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This month marked the beginning of Fraser Muggeridge’s new venture, Typography Summer School. Set over two weeks at The Drawing Room in Hackney, the school welcomed designers with a keen interest in typography to come, learn and be immersed in all things ‘type’. jotta had Lucy Brown on the inside to feed back.
Typography is my design life. Both my studio and my mind are bursting with it. An invitation for designers to involve themselves in an independent typography school, free from the style and politics of an existing design institution seemed timely and welcome having graduated from the Typography course at the London College of Communication 1 year ago.
Typography has always been a key player in the visual language of design but as educational institutions focus increasingly on concept over craft and digital creeps into our working methods, the letterforms that we know so well are being treated very differently. It was a pleasure to take a whole week off from the screen and give the alphabet a little attention. Fraser Muggeridge's week of typographic study didn't just acknowledge typography's past. The programme also considered where typography is going and how it can be applied appropriately. A common theme throughout the week: you have to know the rules to be able to break them.
Monday morning set the pace for an exhaustive typographic week. The Drawing Room was full of 21 designers from all over the world - UK, Australia, Spain, America, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong and France. Each student had applied for varying reasons. Some were still at university; others had been working in the industry for many years. Two briefs were set. The first to design the identity for next year's Typography Summer School and the second, 3 live client briefs divided between the group.
Each day was a full 11 hours, made up of talks, tutorials, portfolio reviews, workshops and critiques. The discussions among the group were engaging and informed, full of questions about the state of the industry and the nature of typography within it.
Tuesday saw the arrival of Sara De Bondt, who looked at our portfolios and later presented an incredible selection of typographic work. Wednesday could only be described as a young typographer's dream - a full day with Ken Garland. Ken worked with the group in each designing a set of ligatures, "not a collision, but a union; a new creation." He explained during one tutorial, "these creatures [letterforms] have character, it takes time to understand each one." Later in the evening, Sarah Newitt from Fraser Muggeridge Studio provided an incredibly thorough insight into the many requirements and considerations of traditional typesetting; in particular book design. Knowledge that is invaluable, as we work in an industry that often values speed over attention to detail.
There was also room for some self-expression, a little rhythmic, meditative drawing led by Stefan Kraus and a rich slice of Paul Elliman's philosophical mind during which he quoted from Nochlin, Kubler, Ruskin and Lacoue-Labarthe about the typography beyond what the eye sees.
By Friday, my mind sponge was almost full with type. Typography Summer School was above and beyond what I had hoped for. Fraser would like future summer schools to be held in other countries, applying the theories, models and practices to different cultures and environments. “We plan to run more programmes based on deeper research within typography, and aim to publish these as teaching and learning models.” In the meantime, all typographers, keep your eye out for the next round of applications.
Typography Summer School invites you to participate in a marathon back-to-back critique of typographic items as part of V&A Summer Camp on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 July. Go to: