The Weingart-Typography Classes Basel  
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Project. Independent Typography Project

Purpose. To explore and research the possibilities of typography. Students can develop their own project to develop their unique typographic skills.

Assignment. This is one of the independent typography projects done for Wolfgang Weingart’s typography class for graduate-level students. The process was not from a programmed syllabus. Every student created their own project, design philosophy, and structure. All the steps below are flexible.

1. Find subject and material. Students select their own subject and material to explore and experiment with. (In the example shown,"My Painted Budget of February," by the student Kelly M. Choi, a page was chosen from a budget book for the month of February.)

2. Begin working without thinking too much. Rather than having a clear goal in the beginning, begin the projects without any plan, guideline, or idea about the final. In this way ideas can come up in the middle of the work or changed from the original plan. This opens up a wider perspective on the assignment.

3. Searching for possibilities: continue, continue, and continue. This step is a main part of the project and is very time consuming. Since there is no deadline for the project, it usually goes more than a semester or even up to two years. Using every possible method, try anything with the chosen materials. The important thing here is that the selected images should tell a story by themselves. The example shown started from very simple try-outs such as drawing lines, connecting elements, and on to more complicated ones like tearing, cut and pasting, and rearranging.

Or begin by making images which somehow interact with the structure of the original, which will free you from caring about the original structure and allow you to become more flexible with the material. Both hand and computer techniques can be used.

4. Selecting: learning to look and judge. Make selections from the hundreds of images created from stage three. The instructor and the student can make selections together. Sometimes small selections can be made during the stage three. The numbers of selections vary case by case.

5. Groupings: Make groups out of the selected images. In this case twelve groups are shown with each group representing different design issues: Steps, Connection, Scales, Construction, Destroying, Growing, Tension, Zigzag, Movement, Shining, Covering, and Reconstructing.

6. Sequencing: create order for the groups. This step is necessary if you intend to make these collages into a book.

7. Writing your thoughts: creating contents. Writings include introduction to the book and text next to the collages. Optional.

8. Designing a book: from page layout to cover design. This phase includes micro and macro typography.

9. Making a book: from printing to binding. Using the school facilities of printing and binding the project is brought to completion.

Format. Open

Time. One or two semesters.

Independent Typography Project

Wolfgang Weingart, born 1941, completed his typesetting apprenticeship in hand composition in 1963. He taught typography at the University of Art and Design Basel from 1968 to 2004 and, at the invitation of Armin Hofmann, was an instructor during the Yale Summer Program in Graphic Design in Brissago from 1974 through 1996. For the last thirty years Weingart has lectured and taught extensively in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. He is represented in the permanent collections of museums and private galleries and has received design awards from the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, in Bern. Internationally exhibited, Weingart's publications and posters have been reproduced in numerous design references and journals.

Weingart was a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale/AGI from 1978 to 1999, on the editorial board of Typographische Monatsblätter from 1970 to 1988, and has contributed over twenty supplements for the educational series Typographic Process and TM/communication.

A self-taught designer who fosters imagination and insight, Weingart teaches his students to teach themselves. His experimental work in typography has influenced the course of design history in the last decades of the 20th century.

Today Weingart no longer teaches at the Basel School of Design and has created his own workshop in Basel.

Student Designer. Kelly Moonkyung Choi
Typefaces: Personal Preferences

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