The passageway leading into the South Campus gallery is swimming in an alphabet soup of letters and familiar icons and signage, hawking everything from the latest blockbuster to cheap, fast cash loans. It’s an immersive experience in the nuanced codes and messages contained within the various fonts and typefaces that punctuate our modern landscape. This visceral typographic encounter acts as an introduction to the student-produced temporary show, 85_15 TYPOGRAPHY: PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE, which is the first exhibition to be presented by the new Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT), due to make its official debut on November 7 with the Symposium and Center opening celebration in its permanent space on the ground floor of ArtCenter’s 950 South Raymond building.
The following interview with Graphic Design faculty member Simon Johnston originally appeared in Superior Magazine. We’re republishing it here because it’s incredibly illuminating about Art Center’s BIKINI Berlin program as well as the depth of Art Center’s iterative process. And it’s not every day that a faculty member makes the pages of a men’s fashion magazine!
We live in a world that is controlled and dominated by technology. But students from Art Center College of Design, who are currently guests in BIKINI Berlin, have carried out an experiment. Banned from any technology, they focused their creativity on the actual process of design, and worked with analog methods and tools in their creative process. The results are remarkable, and will be shown in the form of an exhibition on November 20th. This project is directed by the designer and typographer Simon Johnston.
The event, which was held at the DesignThinkers 2012 conference in Toronto, honored students and educators whose winning projects were selected from 41 finalists out of nearly 5,000 total entries from 70 countries.
Han’s museum re-branding project for the fictional Contemporary Museum of Architecture (COMA), which he created as a seventh term student in instructor Brad Bartlett’s Transmedia course, won the award in the the Print Communications category.
“I’ve always had a very strong interest in architecture,” said Han of his winning design, which utilized a typographic solution inspired by the generative creation of forms in contemporary architecture. Part of the rebranding project included creating a series of posters promoting an (also fictional) exhibition by Greg Lynn, an architect whom Han lists as a creative inspiration.
Students recently packed an overflowing Los Angeles Times auditorium for 3×3*: Type Guys, an event that featured three presentations and a lively Q&A with three individuals that have crafted the way we see, understand and interact with typography.
Johnston was educated at Bath Academy of Art in England and the Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel, Switzerland. In England he founded the design practice 8vo, as well as the influential typographic journal Octavo. Since relocating to Los Angeles in 1989, he has run his own design office, Simon Johnston Design, with a particular emphasis on typography, especially book and catalog work for museums and galleries.
Johnston has taught typography and design at Art Center for 20 years. He is currently faculty director of the print area of emphasis in the Graphic Design department. In addition to his teaching and design practice, he works on his own art and photography projects.
At the event, Johnston touched on a variety of topics, including the importance of typography, working with some of his idols and the minefield of registered trademarks.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
There’s an old joke: It’s the scene of an accident, a crowd is gathered around an injured person, and from the back of the crowd a voice is heard, “Let me through! I’m a typographer!” Typography may not be a matter of life and death, but as visible language, it is the key means through which we communicate as a society, and as such it’s the spine that runs through the body of graphic design practice.
Students packed an overflowing Los Angeles Times auditorium last Thursday night for 3×3*: Type Guys, an event that featured three presentations and a lively Q&A with designers Jeremy Mende, Kyle Cooper and Art Center’s own Simon Johnston—three men that have crafted the way we see, understand and interact with typography.
Last week we gave you highlights from Kyle Cooper’s presentation. Today we focus on San Francisco-based Jeremy Mende, an associate professor of design at the California College of the Arts, where he teaches experiemental typography and critical theory.
In 2000, he founded MendeDesign, a firm that describes itself as creating “unique, poetic and unexpected messages” and that believes that beauty and authenticity have a “critical role in producing things of value and durability.”
Mende has been recognized internationally for his work and has pieces in several collections including at SFMOMA. In 2010-11, he was the Rome Prize Fellow in Design at the American Academy in Rome.
At Art Center, he spoke with students about work he’s created that meet at the “interesection of [his] interest in psychology and [his] interest in design and [his] interest in typography.”
Students packed an overflowing Los Angeles Times auditorium last night for 3×3*: Type Guys, an event that featured three presentations and a lively Q&A with designers Jeremy Mende, Kyle Cooper and Art Center’s own Simon Johnston—three men that have crafted the way we see, understand and interact with typography.
The founder of Prologue Films, Cooper has been credited by Details magazine as “almost single-handedly revitalizing the main title sequence as an art form.”
The designer behind the title sequences for films like Se7en, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the critically acclaimed current release Argo shared with the crowd his process, his philosophy and some behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Today marks 100 years since the founding of the Organization of American States. The milestone will be celebrated with a series of events in Washington, D.C. Art Center students developed work that will be prominently featured in the celebration over the course of two funded TDS/Designmatters projects led by the Graphic Design Department last year.
Congratulations and thanks to faculty member Simon Johnston, who led the TDS that developed a new identity for the Museum of the Americas of OAS, implemented on their website. Thanks to Gloria Kondrup, Brian Boyl and Jonas Mayabb, who led the centennial rebranding TDS. A new logotype, as well various elements of the student work, have been implemented by OAS on their website. Also, a big thank you to Jonas Mayabb, who worked closely with his team, Elisa Ruffino and our OAS partners after the studio’s conclusion to create the final version of the public service announcement for the centennial. Watch it below: