United Visual Artists

This course is the next step in your type education here at RISD. Building on your work from Type 1, we will continue refining and designing typographic compositions, paragraphs, pages and spreads, and, in the latter half of the semester, larger quantities of text in book form.

The emphasis will be on systems and voice, incorporating issues of contrast, form, sequence, typographic hierarchy, legibility, and navigation. In addition, this class will focus on the “finer points” of typography, i.e. the rules of letter-to-letter, line-to-line, and word-to-word relationships; punctuation; hyphenation; and so on. Throughout all of the assignments, we will address issues of composition — dynamics, contrast, spatial and formal issues — as well as larger themes of meaning, concept, and expression.

Each studio will be a mix of short discussions, hands-on demonstrations, a critique of your progress, lectures, and in-studio exercises. Class meetings will start promptly at the assigned time. Late projects will be downgraded. All research, acquisition of materials, printing, and other preparation must be done before class.

This course is a three credit course that meets five hours per week. You should plan on spending at least five hours each week on this class outside of class time.

Chaeeun An
Iris Cho
Andres Cortes
Siwu Ding
Leo Horton
Yu Jung Jung
Kokoro Nagaya
Sofia Santana
Alex Sarkissian
Zhiying Shi
Seokhee Shin
Tierra Williams
Hope Wisor
Catherine Wu

Class Format
Class will be conducted over Zoom, discussions will be held on Slack. Each class will vary in program, including discussions, reviews in small groups and one-on-one of your progress, lectures, readings, student presentations, hands-on workshops, and group exercises. The active presence, listening, and participation of everyone in the class is crucial (and will make it a lot more fun and interesting): in presenting your own work, supportive and respectful critique of your classmates’ work, and in class discussions of texts we’ll read, typographic news and history, and other relevant (sometimes tangential) topics.

Attendance and Participation
We will be covering a lot of ground this semester, so your attendance and active participation are crucial. You are expected to attend every class meeting — prepared, on-time, and ready to work. More than two absences will have a severe impact on your progress and your grade. Two unexcused absences will result in a failing grade. Please notify me in advance of any absence to make arrangements to complete missed work.

Please turn off and put away your cell phone while you are in class and try to keep video on while engaging in dialogue in class.

Stille Studio

Laptop + power cord
Pencils, sharpies
Notebook, sketchbook
Inexpensive smooth drawing paper
Tracing paper (pad or roll)
X-acto Knife with fresh blades
Self-healing cutting mat
Metal t-square or straight edge
Push pins (clear or metal)
Glue stick (please do not use rubber cement or spray mount)
Tape (masking, scotch)

At the end of the semester, each student will turn in a Google Drive folder containing a portfolio of all of your assignments (in PDF form), as well as materials that document your process. It is important that you save all of your work, not just the final results. Please keep all iterations and versions of projects, sketches, process notes, etc., as well as iterations of your digital files.

Required textbook
We will use The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst throughout the semester as a primary reference. It’s a good book to purchase, if you haven’t already. If that’s not possible, here is a PDF of the entire book.

In addition, we will do a close reading of Jost Hochuli’s 2005 Detail in typography (full PDF). It’s another good one to purchase and have, but feel free to use the PDF for our readings. We will read and discuss in class each week. We will also draw from Jost Hochuli and Robin Kinross’ “Designing Books” (1996).

In addition to the Hochuli, weekly readings and/or viewings (videos) will be assigned. Please create a typographic response to each week’s reading/video on a single 11 in x 17 in printed sheet. Results will be reviewed in studio as a group, and then assembled into a collection at the end of the semester.

Bulletin board
Each week, we will take some time in studio for a very short presentation (5–7 min) about something of interest to each of you — a designer, font, a letterform, printed piece, web resource, book, or anything else type-related that you feel should be shared. Each of you will be responsible for one show-n-tell, and these will be assigned: one student each week (see schedule).

Each week, we will also take some time in studio to review an important tool, software feature, tip, or type reminder. Each of you will be responsible for leading one discussion; these will be assigned.

Grades will be based on the following criteria: quality of work, including concept, design, and the timely completion of assignments; working process and craft; class participation and attendance; positive attitude toward learning and the class as a whole; regular and unsolicited participation in class discussion and critiques; personal initiative, exploration, and risk taking; the ability to give and receive useful criticism; and, last but not least, the successful application of typographic principles.

At mid-term, you will receive an evaluation of your progress. You will receive a mid-term warning if you are slipping. Grades are given as follows:

A / strong design process / ability to come up with many different ways to solve a problem / excellent research / mastery of form, functionality, and craftsmanship / frequent participation in critiques and discussion / strong work ethic / focused / energetic / ability to sketch and articulate ideas

B / solid, well-done work / could improve on the items noted in the A list, in particular: better process, more solutions, better craft and attention to detail, more class participation

C / does average work / fulfills assignments but not much else / frequently late / little or no class participation / not willing to re-work or refine projects

D / limited effort / incomplete work / lack of skill and enthusiasm / chronic tardiness and unexcused absences / does not follow instructions

Your final grade will be based on the above criteria as well as on the final portfolio of work turned in at the end of the semester. Keep in mind that any project can be re-done or improved upon throughout the semester. Such improvements will be taken into consideration when grading the final portfolio.

Our studio will communicate using Slack, a collaborative messaging and file archive app. You will receive instructions during our first studio about how to access our studio account. Please download the Slack app to your desktop and preferably to your mobile device as well — we will use it to upload work, post assignments and exercises, and take notes. It is an extension of our studio space.

It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. I strive to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, culture, perspective, and other background characteristics. Your suggestions about how to improve the value of diversity in this course are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups.

RISD is committed to providing equal opportunities for all students. If you are a student with a disability or condition that may require accommodations to complete the requirements of this class, I encourage you to discuss your learning needs with me prior to or during the first week of the term. Once an approval letter from the Office of Disability Support Services is submitted, accommodations will be provided as needed. For more information on how to receive accommodations, please contact RISD Disability Support Services at 401 709 8460 or by emailing disabilitysupportservices@risd.edu.

You are strongly urged to set up and maintain a solid backup and archiving strategy for your work. Operate on the assumption that your hard drive will die, usually when you least expect it. You will not be excused for preventable loss of data. Backing up means on-site, off-site, and a bootable clone. Read more about a three-legged backup strategy here

Academic Misconduct
During the course of your work throughout the type sequence you will experience a range of opportunities to be inspired and influenced by other designers and artists. While plagiarism with the goal of deception will not be tolerated, it is normal to explore the work of others in new and original ways, and to express that influence through a variety of techniques — including homage, parody, style, derivation, and appropriation. We expect all GD students and faculty to maintain an open perspective towards these concepts, and to use class as a safe testing ground for exploring influence, with the guidance of faculty.