The last installment of our design education toolkit offers alternative ways to teach and learn typography using themed tables in the Online Archive.
The Archive’s wide-ranging collection allows many entry points into type history. In earlier posts we offered a conventional chronological approach, and a global perspective. Over the years the Archive team built out a wide variety of tables in the Online Archive based on their interests or responding to a tour’s requirements. Many of these explore typographically significant themes, movements, and subcultures in graphic design, offering alternative ways to teach and learn about letterforms.
Sabiha Basrai recommends globally expansive approaches to studying typography.
This article by activist and educator Sabiha Basrai is the result of her 2023 research fellowship at Letterform Archive where she studied collections of global scripts and collaborated with staff on curriculum development.
Curated sets of objects in the Online Archive tell a visual story of typographic design, starting with the Western world.
We love to hear how the Online Archive is enhancing design courses around the world. Teachers are using the Tables feature to create and share design artifacts and inspiration with their students, or present curated sets as slideshows in class. During the pandemic, when we weren’t able to welcome students to the Archive, the staff created our own tables* to help navigate type history and highlight works in the collection that exemplify major movements. Now we’re sharing a few of these tables with you!
Last year Letterform Archive hosted 24 virtual events exploring typography from around the world. You can still watch them all.
2022 was another busy year for online public programming at the Archive. Over the year we recorded two dozen visually rich presentations on typography, graphic design, and their connection with our culture at large. These events include Letterform Lectures, a companion to the Type West certificate program in type design; our Salon Series, featuring staff or guest experts taking a deep dive into a specific theme within the Archive; and a special event with Ellen Lupton celebrating the culmination of the Bauhaus Typography at 100 exhibition.
A new website showcases the results of Letterform Archive’s yearlong program in type design.
The Class of 2021 was the first Type West cohort to meet entirely online. The program brought together a group of 19 students from across the globe who logged into sessions multiple times a week. It was not only a space for learning the tools and techniques necessary to make fonts, but an international gathering place of shared interests and goals.
Watch 12 presentations that showcased diverse approaches to letterform history and creation across the globe.
The letterform lecture series continued to be held virtually this past year. It has become an opportunity to practice the radical accessibility Letterform Archive strives for while also fortifying the virtual Type West program. While we look forward to a future where we can also have free and open sessions at the San Francisco Public Library, the nature of these online sessions allowed us to host speakers from across the country as well as other parts of the world. Thanks to support from Adobe Fonts, recordings of these lectures are available to all within a few weeks after each event. We bring to you a roundup of all the talks the Archive hosted in the past year and quick access to the ones you might have missed or wish to revisit.
BIPOC designers are still underrepresented and undervalued in every part of the field. Dr. Dori Tunstall offers six ways to turn the tide.
Last summer, amid a long overdue racial reckoning in the United States, we republished a landmark 1968 article by Dorothy Jackson on “The Black Experience Graphic Design”, and asked 16 current design leaders to compare it to their own experience. Their stories spanned the gamut from exhaustion to hope. They shed light on the progress and stagnation of the design world, both academic and professional, and offered advice to organizations and individuals within and outside the BIPOC community. One thing we heard over and over again in their responses was the name Dr. Dori Tunstall.
Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, researcher, and educator. She is the first Black dean of a faculty of design anywhere in the world, a position she has held at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) in Toronto since 2016. From the moment she took the role she led a transformation of OCAD U’s equity practices that have become a model for many other organizations. In our interview she lays out six ideas from her own experience that other institutions can put into practice if they are serious about equity and liberation for BIPOC designers.