Course Spotlight: Advanced Typography with Steve Child

graphic design by Steve Child

Highly accomplished designer, fine artist, and instructor Steve Child will be teaching Advanced Typography this spring. (Check out the cool poster he created for us above). Learn more about him and the course:

What makes you passionate about design?

I’m a person who needs to create. I love to brew a cup of coffee, put on my music, and get working on a project. I really enjoy the process and I derive great pleasure from bringing an idea to life. It is fun to take a problem and work through its solution. It isn’t always easy. It can be fraught with difficulties. But if I embrace those obstacles and see them as part of the process, I can learn and benefit from them as well.

I think the work gets really interesting for me when I can bring my fine arts sensibilities and mix it in with my design skills. This is an area I’m further exploring in my own work. When I can mix genres and styles together to create something fresh and surprising. Design, like any other discipline, can allow you to dig deeply into the nature of life. If you can approach the process with both your “big” mind and your “practical” mind, usually something interesting happens.

What brought you to this field?

I was trained as a fine artist. My degrees are in painting and drawing and I spent a lot of time in the studio. I was a very dedicated artist, but I had no way to make a living after I graduated. My roommates were designers and illustrators and through their help I began to work in design to pay the rent. As much as I had a grasp of art history and contemporary art and an understanding of the visual language, I had no education or practical experience in design, so I began at the very bottom and learned everything on the job. After 4 years I became an art director in a health care agency and learned a lot about the advertising industry and the design process.

After graduate school, I moved to Los Angeles. In just a few short years all the tools and processes for creating design had changed, so it was necessary for me to learn the software tools. I went to Art Center College of Design to gain my digital expertise and shortly after that I got a job at the in-house agency 5555 at Paramount Pictures. I spent the next 10 years creating entertainment advertising. I’ve been teaching, freelancing and creating my own work since then.

Tell us about an especially rewarding project you’ve worked on and why you enjoyed it so much.

I was recently asked to design street banners for the city of Long Beach. They wanted me to create a lot of different solutions for 3 different neighborhoods: 4th Street Arts District downtown, North Village and Virginia Village. I was given quite a lot of freedom to search for an appropriate answer that would inspire and enliven the neighborhood. Once the 8 pieces were chosen and produced, politicians were there to officially put them up at a ceremony. I genuinely felt a great sense of satisfaction that I was able to use my skills to create something meaningful for the community in these neighborhoods.

Why is your course, Advanced Typography, important for my design education?

Almost everything you create in design will have some typography in it. Type drives most messages and knowing how to organize and express meaning through typography is a fundamental skill that you must acquire if you are to succeed. Design firms look for good typographic thinkers in their hires. They want designers who understand the history and style of their type choices and use them with skill and thoughtfulness. We’ll discuss both the theoretical as well as the nuts and bolts of typography.

Should I be intimidated by the 6 meeting/6 hour format?

We’ll make it fun! I hope it is a class that you look forward to and that the things you learn will stay with you for your life as a designer. We’ll use the format as a workshop and will include time to critique our work in-depth. Having that much time together will allow us to really concentrate and get deeply involved in the process. It will also allow us to work one on one and as a group to share ideas. This class should catapult your growth as a designer. We’ll make sure to take breaks and refresh.

Do you have a sample assignment?

One project will involve creating an exhibition foldout announcement. Each step of the process will be thoroughly studied. Students will first go through a rigorous process of developing many different greyscale layouts based on typographic structural systems. These systems are organizational ideas that allow a designer to strengthen their compositional skills and push their preconceived notions of what type can do. The devices are a platform for studying hierarchy, alignment, proximity and other fundamental elements and lead to beautiful and effective layouts. Students then carefully choose appropriate type, develop a cohesive greyscale composition, create a color palette and refine the final solution.

Enroll in Advanced Typography today!


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