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Design student typographic survival kit

Here is some advice for students starting a new term on how fonts can help your studies, from Sarah Hyndman’s book Why Fonts Matter.

1. Use fonts to give your words a personality

Helvetica, Times New Roman and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The barman turns to Comic Sans and says ‘sorry we don’t serve your type in here’.

This familiar joke demonstrates that fonts have personalities that we recognise easily. Some are unassuming, whilst others are larger-than-life like Mike Lacher’s version of Comic Sans, who says, ‘People love me. Why? Because I’m fun. I’m the life of the party’, then goes out and gets drunk with Papyrus.

2. A font could make you appear more intelligent

When student Phil Renaud was nearing the end of his third year at university he noticed that his grade average had improved. He wondered why, since he did not think he was putting any more effort into studying or writing. He realised that the one thing that had changed over time was his choice of font, and so he looked back at the 52 essays he had submitted and compared the grades and typefaces. He found that when he used Georgia his grade average was A, with Times New Roman it was A-minus, whilst the essays written in Trebuchet only averaged B-minus.

3. Change the font to improve your memory

An unfamiliar typeface slows our reading down and makes us pay attention, which takes us off autopilot and our brain invests greater time and attention in what we are reading. A high school in Ohio discovered that when students studied from texts in an unfamiliar font, their exam results were higher than those who had been given the books in a more familiar and readable one. Try switching your notes into a difficult-to-read font when you are trying to memorise them.

4. Use a font to make a difficult task seem easier

Psychologists at the University of Michigan ran an experiment to see if they could motivate a group of 20-year-old college students to exercise by giving them instructions for an exercise routine printed in one of two typefaces. They found that those who read the instructions in Arial, the easy-to-read typeface, estimated the exercise routine would take around half the time to do, and said they would be more likely to incorporate it into their daily routine than those who read the instructions in Mistral, a hard-to-read font. The participants misread the ease of reading the instructions for the ease of actually doing the exercises.

When you are working on a topic you find difficult, try selecting an easy-to-read font while you work, like copywriter Michael Everett who creates his invoices in Century Gothic because this makes the task seem less of a chore.

5. Avoid font faux pas

Select the ‘wrong’ typeface and you can unwittingly commit a font faux pas with the potential to overshadow, or even undermine, the credibility of your message. In 2012 CERN announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, or ‘God’ particle. This was a momentous scientific event but, within hours of the news, “Comic Sans”, the font in which the announcement was made, was trending higher on Twitter than the discovery itself. It became a major talking point that such an important scientific breakthrough should be announced in a style inspired by comic books.

Find out more in Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman, Penguin/Random House.

Win a student survival kit

Head over to Type Tasting on Instagram to win a design student survival kit containing a signed copy of Why Fonts Matter and essential goodies including a typographic tea towel, sketchbook and stickers to tag your belongings. September 2017.

Archik Siya, Why Fonts MatterShashital Tejusvin, Why Fonts MatterKoshe Prajakta, Why Fonts Matter

Font of Coincidence
This is a story of my trip to teach in India. While I was there I met up with family of friends and discovered, to my surprise, that my book cover had been redesigned by a whole class of students for their typography exam that week.

“The task for our exam was to design the cover for a book called Why Fonts Matter using typography. As I started scribbling out my roughs I thought about what typography is and what it can achieve; every font is different and makes you feel a distinct emotion or connects with you in a certain way.” 

Words by Siya Archik, a second year graphic design student in Mumbai.

I have been studying design for two years and my course is different, unique, insanely creative and fun. But along with the fun comes a lot of hard work; hours and days of work created by hand. We put a great deal of thought into every idea that we execute—to make the final product as attractive and innovative as possible. I chose this course of study because creativity has no boundaries; it is something that lets you express your thoughts and emotions in infinitely creative ways and on any surface.

In our course we study calligraphy & typography; anatomy; packaging, information design and communication design. Each is distinctive in its own way, but all revolve around the same design principles. For the first two years we do everything by hand—from rendering large posters to reproducing the text in a newspaper at actual size, carefully hand-drawing every letter so it is perfect.

Coca Cola design by Siya Archik
Design for a Coca Cola can by Siya Archik.

Our typography assignments vary from kinetic typography to expressive typography and logo design. We research artists who have helped to expand the field of typography to increase our knowledge, and each assignment emphasises the importance of different fonts in our designs, without which they would mean nothing.

I think typography is important because it is required for anything and everything related to design. From creating logos to packaging, all require knowledge of different fonts and how to use them effectively, so as to make our designs stand out from the rest. This makes typography such an integral part of what we do as designers.

During our recent exam week a friend of my family in England, a typographer from London called Sarah Hyndman, came to visit as a guest lecturer at another design college in Mumbai. I was hoping to meet and talk to her about typography but was not sure whether I would have time because I was so busy taking exams.

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By Sarah Hyndman

The new book by Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman will be published by Laurence King Publishing on 17th April 2017. This is an activity book that gathers up typefaces into themes such as ‘Fonts of knowledge’, ‘Rebellious types’ and the ‘Wild Wild West’. Each chapter starts with an illustrated type sampler and then takes you through exercises that teach the origins of the typefaces and give you space to draw them for yourselves. Here’s a link to pre-order, it on Amazon, and keep an eye out for launch events and book signings nearer the time.

‘How to Draw Type and Influence People’ is written and illustrated by Sarah Hyndman. “This brand new book provides an exciting and interactive way to learn about typography. Packed with fun creative exercises to help you discover your own style and create new typefaces” Laurence King.

Sarah Hyndman How to Draw Type and Influence People Sarah Hyndman How to Draw Type and Influence People Sarah Hyndman How to Draw Type and Influence People

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By Sarah Hyndman

Do You Judge a Wine by its Label?
Would you like us to host a wine & type tasting for your Christmas do? Find out more.

We had a fantastic Wine and Type Tasting event at Laithwaite’s Arch with Bankside Design District for the London Design Festival. Here is a glimpse of the evening, all the photos are by David Owens. There will be a second tasting on Tuesday 27th September and a Christmas one is planned on 8th December. Find out more here. 

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“Surprising and very interesting” Richard, “Fascinating” Cherry, “Illuminating” Piers, “Intriguing” Clare, “Very different but rewarding” Lee, “Fun and informative” Sara, “Really interesting! Surprisingly scientific” Rachael, “It was fabulous, surprising and delicious!” Syd.

“More than an excuse for weeknight drinking, wine was a clever example of the influence of typeface … don’t worry; you don’t need to be a typography nerd” Digital Arts

“It was certainly an eye-opener to realise that so much of what we taste is influenced by our other senses” SEEN London

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Wine and Type Tasting with Sarah Hyndman   Wine and Type Tasting with Sarah Hyndman   Wine and Type Tasting with Sarah Hyndman

 

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By Sarah Hyndman

Type Tasting founder Sarah is on a mission to make typography fun and engaging for everybody, not just designers. She specialises in making the complex topic accessible with originality, humour, a dash of theatre and lashings of audience participation. She delivers interactive talks and events with games and demonstrations that inform, entertain and challenge your preconceptions.

Sarah has created a programme of four exciting events for the London Design Festival this year. Each event takes a unique approach to exploring type: discover how it influences us as type consumers; create customised letterforms from different times in history; learn how to choose fonts and use type to communicate effectively; taste the connection between type and all your senses (whilst enjoying delicious wine).

Would you like us to host a wine & type tasting for your Christmas do? Find out more.

DISCOVER / CREATE / LEARN / TASTE
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What’s Your Type?
Learn how to choose fonts with confidence in an intensive and fun one-hour workshop. Take part in experiments as you create your own set of tasting notes based on latest research results. Become part of the discovery process as we prove that a typeface can transform the meaning of your words—that it’s not just what you say it’s the way that you say it.

LEARN a proven process for choosing a typeface.
FIND OUT why different fonts are suitable for different occasions.
UNDERSTAND how a font can look cheap, expensive, calm, angry or even alter your experiences.
CREATE your own ‘tasting notes’ to refer to when choosing fonts.
• TAKE HOME tasting notes, certificate, spot prizes and a type sampler.

Wednesday 21st September.
12pm (sold out), 2pm (sold out), 5pm (sold out), 7pm (sold out), 9pm.
Bedales, Bankside Design District, London Design Festival 2016.

Workshops are led by Why Fonts Matter author and Type Tasting founder Sarah Hyndman who is involved in extensive research quantifying how we respond to different typefaces.

“Type Tasting surveys have given the graphic design community comprehensive information to use as hard evidence” Communication Arts magazine.

Whats Your Type? workshops

What's Your Type?

This workshop is ideal for students, designers who would like a refresher based on research, startups branding their business, and the typographically curious.

“Clever, insightful and original, left a lasting buzz and excitement behind!” Charlotte Godfrey, BBC Bristol

“Sarah’s talk was a game-changer” Lily C, at TYPO San Francisco

Create your own tasting notes

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