Poor typeface selection, butchered executions of proper glyph handling, the ridiculous setting of justified copy: these are just some of the typographic tragedies that TypeEd aims to banish from the planet. “We exist to protect and serve the letterform, typesetting against the villains of bad design,” say Michael Stinson and Rachel Elnar, who founded the Los Angeles-based program of typography and typesetting courses last year in their design studio, Ramp Creative+Design. “Our mission is to educate designers, students, and practitioners on the fundamental skills of typography.” Among their latest offerings is “In the Loop,” a six-hour script letterform workshop taught by veteran creative director Leah Faust. We asked Stinson, a veteran designer/art director and TypeEd’s lead instructor, to tell us more about “typesetting for the jetsetting” and couldn’t resist the ‘ol desert island fonts question—read on for his top three typefaces.
What led you to create TypeEd?
Rachel went back to teach in the Cal State University system after an elevan-year hiatus, and noticed that with the overflow of computer-based classes into college curriculums, design fundamentals like typography were pushed to the wayside. So, she brought me in as guest speaker to give her interactive class a few typography tips. After seeing the enthusiasm, we eventually we decided to start an education program in our design studio.
What will “In the Loop” workshop participants learn?
In The Loop is an exploration of script-making and letterform crafting. The workshop will cover the history of iconic script signage in Los Angeles, and discuss how to make a script memorable and effective. Attendees will learn about the aspects of readability, angle, stroke variation, and how to translate scripts to digital form.
What is your greatest design pet peeve?
My greatest design pet peeve is the absence of thinking in design. When a designer chooses elements because of personal preference instead of being informed by research, history or concept, I feel that they’ve really missed a great opportunity. Designing without thinking is pure lack of consideration for the reader.
If required to use only three typefaces for the rest of your life, what would they be?
For the rest of my life? The three that I would use would be:
1. Alright Sans (Okay Type): It’s contemporary and clean, with a large x-height, so it’s easy to read. The typeface has 16 weights and endless glyphs so it’s extremely versatile. It’s my new Helvetica.
2. Harriet Series (Okay Type): A very well-designed serif face that has 20 fonts for display and text. It’s elegant and easy to use, it’s my new Caslon.
3. Titling Gothic (Font Bureau): With over 49 styles, this flexible family can be used to create quite a large system, if you don’t need obliques. I know I would be able to typeset my way out of almost any sans serif emergency with this workhorse.