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education

Notes on (Type) Camp: Around the World in 26 Letters

The first rule of Type Camp is, you do not talk about Type Camp. Oh wait, that’s Fight Club. What a relief, as we’re itching to tell you about what next year holds for the burgeoning series of immersive design workshops for those who like to debate kerning whilst scarfing gourmet s’mores. Type Camp kicks off later this month in Chennai, India, with a week of discussions, projects, handwritten Urdu newspapers, Tamil lettering, and coconut water. In April, it’s off to Toronto for a focus on script lettering and calligraphy (practice writing “Rob Ford” with a demonic flourish). A planned August installment will take the form of a “creative residential retreat” in California. And the band of nomadic type junkies heads to Ireland in September. Learn more and register here.

Extreme Design Documentary Follows Stanford D.School Students

Design for extreme affordability. That’s the challenge presented by one course at Stanford University’s Institute of Design (better known as the d.school); how students address it—drawing on methods from engineering and industrial design in combination with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world—is the subject of a new documentary. In Extreme by Design, now available on iTunes, filmmakers Ralph King Jr. and Michael Schwarz follow d.schoolers as they create and test potentially life-saving products for those in the developing countries they visit. Here’s the trailer:

John Maeda Leaving RISD for Kleiner Perkins

Last fall, Silicon Valley powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers launched a number of initiatives to attract and develop design talent, and now they’ve recruited the ultimate design mind: John Maeda. The computer scientist, artist, author, designer, and overall shape shifter announced this week that he will leave his post as president of the Rhode Island School of Design at the end of the fall semester to become design partner at KPCB.

In his new role, Maeda will help KPCB’s entrepreneurs build design into their company cultures; he will also chair the eBay Design Advisory Board, working with the company to evolve design capabilities. “The courage, inspiration and rigor that RISD students show in their work and their choices to lead—why we say that RISD is the Reason I’m Sleep Deprived—is what inspired me to seize these opportunities,” Maeda notes in the video farewell (below) he sent earlier this week to the RISD community. “I am passionate about revealing art and design’s role in innovation, and this next step represented irresistible pathways to strengthen design’s place in the digital age.”

NYSID Creates Interior Design Archives

nysidThere are no archives devoted solely to interior design—until now. The New York School of Interior Design announced today the creation of the NYSID Interior Design Archives, a repository for the preservation of primary source material on the people, profession, and business of interior design.

Housed in the school’s library, the archives been seeded with a number of acquisitions, including the archives of Yale Burge Antiques and Interiors; the collection of Neal A. Prince, who served as director of interior design for InterContinental Hotels from 1961-1986; and the institutional records of the NYSID itself, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016.

Big Time: Olafur Eliasson, Peter Zumthor Among New Mentors in Rolex Arts Initiative

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(Photos courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson and Keystone/Christian Beutler)

Rolex’s Arts Initiative gives new meaning to the phrase “ones to watch.” For the past decade, the luxury watchmaker has paired mentors and protégés in dance, film, literature, music, theatre, visual arts, and—beginning last year—architecture for year-long creative collaborations. The program, which encourages dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines, has devised dynamic duos such as Anish Kapoor and Nicholas Hlobo, Zhang Yimou and Annemarie Jacir, and SANAA’s Kazuyo Sejima and Yang Zhao.

Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice was the setting for a festive gathering held earlier today to announce the seven creative wizards who will serve as mentors for the 2014-15 program: Olafur Eliasson (visual arts), Alejandro González Iñárritu (film), Michael Ondaatje (literature), Alexei Ratmansky (dance), Kaija Saariaho (music), Jennifer Tipton (theater), and Peter Zumthor (architecture). As for the emerging talents, it’s pick-your-own-protégé. Each of the mentors will choose a talented young artist to join them for a year of creative collaboration—and a grant of 25,000 Swiss francs (approximately $28,000, at current exchange rates).

Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy

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Hold on to your Dunnys and Munnys, design fans, because Kidrobot founder Paul Budnitz is making time in his new life as a maker of beautiful bicycles to guide Smorkin’ Labbit lovers–and anyone else who is interested–through the process of creating a great designer toy. Budnitz has signed on to teach “Beautiful Plastic: Creating a Great Designer Toy,” an online course that launches October 16 through Skillshare.

“The goal of the class is to help artists sketch their own toy,” Budnitz tells us. “I talk about the basic history of designer toys, since it’s important to know the medium in which you’re working. There’s also a discussion about appropriation and juxtaposition, two elements of design that are found in most good art (and toys), and some ideas of how to apply this to your own toy.” And of course, he’ll offer plenty of pointers on how to design and draw a toy, with an eye to getting it off the page and into into production.
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So, How’s Your Graphic Novel Coming?

Need a nudge to get moving on the graphic novel you’ve been writing and/or drawing in your head for years? First, seek inspiration from Code Monkey Save World. The graphic novel in-progress–based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton, written by Greg Pak, and drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa–completed a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year (earning nearly ten times its original goal). According to the creators, the project was born after Pak joked on Twitter about writing a supervillain team-up comic based on Coulton’s characters. Coulton tweeted back “DO IT.” And so they did. You can, too, and the Mediabistro mothership is here to help with an online course that promises to move your graphic novel out of your head and onto the page–and beyond. Marvel Comics veteran Danny Fingeroth leads the eight-week learning adventure, which will take you from devising a proposal and writing word balloons to surviving Comic-Con and handling Hollywood. Learn more and register here. Sessions begin Thursday, October 17.

Learn Infographics and Get a Free Webcast


A dollar bill stamped with fact-based infographics from the Occupy George project.

Ready to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by veteran creative director Sascha Mombartz, whose resume includes stints at The New York Times and Google, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts next week, and if you register by tomorrow (no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on September 12), we’ll throw in a free webcast. Use promo code WEBCAST at checkout. Then use all of the dollar bills you save to circulate your newly created infographics.

Studio Gang to Design UChicago Dorm

The University of Chicago doesn’t want for distinctive architecture. The campus is home to buildings designed by everyone from Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to Rafael Viñoly and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, whose 184,000-square-foot Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts opened last year. And in a few years, some 800 undergrads will get to live (and eat) in a dorm designed by Chicago’s own Jeanne Gang.

The university has selected Studio Gang Architects to design a major new residence hall and dining commons on the north end of the UChicago campus. The firm will work with Mortenson Construction on the project, which is expected to open in 2016 and will shoot for LEED Gold certification. “We are excited to develop our design that focuses on creating vibrant student communities within the residence halls, connected to a series of new, active public green spaces and environments,” said Gang in a statement issued Tuesday. Read more

TypeEd Offers Type Classes for the Masses

Poor typeface selection, butchered executions of proper glyph handling, the ridiculous setting of justified copy: these are just some of the typographic tragedies that TypeEd aims to banish from the planet. “We exist to protect and serve the letterform, typesetting against the villains of bad design,” say Michael Stinson and Rachel Elnar, who founded the Los Angeles-based program of typography and typesetting courses last year in their design studio, Ramp Creative+Design. “Our mission is to educate designers, students, and practitioners on the fundamental skills of typography.” Among their latest offerings is “In the Loop,” a six-hour script letterform workshop taught by veteran creative director Leah Faust. We asked Stinson, a veteran designer/art director and TypeEd’s lead instructor, to tell us more about “typesetting for the jetsetting” and couldn’t resist the ‘ol desert island fonts question—read on for his top three typefaces.

What led you to create TypeEd?
Rachel went back to teach in the Cal State University system after an elevan-year hiatus, and noticed that with the overflow of computer-based classes into college curriculums, design fundamentals like typography were pushed to the wayside. So, she brought me in as guest speaker to give her interactive class a few typography tips. After seeing the enthusiasm, we eventually we decided to start an education program in our design studio.

What will “In the Loop” workshop participants learn?
In The Loop is an exploration of script-making and letterform crafting. The workshop will cover the history of iconic script signage in Los Angeles, and discuss how to make a script memorable and effective. Attendees will learn about the aspects of readability, angle, stroke variation, and how to translate scripts to digital form.

What is your greatest design pet peeve?
My greatest design pet peeve is the absence of thinking in design. When a designer chooses elements because of personal preference instead of being informed by research, history or concept, I feel that they’ve really missed a great opportunity. Designing without thinking is pure lack of consideration for the reader.
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