Recently my alma mater started a very cool initiative that I had the pleasure of participating in. Every year they invite “masters” in specific areas of graphic design to give a short interview and lead a workshop within their field of expertise. My former mentor and good friend Mike Wiggins asked if I would lead the Type 1 workshop, and of course I enthusiastically accepted.
Type 1 was where I first became interested in type design after all. I even created my first typeface that semester! Who knows, if I would of had the opportunity to learn the basics of type design in a workshop lead by a professional I may not be as embarrassed by my initial attempt as I am now (which was a really terrible Highway Gothic sans interpretation that will hopefully stay in the depths of my hard drive forever)!
After chatting with Mike about the classes and projects that the students have completed thus far, I decided an exercise in ideation and sketching with lettering and type design in mind may be the most beneficial workshop for them. This way the students could pick up some key terminology while refining their drawing skills. Naturally, TypeCooker instantly sprung to mind.
Maybe it’s because I was really craving BBQ and TexMex at the time, or the fact that we would be conducting this workshop in West Texas, but I felt encouraged to put a spin on classic TypeCooker platform. Instead of giving the students a specific word to sketch, I curated a list of Approved Texas Words in which they could choose from. These ranged from streets in Abilene (cedar, sayles, ambler) to local food (burger, abuelos, lapopular) to various historical peoples & places in and around town (anson, sayles, teague). Each word chosen precisely for its length, cultural significance, as well as its diversity in letterforms. I also tried to find words that contained at least a few control characters too. Such words are rare, and my list is by no means perfect, but it helped immensely.
After two or three recipes and multiple revisions, each student had a clean, solid piece of lettering in the end. To say I was very impressed by the students creativity and hand skills would be an understatement. You guys are the best!
Thanks again to Mike, Arlene, the entire Art & Design Department, and of course ACU for having me. It was a blast. ‘Till next time!