Whiskey Series Takes Inspiration From Wild West

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Born in upstate New York but “like many freedom loving Americans before him,” Josh Jevons made the journey west. Now based in Denver CO, Jevons has used this as an inspiration for packaging for the Grand Teton Distillery that captures the spirit of the Wild West.

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The series visualizes stories and myths of legendary pioneers, frontiersmen and adventurers of the wild American west. Says Jevons: “From Teddy Roosevelt’s dagger-clad bout with a puma to a bloodthirsty manhunt by Blackfoot tribesmen, these labels celebrate the western spirit of adventure, tenacity and grit.”

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The labels feature custom diecuts and metallic ink, and feature custom illustrations and handcrafted type. Continues Jevons: “The aesthetic is intended to communicate the rugged nature of the stories as well as the place in which the whiskeys are made, the Teton mountains, while maintaining a modern feel.”

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This article originally appeared in GDUSA.

Where Are We At With Recycling?

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By: Dr. Andrew H. Dent

A quiet revolution is now occurring in the world of recycling that has been presaged for some time now but became significant at the start of this year. If we are lucky, it might produce a sea-change in the way we think about how we package our products.

Normally, both in the US and EU, various types of lower quality packaging and other waste was sold to China as a resource for different secondary uses, like the production of recycled products. In recent years, China has been taking about half the world’s paper and plastic recyclables, but as of January of this year, National Sword has banned 24 different types of solid waste. At current rates, the shipment of these types of resources to China are down a whopping 97%.

So, what does this mean? Well, it meddles with many of the recycling statistics which assumed that shipping waste to China, but it also affects many recycling businesses, with container ships of waste material essentially stranded without a place to unload, and most likely, vastly reduced revenues. Europe has not been spared either, as approximately 12% of its waste had also been making the same trip to Chinese ports.

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But what initially seemed like a disaster for the recycling industry might just prove to be a real turning point. With the ongoing concerns throughout the world regarding the amount of waste being deposited into our oceans, it may be the push we need to get everyone moving in the right direction when it comes packaging.

On April 11, 2018, the Plastic Industry Association and 11 other partner associations delivered a request for the House to advance an infrastructure investment package to address the US need for better recycling efforts and innovation. High on the list is a request for improvements to be made in facilities so that they can sort waste more efficiently and selectively. Additionally, money is getting spent by many of the big players to improve materials, infrastructure, and education with companies such as Amazon, International Paper, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and others spending big to create a more circular economy when it comes to packaging.

European Union regulators declared a new policy agenda in late January of this year starting with the goal that all plastic packaging on the market will be recyclable or reusable by 2030. They’ve also declared war on single-use plastics such as straws, bottles that do not degrade, coffee cups, lids and stirrers, cutlery and takeaway containers as Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, but less than 30% of it is recycled.

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Interestingly enough, Chinese companies are starting recycling facilities in America, seeing the potential for a greater amount of specialized recycling within the continental US. Ecomelida Inc., the United States subsidiary of China-based Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corp., intends to locate its first facility handling marketable paper and plastic scrap separated from beverage cartons, aseptic packaging and paper mill pulp byproducts in South Carolina. The recycled plastics extracted, largely polyethylene (PE), will be used in foam, cast plastic parts, and other products.

The actual recycling itself is getting more efficient too with chemical recycling of plastics creating virgin sources by companies such as Perpetual in the US and the DEMETO consortium in the EU. Additionally, improved sorting of paper-based products such as gable tops (the Tropicana type poly-coated paper cartons) is progressing as well. Waste Management, Tropicana Products, Dean Foods and select carton manufacturers have launched a program in which residents can discard these containers in regular recycling bins at no additional charge. Started in Florida, this program has been expanded to communities across the US.

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This combined effort that springs from concerns about our oceans as well as the bottom line for recyclers will precipitate a new approach to the treatment of our packaging and waste in general, forcing governments, brands, designers and even consumers to bring about a real change in the way we value these materials.


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Dr. Andrew H. Dent

Dr. Andrew Dent is Executive Vice President of Research at Material ConneXion, and Chief Material Scientist at SANDOW. He plays a key role in the expansion of Material ConneXion’s technical knowledge base. His research directs the implementation of consulting projects and the selection of innovative, sustainable and advanced materials to Material ConneXion’s library, which currently houses over 8,000 material samples.

Dr. Dent received his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Cambridge in England. Prior to joining Material ConneXion, Dr. Dent held a number of research positions both in industry and academia. At Rolls Royce PLC, Dr. Dent specialized in turbine blades for the present generation of jet engines. He has completed postdoctoral research at Cambridge University and at the Center for Thermal Spray Research, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY. Other research projects, during this period, included work for the US Navy, DARPA, NASA, and the British Ministry of Defense.

Since joining Material Connexion, Dr. Dent has helped hundreds of clients—from Whirlpool and Adidas to BMW and Procter & Gamble—develop or improve their products through the use of innovative materials. A leading expert on sustainable materials, his insight has played an important part in creating a new generation of more sustainable products.

He is a frequent speaker on sustainable and innovative material strategies, having given two TED talks at TEDx Grand Rapids and TEDNYC, and is the co-author of the Material Innovation book series. Dr. Dent has also contributed to numerous publications on the subject of material science, including Business Week, Fast Company and the Financial Times.

This article originally appeared in Dieline.

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Get a sample of her inspirations here and also at the VMA Design Conference June 15 in San Francisco.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Creative People

The most commonly held belief about creativity is that it’s elusive, esoteric and unique only to the anointed few.

The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. They called these spirits daemons. The Romans had a similar idea as well but called the spirit a genius.

Centuries later, not much has changed. The only difference is that we no longer attribute creativity to divine spirits, but to special individuals. We think that it’s only Beethoven, Picasso and Mozart who have creative genius.

Except that’s not true.

Today, we deconstruct and analyse even the most elusive of processes. We come to understand that there are specific behaviours and mindsets which anyone can use to reach a desired result.

Here are the seven behaviours of highly creative people.

1. Steal Like An Artist

There is a truth that the aspiring creative must first recognise. We need only turn to Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, to learn this:

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

One must realise that the idea and inspiration for a piece of work comes from many sources at once. Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of previous ideas. It’s why, quoting Jonathan Lethem, Kleon writes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”

Hence the recommendation — steal like an artist.

The good artist emulates the style of another as closely as he can. The great artist selects elements from others’ work and incorporates them into his own mix of influences. He does so tastefully, knowing that the right fusion will create something that is uniquely his, although not completely original.

So learn to steal like an artist — the entire world is up for grabs.

2. Always Be Researching

To find something worth stealing, one must look in the right places.

Input facilitates output. There’s no getting around that. The quality of the information one consumes determines the quality of work one will produce.In a world where noise often drowns out the signal, finding the best ideas can often be difficult.

There are two ways to get around this. The first is what Kleon calls branching, which is useful for exploring variations of an idea.

“Chew on one thinker. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go.”

That’s not the only method of sieving out valuable ideas. Originality stems from creating something that has never been seen before. Which is why bestselling author Ryan Holiday turns to the classics whenever he is in doubt.

Classic pieces are ‘classic’ for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time. The philosophy of Stoicism goes back to the ancient Greeks, but Holiday showed how those ideas are relevant today in his books Ego Is The Enemy and The Obstacle Is The Way. He didn’t come up with those ideas; he applied them.

It’s not enough to just observe your surroundings. The creative actively seek out the best ideas from all places. They’re always researching.

3. Enter New Domains

As we gain more experience and expertise in our work, we become more entrenched in a particular way of viewing the world. It makes us more efficient as we eliminate part of the thinking process, but the downside is that we become less receptive to new ideas and less responsive to changes.

It’s as Abraham Maslow observed: he that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.

That’s a death sentence for any creative who hopes to do good work. It’s also the surest way for a company to go out of business within the next few years.

Search engines had existed long before Google along, but were limited in use because the results displayed weren’t what users wanted. Google changed that when it adopted a new approach for returning results, choosing to focus on quality rather than popularity.

The inspiration for this change? Academic publishing.

In the academic world, one can easily determine the quality and relevance of a paper by how often it is cited. The best research papers rise to the top, while the more limited ones fade into obscurity. It was an elegant idea which Larry Page was only too happy to introduce into Google’s search algorithm. It’s now known in the world of Search-Engine Optimisation (SEO) as back-links.

Original and creative solutions don’t always come from reinventing the wheel. Rather, it comes from developing innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.

You can start by finding two completely different ideas and combining them.

Or as James Altucher puts it: have idea sex.

4. Be More Prolific

Thomas Edison was famous for being relentless in experimenting. The sheer quantity of his experiments would eventually result in him holding the record for having the most patents — over 1090 in his name. Picasso painted over 20,000 works. Bach composed at least one work a week.

Most of these works never amounted to much. They were creations which the average man on the street would never have taken a second look at. It turns out that none of us can accurately predict which ideas will hit and which will miss.

The solution? Produce so much work that one piece will inevitably stick. If only one idea for every ten that you come up with is good, all it means is that you should be working on a hundred ideas to come up with ten good ones.The same goes for writing, composing, or painting.

It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality — if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it — but this turns out to be false. Quantity breeds quality. The act of creating something, no matter how lousy, is practice for creating a better one.

And that’s why Steve Jobs rightly said, “real artists ship”.

5. Give Yourself Permission To Suck

Creating more work sounds like a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult in application. The single and most important reason is that we don’t give ourselves permission to suck.

Stephen Pressfield knows this too. IThe War of Art, he names the fear that all creatives have — he calls it the Resistance.

“The amateur, on the other hand, over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright.Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over-terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyses him.”

The problem is that we’ve been trained to tie our self-worth to our accomplishments. If that’s the case, who then, would willingly create a piece of work that would be used to judge him?

For this reason, Pressfield says that we must turn from amateur to professional. Only then can we produce truly creative work.

“Resistance wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can. The professional blows critics off. He doesn’t even hear them. Critics, he reminds himself, are the unwitting mouthpieces of Resistance.”

The way to creativity is to create a lot, and the way to create a lot is to give ourselves permission to suck. People will forget the mistakes and garbage we make, but will remember our best works.

6. Embrace Constraints

There are many barriers that can prevent us from creating a good piece of work. But the essence of creativity is making do with what we have. In fact, Austin Kleon suggests that it is necessary:

“Nothing is more paralysing than the idea of infinite possibilities. The best way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.”

He goes on to explain how having less helps us:

“One, getting really good at creative work requires a lot of time and attention, and that means cutting a lot of fluff out of your life so that you have that extra time and attention. And two, creativity in our work is often a matter of what we choose to leave out, rather than leave in — what is unspoken vs. spoken, what isn’t shown vs. what is, etc.”

Constraints are not the enemy. Many creatives understood that and went on to produce masterpieces because of constraints, not despite them.

Dr. Seuss was challenged to write a children’s book with only 50 words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which went on to sell over 200 million copies.Having constraints was so vital to fuelling creativity that Dr Seuss would set his own limits to work with for his other books. For example, The Cat In The Hat was written using only a first-grade vocabulary list.

But perhaps the most famous example is Hemingway’s six word story. Nobody is likely to forget For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn anytime soon.

7. Develop Your Ritual

Creativity doesn’t come easily.

The process is frustrating. There’s hardly a good barometer with which we can use to measure our progress. It’s elusive. It’s why we give ourselves a pass whenever we can’t come up with good ideas or do any creative work.

But what does the architect, the lawyer, or the doctor do when they aren’t inspired? They still get down to work.

It’s essential then that we create a routine or ritual which we can rely on. Systems work, and prevent us from falling victim to our mood. The painter, Chuck Close was unequivocal on this point:

“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great art [idea].[…]If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

Creativity is a process. There’s a system that one can apply methodically to generate good ideas. It’s not an esoteric field that is the sole domain of the genius. But one must do the work, no matter how difficult.

Just remember Chuck Close’s last line — if you hang in there, you will get somewhere.


National Geographic Redesigns Print Edition

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National Geographic‘s May issue marks the unveiling of its most significant redesign in nearly two decades, increasing the quality of its paper stock, introducing a new front-of-book section, and creating additional room for the photography and visual storytelling that are at the core of the brand. The iconic yellow border is retained and referenced. “The new National Geographic delivers the same sense of wonder readers expect but with a bolder, more provocative, more captivating eye,” said editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg.

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To develop the new design and the strategy around it, Goldberg, along with Emmet Smith, creative director for the magazine, teamed with Godfrey Dadich Partners who helped conceive the look  and feel of the new features, as well as a pair of new typefaces that debut with the redesign. “This next evolution of National Geographic brings to bear the full set of tools available to the contemporary magazine,” adds Smith. “It allows us to more fully showcase the spectacular work of our photographers, reporters, and artists — and, in turn, provide an even better magazine for our readers.”

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The design firm grew out of a project to redesign WIRED magazine when Scott Dadich was editor and asked Patrick Godfrey headed his own studio. “It was an honor for us to collaborate on such an iconic brand – to dive into a 130-year history of cartography, photography, typefaces, and journalism, then design a new kind of magazine for today,” comments Dadich. “Redesigning the magazine enhances its ability to deepen people’s understanding of the world and their role in it.”

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This article originally appeared in GDUSA.

60-Second Super-Cool Fold of the Week

Nearly 300 episodes strong, thousands of professionals around the globe look forward to Trish’s weekly dose of folded inspiration. Get a sample of her inspirations here and also at the VMA Design Conference June 15 in San Francisco.

Pentagram rebrands Battersea dogs and cats home to visualize “personality over sentiment”

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Pentagram has rebranded London’s dogs and cats charity Battersea, introducing a “family” of watercolour illustrated characters as its icons. Led by partners Marina Willer and Naresh Ramchandani, the rebrand of the renowned charity includes it dropping the “dogs and cats home” from its name, and introducing a tagline “Here for every dog and cat”. The identity intends to visualise the charity’s commitment to unconditionally care for all the animals that come through its doors.

The rebrand retains Battersea’s signature blue colour, used across abstract illustrations to represent a variety of dogs and cats, and subtly communicate the charity’s story. The illustrations are pared back and devoid of facial features, while remaining expressive and showing individuality. “They appeal to people’s compassion and humanity, without victimising or stigmatising the animals,” Pentagram explains. The sharp wordmark aims to balance the aesthetic of these hand-drawn images, employing the typeface Franklin Gothic, which Pentagram says “injects an element of authority” to the identity.

The thinking behind removing “dogs and cats home” from the name stems from the word “home” implying a permanent dwelling for the animals, when in fact the intention of the charity is to re-home them with families. Pentagram also says it wrongly implies the charity operates in just one location, as opposed to its three sites.

Pentagram worked with Battersea to develop the brand strategy, tone of voice and visual identity to present the charity “as both a compassionate caregiver and a leading authority in animal welfare, creating a brand that strikes a balance between warmth and expertise,” the design studio states. Its approach was to “strike out against” negative connotations used by the charity sector such as “shock tactics, well-worn tropes, and euphemistic and overly-sentimental language,” preferring a honest and straightforward image. This includes a suite of portrait photography that “puts personality over sentiment”, showing the eclectic creatures that can be found in its homes.

The branding was also designed to be flexible, to adapt to various campaigns and fundraising initiatives, for example Muddy Dog. For this campaign, the identity is given a “playful spin” using a hand-drawn typeface “Battersea Paws” and tongue-in-cheek headlines.

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Coca-Cola Packaging To Sing a Different Tune

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This summer, Coca-Cola will again try to teach the world to sing — this time with a little help from its bottles and cans. In a new phase of its “Share a Coke” campaign, the cola giant will put song lyrics pulled from more than 70 popular songs on packaging. Lyrics cover a range of music, from rock ‘n’ roll classics like Queen’s “We are the Champions” to patriotic songs such as “Proud to Be An American” by Lee Greenwood. Coke will also include lyrics from some of its iconic campaigns, such as I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke.

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The campaign, called “Share a Coke and a Song,” will be supported by music-themed spots, social media and a summer-long experiential tour. The campaign will encompass Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life, advancing a new one-brand strategy that unites multiple varieties together in the same marketing.

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Agencies on the campaign include Wieden+Kennedy, Portland for creative; Universal McCann for media;Arc Worldwide for shopper marketing; Cornerstone for music; Fast Horse for PR and FortyFour and Irban Group for e-commerce. Coke plans to extend its campaign to mobile by encouraging consumers to use the Shazam app to scan specially marked 20-ounce bottles and in-store signage. That will allow users to record a 15-second digital lip-sync video that can be shared on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke, according to the brand.

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This post was originally viewed on gdusa.

Creative Thinking Skills

Creative thinking skills use very different approaches to critical thinking skills. They involve a much more relaxed, open, playful approach. This can require some risk-taking. Creative thinking skills involve such approaches as:

  • Looking for many possible answers rather than one.
  • Allowing yourself to make wild and crazy suggestions as well as those that seem sensible.
  • Not judging ideas early in the process – treat all ideas as if they may contain the seeds of something potentially useful.
  • Allowing yourself to doodle, daydream or play with a theory or suggestion.
  • Being aware that these approaches necessarily involve making lots of suggestions that are unworkable and may sound silly.
  • Making mistakes.
  • Learning from what has not worked as well as what did.

In this section, you can learn more about the processes and what creative thinking really involves:

A state of mind

Creative thinking skills are as much about attitude and self-confidence as about talent. Creativity is often less ordered, structured and predictable. As you are not looking for ‘one’ answer, you are likely to come up with lots of suggestions that are not ‘right’. This can be difficult if you are more used to analytical and logical approaches. It can also be experienced as ‘risky’ as the prospect of making a mistake or not coming up with an answer is more likely.

Creativity and emotions

Strong emotional self-management is often needed in order to allow creative thinking states to emerge. It is important to be able to cope with risk, confusion, disorder and feeling that you are not progressing quickly.

Creative thinking techniques

There is no limit to ways there are of thinking creatively. Some techniques you can begin with are:

  • Brainstorm ideas on one topic onto a large piece of paper: don’t edit these. Just write them down.
  • Allowing yourself to play with an idea whilst you go for a walk.
  • Draw or paint a theory on paper.
  • Ask the same question at least twenty times and give a different answer each time.
  • Combine some of the features of two different objects or ideas to see if you can create several more.
  • Change your routine. Do things a different way. Walk a different route to college.
  • Let your mind be influenced by new stimuli such as music you do not usually listen to.
  • Be open to ideas when they are still new: look for ways of making things work and pushing the idea to its limits.
  • Ask questions such as ‘what if….?’ Or ‘supposing….?’.

Combine analytical and creative thinking skills

Many important breakthroughs in science and innovation have resulted from:

  • Focusing on a subject in a logical, analytical way for some time, thinking through possible solutions.
  • Daydreaming or distracting the mind, but holding the same problem lightly ‘at the back of the mind’.
  • The answer has often emerged on dreams or daydreams when the innovator was not trying so hard to find the answer. However, the daydream on its own did not achieve anything.

Keep an ideas book

Inspiration can strike at any time. Ideas can also slip away very easily. Keep a small notebook to hand so you can jot down your ideas straight away.

This content has been written by Stella Cottrell, author of Critical Thinking Skills and The Study Skills Handbook.

Learn Typography

For many people, trying to learn typography is a dark art. It’s mysterious, even intimidating for some. This isn’t an experience that I’ve imagined, it’s one that I’ve gone through personally. As a young student studying graphic design at Art Center College of Design, I felt intimidated by the work that I saw in the student gallery. After all, this was some of the best, most progressive work that was on display. I remember walking by the gallery and thinking to myself, one day, I hope my work will be as good as the work that I saw.

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’ve seen a few portfolios on Behance or Pinterest and thought the same thing. How is it that someone, who has access to the same tools, fonts and images as me, do such incredible work? What’s the difference? How did they learn typography? What makes them so special and me less so? The answer came to me in the form of a petite, well dressed man with a British accent. His name was Simon Johnston and I was fortunate enough to have him as my Type I instructor. I didn’t know it then, but that class was about to fundamentally unlock the mysteries of design to me and my fellow classmates. I would actually learn how type works.

The first assignment he gave was perfectly designed. It taught us the principles of typography: legibility, alignment, contrast, spacing, scale, proportion and balance. I would later learn that the assignment that he gave us was the same one given at the Basel School of Design— founded by legendary designers Armin Hoffman and Emil Ruder. As I completed each week’s assignment, I felt my skill and confidence with type grow. It was an amazing feeling. I could now look at books that featured amazing designers, and feel that I knew the invisible principles at work. I could see the grid structure. I felt like Neo in the Matrix when he  was first able to see the code that made up the virtual world. It was truly exhilarating.

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After that semester, I remembered returning to the student gallery and looked at the work again. My feeling had changed. Don’t get me wrong, the work was still amazing, but now, instead of wishing to do work as good as what I saw, I realized that great work was achievable. In that moment, a quiet, introverted student, became a confident designer, eager to apply his knowledge to all kinds of design problems. Learning about type and typography taught me about space and proportion, something that could be applied to virtually anything. I’ve used what I learned to design furniture (book shelves, desks, etc…), building facades, interior spaces and everything else that has a visual form.

Now, years have passed, I’m running a motion design studio. But the one thing that keeps coming up, with the influx of new designers, to our shop, is that they lack some of the fundamentals of typography—they lacked the same knowledge that I got so many years ago. I would sit down with my designers, help them learn typography, and go over basic principles with them. At one point, I even conducted classes at our office to train our staff in typography. After doing this for a few years, I got tired of saying the same thing over and over again as each new wave of designers came into our office. One night, I sat down and wrote a few key tips on typography. This document turned into the “Typography Manual”, which then turned into an animated video. Surprisingly, the video took off on Facebook garnering over 350k views and 10k shares. We touched a nerve.

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I started to get emails and messages telling me how they learned more about using type in that one document/video than every other source combined. Wow! That’s pretty cool. I got more messages asking for book recommendations and courses to take. Honestly, I didn’t know of such a resource. There were good books on the history of type, grid structure, but I didn’t know of a single resources that actually helped people learn typography the way I learned it.

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Learn Typography - Slide Preview
Designed by Josef Müller-Brockmann

This has led me to where we are today—the creation of the Design Fundamentals series. It’s a four part course on Typography (repetition and contrast, grid construction and application, typographic details and optical adjustments, and layout) with live work sessions (typography posters) where you actually get to see and hear us work through a design problem. I’ve combed through books, done the research, and applied everything that I’ve learned about typography in this one class. The Typography course answers these fundamental questions:

  • What typeface should I use? Do you have recommendations?
  • How is the Golden Ratio calculated?
  • What is the Fibonacci series and how do I use it?
  • How do I use grids in my layout?
  • What are book recommendations where I can learn more?
  • Why are certain characters drawn that way? They look odd to me?
  • How do I achieve optical balance in designing logos and letterforms?
  • How do I mix typefaces?
  • + more

In a way, it’s my attempt to recreate the learning experience that I had at Art Center. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.

You can support the Futur, and learn typography by purchasing the course now.

AUTHOR CHRIS DO

This article originally appeared on Futur’s Website. You can hear more from Furtur’s Chris Do at the VMA Design Conference on June 15th in San Francisco. Join us.