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Project. Typographic Book Cover

Purpose. To explore the possibilities of type and design within the restrictions of a given paper format, a provided text, and fixed type sizes.

Assignment. Examine the text and decide how it should be divided with type choices for hierarchy, logic, content and clarity. Explore a variety of type faces and type sizes with respect to the given format. Through comparison arrive at a type choice, not a type composition, that harmonizes with the given format. Limit your choice to not more than three sizes. This type choice will remain the same throughout the assignment. The only differences will be in the variety of arrangements and compositions of the type in the space.

Cut your typeset copy, separating the words. Arrange the type by hand on paper and fix them with tape. Make multiple compositions exploring different arrangements. At the end make a selection of the better ones. From those choose one as the best. Set that composition on the computer and print it out. This one composition will be the basis of all your further typographic studies with first line, second shape, third screens, and fourth color.

For line, draw over your printed type composition. For shape, print in black and white an original and an inverted copy of your chosen composition. Cut shapes from the black and white versions and fix them with tape. For screens, print a variety of gray values using different halftone screens available to the printer with your type composition overlaid in black and white. With these prints, cut and compose, and fix with tape. For color, print out or photocopy color versions of your type composition and your halftone screens. With these color printouts again cut, compose, and fix with tape.

From the hundreds of variations choose approximately 10 to 15 from each section: type, line, shape, screens, and color, to show the progression and variety of your ideas. The emphasis on the hand craft is to allow you to see clearly the relationship between the type, space, and graphics in a direct one-to-one relationship without the interference of the computer as a tool. If desired you can make mechanicals of the paper compositions on the computer.

Format. 8.27 x 9.45 inches (22 X 24 centimeters)

Time. Half-Semester

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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. For information log onto

Student Designer: Timothy Smith

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