RISDSummerInstitute: Playing with type

I just got back from two weeks at the RISD Summer Institute for Graphic design. I took an Introduction to Typography class with Ernesto Aparicio. The class was very similar to the VisComm course I took with him at Northeastern in the fall, but most of the assignments were new, and we were able to adjust the others so that there were still new things to learn.

It was really nice to spend two weeks completely immersed in typography, and to work in a (relatively) fast-paced environment. I really like to spend weeks working on and thinking about projects during the semester, but it was good to switch into production mode and get a lot done in just a few days, too. The faster-paced work develops a different kind of fluency; decisions need to be made and executed quickly, and there isn’t a lot of time to overthink things. I enjoy doing more long-term, reflective work, but it’s also fun to switch into executive mode and just get things done, and to find ways to generate output without sacrificing excellence. Since I already had a lot of the background knowledge, the class was also an opportunity to focus on deliberate practice and develop skill, rather than just trying to learn the basics.

We did 5 exercises in 9 days: designing logotypes from letterforms, a book excerpt, a type specimen poster, and a composition made from photos of type observed “in the wild” in Providence. For my 5th project, we substituted in the design of a photo book in place of some typography exercises that I’d done in the previous class.

In the interests of readability, I’m going to split the assignments up into a series of posts, rather than having one really long one here. All of the posts in the series are linked below: