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Recently, Andi Emery started a topic asking if teaching traditional copyfitting methods to graphic designers had value anymore. This is a question of particual interest to educators who want to improve typographic awareness in students.
Given the fact that typography is a minor sub-set in most general graphic design programs, it sparked an interest in exploring types of exercises that might stimulate creative and cognitive abilities useful to budding typographers and type designers.
The topic of type education already exists under the heading of Typographic Edumacators within the Special Interest Groups area of Typophile. This topic area is sadly malnurished having only two replies to an important topic started by Nathan Matteson over two years ago! All of the real dialogs related to education are actually peppered throughout the entire Typophile forum.
If Typography was a Video Game
This is a thought that came to my mind after participating in Andi's topic. No, I'm not advocating a game blasting Comic Sans with laser guns, or a Sim game trying to pickup type hotties at a party. I'm not even suggesting an "educational" game a la Sesame Street or Nick Jr. (though they're wonderfully useful).
I'm thinking more in the line of simple, engaging and hopefully stimulating exercises that might trigger higher cognitive and creative activities in the mind of students. Obviously this doesn't need to take the form of a video game, but the only reason it came to mind is that all designers are now trained in front of a screen.
Here goes my first shot:
Is this ancient Chinese game (or variant) useful in developing a heightened sense of notan?
Can it help designers to create a plethora of recognizable shapes using only a fixed set of elements?
Description (From Answers.com)
Tangram (Hanyu Pinyin: Cantonese: ch'i ch'ae pan; literally Seven-Board of Cunning) is an ancient Chinese puzzle.
It consists of 7 pieces, called Tans, which fit together to form a square:
5 triangles of various sizes,
The objective is to form a given shape with seven pieces.
The shape has to contain all the pieces, which must not overlap.
I can already see that exploring helpful tools and methods of developing typographic sensibilities will be a slow and laborous mission, as it has taken me a considerable amount of time just to get this post up. Hopefully a few of us can collectively hatch up some worthwhile exercises. I've got a few more simple activities to share, but it takes time to really think them through.
Look for the "Typography Edumacators" topic area to come alive again.