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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.

mumbai-slideshow

By Sarah Hyndman

Client: Ecole Intuit Lab, Mumbai, India
Duration: One week
Participants: 60 year II and year III students
Read an interview with the students

A week long course for second and third year students at a graphic design institute in Mumbai.

The overarching theme for the week was to explore how typography creates an emotional connection by evoking mood, creating trust and conveying personality. The structure of each day included lectures, creative sessions, individual feedback, experiments and group discussions. Information was underpinned by scientific understanding and results of Type Tasting surveys and experiments.

The course culminated in a final project to design the packaging for a product created to indulge a mood. An invitation to deliver the monthly Master Talk provided an exciting opportunity to connect with the Mumbai design and typography community.

Feedback
“Instructive and fun… Thank you for your professionalism and your teaching skills” Yan Garin, Director.
“It was awesome taking part in the experiments and listening to really cool theories”
“Opened my eyes up to the power of typography”
“Why isn’t typography always taught this way?”

A full report on the course coming soon, to be written by the students, see below for full course details.

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Watch a 3 minute edit of the Master Talk given by Sarah Hyndman at the end of the week to industry leaders and students.

“Sarah it was wonderful session. Students will learn lot from your way of expressing types” Sarang Kulkarni, co-founder of Ek Type type foundry.

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Wine & Type Tasting evening

By Sarah Hyndman

Do you Judge a Wine by its Label?
Wine & Type Tasting, 8th December, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, £40 (sold out)
A sellout success at the London Design Festival this year
Book now

“Frankly brilliant idea of combining a type workshop with a wine tasting” It’s Nice That

Are you looking for a winter warming treat with your friends, or a unique and entertaining event for your team and clients? Join us for an innovative type and wine tasting experience and take a journey of discovery through a selection of superb wines as you explore what the design of the label tells you about what you drink.

“I learnt so much while having fun and enjoying delicious wines” A Glimpse of London

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How much does a bottle cost? If it looks expensive will you enjoy it more? What does the type tell you about its provenance? Try your hand at wine and font pairing as you identify the key flavours. Ultimately is the label just there to inform you, or can it transform your tasting experience?

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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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FINAL WEEKEND
It’s the final weekend to purchase a copy of the first edition of The Type Taster: Why Fonts Influence You

Books purchased this weekend will all be signed and have free UK postage
This first, limited edition of the book is only available until the end of Sunday 25th October 2015.

From 28th January 2016 The Type Taster will be published as Why Fonts Matter under the Virgin Books imprint of Penguin Random House.

Click here to pre-order Why Fonts Matter

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The People vs Graphic Design

In this Monotype session a panel of graphic design experts looks at how graphic design works in public spaces and also interrogates people’s perception of graphic design as a discipline.

Panellists Tony Brook, Jonathan Barnbrook, Jim Sutherland, Sarah Hyndman and Patrick Myles look at how graphics can go beyond the page or the poster to have a deep impact on public life.

Find out how designs are created for physical environments, how the public can get involved, and why a piece of graphics can be more permanent than a building.

Chaired by Angus Montgomery, editor Design Week

Date: 19th May
Time: 12.00 – 13.00
Click here to find out more

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