Typography

TYPOGRAPHY: COMM 6570/4570 | Sage 4711 | Mon. & Thurs., 10-11:50 AM |  Spring term annually | Cross-listed (Students cannot obtain credit for both courses.) | 3 or 4 credits | Undergraduate prerequisite: COMM 2610

INSTRUCTOR: Audrey G. Bennett, Associate Professor | Office: Sage 4708 | URL: baohouse.org | E-mail: bennett@rpi.edu | Office Hours: Wed. 10-11 AM

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Typography studies the form and function of alphabetic and pictographic systems in English-speaking society. The course aims to imbue in you a critical perspective on the role typography plays in the history and sustenance of civilization and the propagation of ideas throughout society. You will read historical, theoretical and evidence-based literature to glean principles for designing communicatively effective type. Verbal and visual assignments will enforce your understanding of typographic principles and grammar for use in print and digital interfaces.

LEARNING OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENT MEASURES: Upon completion of the course, you will be able to manage a typographic project from conception to production within a limited timeframe; communicate understanding of print and digital typographic principles and grammar verbally (orally and in writing) and visually; render type digitally using code and in print using the industry-standard applications for typesetting. To that end, I will evaluate you on your ability to achieve the following milestones:

MILESTONES 1-4: The Typographic Principles

Apply principles of typography to the iterative design of a self-promotional kit that includes a logotype, business card, cover letter, resume, and a digital portfolio interface to begin showcasing your work. Milestone one is the logotype. Milestone two is the business card, cover letter, and revised logotype. Milestone three is the resume and revised business card, cover letter, and a logotype. Milestone four is a digital portfolio interface accompanied by a revised resume, business card, cover letter, and a logotype. Use up to two fonts for this series of milestones. Keep the choice of font(s) consistent from milestone to milestone in order to create a unified presentation.

MILESTONE 5: Iconic Glyphs

With the rise of big data and globalization, picture-based glyphs are resurfacing to serve meaningful roles for the representation and communication of large amounts of content across cultures, intellectually and geographically. Individually or in groups of up to 3 respond to the following question with image-based glyphs:

How can a system of pictorial, representational or non-representational glyphs be adapted or innovated to communicate large amounts of information or data in an aesthetic, organized, hierarchical, readable, legible, and user-friendly way?

If you choose to respond verbally, by the deadline in the schedule, write, illustrate, and typeset a paper that addresses the question. The paper should be 3500 words (graduates) | 1500 words (undergraduates) not including references. Typeset your paper in a way that exemplifies the typographic principles you’ve learned in the class. You must use supporting graphics to illustrate your argument. You must also support your argument with references and citations to 30 (graduates) | 15 (undergraduates) evidence-based or otherwise credible sources including books, journal articles, and no more than eight media sources. Use MLA style to format in-text citations and the Works Cited section.

If you choose to respond visually to the question, you are required to submit by the deadline in the schedule a design of a new glyph system that you present as a poster.

MILESTONE 6: Attend class and be prepared to participate thoughtfully, respectfully, and according to the guidelines in the course schedule. You will exceed expectations for this milestone when you attend and participate in all class sessions or have no more than one excused absence. You will meet expectations for this milestone with two to three absences. You will fail to meet expectations for this milestone with four or more absences. Being late three times by 15 minutes or over will constitute an unexcused absence. Leaving before the end of class (11:50 AM) or taking a break from class for more than 15 minutes will also constitute an unexcused absence.

GRADING: Good typographic design requires iteration. You will receive an “E (Exceeds expectations)” based on how well you follow the principles of good professional etiquette and typographic design (missing no more than 2 given criteria from each category–visual and verbal). Otherwise, you will earn an “M (Meets expectations)”. If you fail to submit your assignment, then you will receive an “F (Fails to meet expectations).” If you get an “F” or an “M” on Milestones 1-4 and 5, you have all term to revise and resubmit for a better grade.

YOU WILL EARN AN “A” in the course if you exceed expectations for Milestone 1-6.

YOU WILL EARN AN “A-” in the course if you meet expectations for Milestone 6 and exceed expectations for the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

YOU WILL EARN A “B+” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 and exceed expectations for four of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestone.

YOU WILL EARN A “B” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 and exceed expectations for three of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN A “B-” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 and exceed expectations for two of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN A “C+” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 but fail to meet expectations for one of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN A “C” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 but fail to meet expectations for two of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN A “C-” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 but fail to meet expectations for three of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN A “D” in the course if you at least meet expectations for Milestone 6 but fail to meet expectations for four of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)–at least meeting expectations for the remaining milestones.

YOU WILL EARN AN “F” in the course if you fail to meet expectations for Milestone 6 and fail to meet expectations for four or more of the remaining five Milestones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Please note that I am required to give you an EWS for excessive lateness, absences, or poor quality work. If you have questions about your grade at any time during the semester, please contact me immediately by email or drop in during office hour.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: You must complete your assignments with the industry-standard software applications for typesetting (Adobe InDesign) and drawing (Adobe Illustrator). Visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/buying-guide-education.html to pay for a cloud subscription to the Adobe Creative Suite. The suite of software applications are also available in Sage 4510, Vast Lab (Sage 2411), and the VCC in the evening and weekends. You are expected to have the technical skills necessary to complete the coursework. I will not provide advanced instruction on how to use software during class time. If you require more training beyond the basic training that I provide, you may opt to pay a discounted subscription for software training tutorials via Lynda.com. There is also an optional technical training workbook for purchase via the Rensselaer Bookstore. Bring your laptop to every class since the physical classroom is not a computer lab.

COURSE TEXTS: The following primary required readings for this course are available from the bookstore:

Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004. Print.

Lupton, Ellen. Type on Screen: A Guide for Designers, Developers, Writers, and Students. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2014. Print

I will also require graduate students to read secondary texts of their choice that extends the conversation started through the assigned readings. You are to read each required text before the class in which we discuss it. You will have an opportunity to lead a class discussion of the required texts in a small group once over the course of the semester. Plan for discussions running no more than 60 minutes. The required readings are available in soft copy via the course website. The course schedule shows the deadlines for completing each required reading and milestone assignment. It is a tentative schedule, as I may add supplemental required readings and guest lectures as needed throughout the term.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: A sketchbook, a correction pen (e.g. BIC’s Wite-Out Shake’n Squeeze)

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Student–teacher relationships function well through trust. For example, you must trust that I have made appropriate decisions about the structure and content of the course; and, I must trust that the assignments, which you turn in, are your own. Acts that violate this trust undermine the educational process. In this class, all assignments, which you turn in for a grade, must represent your work. Submission of any assignment that you plagiarize will result in a penalty of failure of the course. The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities defines forms of academic dishonesty and misconduct, and you should make yourself familiar with them. If you commit any act of academic dishonesty or misconduct, you will fail the course.

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