Lessons in Type is a series of posts covering my time spent at Cooper Union’s Type@Cooper program. You can learn more about CooperType here. Here’s the first post in this series. Here’s the second post in this series. Here’s the third post in this series. Here’s the fourth post in this series. Here’s the fifth post in this series.
In this final post in the series, I’m going to talk about where I am now, about two months after the close of the program. I’m also going to talk about lineage a little bit, too. Mostly because we all know I like to talk about yoga all the time and relate everything to it.* ;)
WHERE I AM NOW
Right after the program, I slept. I was so grateful I was going to be in NYC another couple of weeks because it gave me time to recover. I don’t know how my classmates managed to pack everything up and get on planes right away; I really am not sure I could have done it.
I did not touch type for about two weeks after the program at all. I continued sketching in my notebook, of course, but that was it. I also didn’t really talk about it. And, I really didn’t want to. I wanted a break.
Fast forward to today, mid-September 2012, and I’m happy to report that I’ve nearly ‘finished’ my typeface (one thing I should have mentioned in post #5 is that typefaces are never actually done) and I’ve started on another.
Here’s what I’m working on now:
I started this in the Spokane Airport, hence why the working name is Spokane. I am just doing this for complete and utter fun. I am not designing this for a purpose of any kind, other than to just come up with something. I started with the ‘n’ and I don’t recall where that ‘n’ came from, other than that I was inspired by the landscape of Washington and Idaho.
I started a few other things, mostly just to try out a few extensions and to remind myself of this and that, but for now, my goal is to finish (finish to my terms) what I started at Cooper and release it on the market.
Which brings me to my next thing…
I have a name and all the paperwork done for a foundry. I’m not putting the name here because I’m waiting for all the intellectual property stuff to clear. So, I’ll have a foundry, release my font under that, and then you can buy it online, and hopefully use it.
There are also going to be some exciting and fantastic changes at my company, Doth Brands, but nothing to announce yet.
Finally, I want to talk about the concept of lineage.
So, in yoga, we talk about ‘lineage’ quite a bit. Lineage refers to the kind of yoga you study and it also refers to your teacher. To put it simply, we all are part of a really big tree. Each branch is a section of the same tree, but there are different leaves. Think of the branch like it’s a teacher (or a type of yoga) and all the leaves on that branch as students of that teacher or type of yoga. It’s all yoga from afar, but if you get close, you can see what leaves are where. You can see differences.
I believe that in life we don’t pick our greatest teachers. Sure, we pick some of our teachers in life, but the ones that teach us actual lessons….and they are usually the hardest lessons we have to learn….we generally don’t pick those people. We might think we do, but I like to think that they end up in your life for a reason. I also believe that everyone is a teacher to someone else, too. We are all students and we are all teachers.
My type design teachers, Jean-Francois Porchez and Stephane Elbaz, taught me some really great lessons. If I had been asked who I wanted to study type design under years ago, I probably couldn’t have answered. You can pick who inspires you, but you really can’t pick who teaches you. Jean-Francois and Stephane really, truly challenged me. They made me struggle and they made me work really hard. They made me angry (legit) and made me happy. They made me rethink a lot of things and they changed my perspective. In doing so, I learned a great deal and that is just something you can never say ‘thank you’ for. That is how I think you know you found a teacher in someone; you just know ‘thank you’ isn’t enough for what they’ve given you.
I promise I am not trying to suck up to anyone, but rather, I’m just trying to explain my perspective on the whole Type@Cooper experience. One of the questions I got the most was ‘how were your teachers?’ and this is the question that was hardest in many ways to answer. So, the above is how I’m answering it.
If someone ever makes a type design tree and gives a branch to each type designer, I’d be happy to be a leaf coming off the JFP and SE branch. Lineage is important to me and I’m really quite honored to be where I am.
In closing, I want to thank everyone for reading this series. I knew I wanted to do a really thorough recap on the Type@Cooper program and also be very thorough and honest about my individual experience. This program is academically and professionally rigorous. The bar is set very high and not everyone is capable of handling the pressure of the program. It is definitely a sacrifice to attend this program, and I’m not just talking financially. If you are lucky enough to get accepted into this program, you better take it. You will be a better type designer and professional because of it.
I also want to thank Cara Di Edwardo immensely. She acted as nuts and bolts of the program. She is also a very talented and highly experienced calligrapher. Her insights into type design and calligraphy were so useful and we all appreciated having her come around and spend a little time with each of us. I’d like to take a calligraphy workshop from her in the future.
Sumner Stone is another person to thank. He was responsible for educating all of us on the historical aspect of type design. Sumner also spent time with each of us, critiquing our work and answering questions. He was particularly helpful to me at the end of the program in helping to fine-tune and adjust some width issues I was having in my typeface.
Just van Rossum and Hannes Famira were the primary instructors for the other group in my program and I’m happy to report that they made time for all of my group. They both spent time with me during the program helping me with software stuff and providing critique. In talking with students in their group and drilling them about Just’s and Hannes’ methods, I feel like I have a good understanding of their process in type design. I was a fan of their method for teaching calligraphy and have saved photos of the chalkboard they used to illustrate concepts on. Just and Hannes are a wealth of knowledge and I’m thankful to have gotten to spend as much time with them as I did.
Cooper Union deserves thanks as well. The campus is lovely and we are lucky that an institution like this offers a truly rigorous program in Type Design.
My classmates deserve thanks too. You all are great people and professionals and I’m so lucky to call you friends. I also want to specifically thank Kevin Paolozzi because we were tablemates and he put up with a lot sitting across from me. He had no choice! Buy this man a beer.
To end, the Type@Cooper program is something that if you are lucky enough to take it, you’ll never do it again, and I mean that in the best possible way. It was truly an experience, and even though it has taken me 6 posts to explain it, I almost feel like I haven’t done it justice.
The program was intense and wonderful and I find myself missing all the people I was lucky enough to work with 12 hours a day for 5 weeks.
*I have yet to meet another type designer & yogi in one. We must be a rare breed.