Typography – wax on wax off
I'm at the end of the school year, marking the last assignments and looking through course evaluations. I read a comment from a student saying they were expecting more typography… and I wonder what they mean and how I could be clearer. I guess it is a bit like Karate Kid where the kid comes to the master to learn to fight and is given chores, the chores prepares his body to defend agains onslaught, strengthens his muscles and prepares him… but he does not reflect over that it is the tedious chores that is his training. We see it as the audience and the "wax on, wax off" becomes and iconic phrase for our students. I must make a mental note to share this parallel with students the next time I teach InDesign.
So this class that has no typography, what did we do? We watched seminars from Cooper Type and similar playlists. Some in class, others I asked them to see on their own. They were given an assignment to find a typographer and make a magazine cover and spread with that typographer as the subject. We also wrestled with long documents, cleaning text, creating templates and discussing legibility and white space. Constantly telling them to print their work to evaluate it. Repeatedly asking them to make a minor modification and evaluate how it could some times make a drastic impact on the whole.
We also went through the smart functionality of master pages and running headers/footers, tables of contents, footnotes, cross-references, endnotes, layouting forms and much more. I hope one day they may understand, and hopefully reflect on the typography they learned.
How do you teach your students what typography is?