Book Jacket Designs of Alvin Lustig and George Giusti: The Idea is the Heart of the Matter.
Drew’s work has been included in:
Typographic Design: Form and Communication, Graphic Design Referenced, US Design 1975-2000, Working with Computer Type, the
AIGA’s Rethinking Design 3: Speaking Volumes, Graphic Design Solutions and Color Management.
Drew’s work has also been recognized by the AIGA, the TDC, the IDA, the Art Directors Club, Creativity, the FPO Awards, the UCDA and the AAM as well as Graphis, Communication Arts, Print and How magazines.
Brenda McManus is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the Art Department at Pace University–NYC. Brenda’s research encompasses typography, integrating antiquated and contemporary technology and methods of making and collaborative design processes.
Brenda received her MS and MFA from Pratt Institute’s Graduate Communication Design Program and has experience in design research, design management, art direction, design writing and a passion for typography.
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