Last spring my colleague Moon Jang and I co-taught ARGD 4030, Advanced Typography, each designing a complementary half of the course. Moon’s portion focused on letterforms (micro) through the design of a partial custom typeface while my part focused on typesetting and design of larger bodies of text (macro).

This fall we created an exhibit, micro/macro, of the student outcomes from the course in our CUBE gallery. (Props to Moon’s exhibition design.)

Micro/Micro exhibition poster

We also collaborated on the exhibition poster.

In my class, we started with some typesetting exercises, then moved on to the main project: interpreting and designing the text of Georges Perec’s essay, The Page, from Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, as a small publication/zine. The text is particularly ripe for visual interpretation and works well for thinking about the space(s) of the page. The text contains tasty bit such as:

I write: I inhabit my sheet of paper,
I invest it, I travel across it.
I incite blanks, spaces….
I write in the margin. I start a new paragraph.

Students seemed to enjoy constructing dummies and practicing a basic booklet stitch bind, although the process of translating their digital designs into physical object proved an interesting challenge for these digital natives (their deficit with physical objects seemingly made all the more intense by pandemic online learning using more e-books?).

Printing in proper pagination and booklet signatures was a valuable experience. Quite a few were perplexed by the inability to get rid of first (right) page (as they saw it in InDesign) since a book or publication must always start with a right page…

Process: When asked to explore more experimental compositions and arrangements working with by hand, their designs—not surprisingly—got way more interesting. #GetOfftheComputer