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Body copy: Typography and the human scale

Grant, Roderick Body copy: Typography and the human scale. OCAD University. (Unpublished)


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Typography engages all media, crossing a broad continuum of scales and levels of interaction. While design education manages to keep pace with the transitions and implications of evolving media, a shift in the embodiment of information through typographic study is still necessary. Such a shift is no longer solely a matter of introducing new technologies or techniques, but of embodying tectonic or topological points of view in studio practice. Beginning students in graphic design should confront typography that behaves according to existing expectations in print and digital media, but also engages realms of interaction that are architectural in scale and reach. As material development pushes the potential of architectural skins hitherto seen as static to become dynamic and informatic – the study of typography needs to make a reciprocal change in its pedagogy.

The typographic sequence of study at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) follows a
historically accepted course of studio practice that closely outlines an internal understanding of
typography – the means, logics and strategies for the combination and integration of alphabetical and numerical forms for visual communication. While format – page, space, environment – are given significance in this approach, an exposure to spatial realms far beyond the page are necessary to broaden the discourse of the role typography can play in our increasingly mediated cities. The confines of formal study in small, intensive typographic exercises should be supplemented by the inclusion of larger formats that serve as a preface to scales of engagement that address the body. This paper will argue that in addition to investigations that address the symbolic and systematic aspects of typography, significance must also be given to projects that engage the human body in scale and quality. While the device driven dissemination of information now crosses and integrates previously distinct channels of media, they remain largely of a similar limited scale and experience. The pedagogical evolution from a typography of the eye and hand, to one that integrates the body as a whole may be considered timely as our collective attention is being pulled from civic environment to virtual device.

A case study will detail the inclusion digital fabrication with photographic and cinematic points of view into a project aimed at the generation of a typography inclusive of the body. The study will demonstrate how the broadening of introductory typographic education can engage students in formal and intellectual processes that are inclusive of architectural scales and implications.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Graphic Design, Typography, Design pedagogy, and Architecture Public Spaces
Divisions: Faculty of Design
Faculty of Design > Graphic Design
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 14:29
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 20:00
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/926

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