On a weekly basis, look for great typographic design, collect 10 samples and trace 3 using tracing paper and (mechanical) pencil. Then, recreate 1 of the sample either digitally or by using the same tools that designer used.
You may look for samples which are related to a project you will be working on, related to your concentrated area of study (like illustration), or anything that inspires you.
Create a process book for My Type assignment and document everything (10 typographic design samples, 3 traces and 1 recreated design).
Through this assignment, student learn will how to look at typography. By tracing the great typographic design, they will learn about letterform, type classification, and how to select and combine typefaces. This weekly exercise will teach students the fundamental design principles such as space, balance, scale, layer and color. In another word, this assignment connect and align your hand, eyes and brain. Overall, this assignment will help students expand their typographic design palette.
Please remember to take time to debrief this weekly assignment. Read the brief carefully and digest it well. Create mind-map, explore possibilities and expand your horizons. Get yourself motivated.
Step 1: Search for great typographic design.
Look for typography that is beautiful, innovative, classical, interactive, and in motion. Typography is everywhere. If you consciously look, you will quickly find a lot of great typography.
Go beyond Google. Use different research tools. Go to a book store, library, museum, movie, or even to a antique store. Walk around the city and you may find a beautiful typographic sign engraved on a building.
Create a bin for typographic samples and keep adding more to the bin. You may go type hunting in the get go, and get enough samples for a few weeks, but always looking and collecting. You may also share the sample with your classmates.
Step 2: Select and document.
Select 10 typographic designs, and document them in your process book. You may buy, scan, photograph, photocopy, or download them to document. Write a short note about what and why you liked it on each samples.
Step 3: Pick 3 to trace
Choose 3 samples and trace the design with tracing paper and (mechanical) pencil. If you prefer, you may sketch the design instead of tracing. The idea is to physically understand typography, and learn to look closely.
Trace display type carefully. Pay extra attention to the letterform, spacing (kerning, leading and space around it), balance, scale, grid structure and typographic hierarchy. Remember, god is in the details.
You may trace the entire sample, or may trace a part of it. If the body text is too small, you may use gray box instead. Make sure the intensity of the gray reflects the density of the text box. If there is an image, you may trace it with simplified geometric shapes (dot, line and shape).
Scan all three traced samples, and document them in your process book. Find the name of typefaces used in the samples, and write a note on each one.
Step 4: Recreate the design
Pick 1 sample out of 3 that you traced, and recreate the design either digitally or by using the same tools and mediums the designer used. You may recreate the entire design or part of it. Document your work in your process book.
Step 5: Share
Bring some samples, your process book, traced design and the recreated design to the class. Share your experience and design with your classmates.
Give yourself time slot (time limit).
Spend 1.5 hours tracing and 3 hours recreating. You may not able to complete the task in the beginning of the semester. Learn how to work efficiently and beautifully. (Do not rush it either.)
This is a weekly assignment.
We learn by repetition. By repeating the same action, we can train our muscle and unconscious part of our brain. Always looking for a great typography. Make this exercise your weekly routine.
You may create a process book physically or digitally.