Like most dedicated Art Center instructors, Professor Gloria Kondrup (MFA ’93 Graphics/Packaging) is always looking for creative ways to encourage, inspire and support her students. In 2013, she and legendary Graphic Design instructor Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken established the Hoffmitz|Kondrup Excellence in Typography Award. Created as part of their Legacy Circle membership with a gift from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation, the Award is given once each year to an upper-term Graphic Design student who demonstrates excellence in typography across all media.
We brought Kondrup and first-ever Award recipient Quinton Larson together to chat about the award and their love of typography.
Art Center: Gloria, what was the motivation behind creating the Hoffmitz|Kondrup Excellence in Typography Award?
Gloria Kondrup: Leah and I share a love of type and language. As instructors we regularly saw students struggle financially to stay in school. The Award is a way to celebrate typography while providing meaningful financial support to a top Graphic Design student.
AC: Quinton, what was your reaction when you learned you’d won the award?
Quinton Larson: I was shocked, amazed and seriously humbled to be chosen out of a group of designers with such amazing skills.
AC: What does the award mean to you?
QL: I’d found out the previous term that my financial aid would be running out for my summer term. I had no idea where the money was going to come from. My last two terms are going to be really important because I’m planning on developing an interaction app that I can pitch to venture capitalists. The Award filled a huge need at a really important time.
GK: That’s one of the intents of the Award. It’s given out based solely on typographic excellence in design, but it obviously has the potential to make a huge difference in a student’s life.
AC: Gloria, what about Quinton’s work stood out to you and the other faculty on the selection committee?
GK: Don’t blush, Quinton. Quinton has a strong foundation in the use of typography, an attention to detail, and a love of and respect for type that shows in all his work. He knows how to apply his skills across all media, from environmental typographic pieces to digital pieces to print.
AC: Quinton, what’s a project you’ve worked on that you were really passionate about?
QL: I really enjoyed a project I did for [Art Center typography instructor] Brad Bartlett’s Type 5 class called Data-Tec-Ture. I created an interactive title wall made up of key architectural points on the Los Angeles map. When you cross in front of the wall, each point slips into actual type, the map morphing in such a way that you can see the type growing in front of you.
AC: How do your ideas take shape?
QL: I spend a good amount of time researching and understanding a topic and finding hidden commonalities that exist with related topics no matter how bizarre the connections might seem. Then I do a brain dump and get whatever I’m thinking down on paper, either through sketches or narratives. When the idea starts to refine itself I start working on visualizing it and playing with how it could materialize.
GK: One sign of a good typographer is that the work is not only well balanced, but it also looks and feels fresh. Quinton’s work is exactly that. He’s well-trained enough to be able to move across a range of platforms. He doesn’t let new technology hamper his creative thinking. He figures out what needs to be done and then does it.
QL: Art Center cultivates a creative, innovative way of thinking and processing for different problems.
AC: Where do you hope the skills you’ve gained at Art Center will take you?
QL: I want to be involved in interaction design. I would love to launch a startup venture with the app I’m developing, or to work at a place like Frog Design, IDEO, Google or Apple. That would be amazing.
AC: Do you feel like you’ve found your creative voice?
QL: I’ve found it for now. As I approach my final terms I feel more confident than ever in my creative process, knowledge and skills. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of second guessing. But I also think our voices are always changing as we grow. I don’t think one’s voice should ever be permanent.
To learn more about how to create an award or scholarship at Art Center, contact Maya Fredrickson <firstname.lastname@example.org>. To learn more about Legacy Circle, Art Center’s alumni giving group, contact Becca Keating <email@example.com>.