Typeworkshop.com origines from workshops given by Underware during the last years. Most of the stuff which you see on this website at the moment, derives from these workshops. However, we are looking for more people to cooperate with us on this project, it's not a project of only Underware. Every idea and proposal is welcome, just send us an email. If you want to be kept up-to-date about future workshops, just subscribe yourself to the mailing list.
To provide a better view on the approach of the workshops done so far, here is some background information:
part of an email correspondence between Anne Melcer from Etapes Graphiques (French design magazine) and Bas Jacobs (one of the Underwarers).
From: "Underware, Bas" firstname.lastname@example.org
I guess that was in 2000 in Lahti, Finland. Our workshop was part of the HelveticaTimesExtraBold conference, which is a type event organised by Ritu Leinonen from the Lahti Polytechnic School of Art & Media in Lahti. We did something from which we thought it would look like a workshop, but maybe in the end it didn't be like that at all. I am still not sure. Soon after this a workshop on interactive videoclips followed at the UIAH in Helsinki.
Maybe you have the impression we are doing this full time, but that's not the case at all. We didn't really plan this in advance, it more or less just happened. We got more attention for doing these workshops when we made a website during a two week workshop. This was in October 2002, with a combined workshop between the 2 art academies of Lahti & Helsinki. Our idea by making this website, was bringing the students in contact with people outside the academy. By giving other people from outside the academy the possibility to react on what students created, participants of the workshop got extra stimulated by the critics of professionals. Before continuing the workshop in the morning, these reactions got read by the participants and influenced the process in a nice way. Also, in this way participants get in contact with professionals with whom they might never get in touch with otherwise. They can also get in touch with other students, type freaks, and who ever is out there.
During the following workshops we decided to stick at least to the idea of making this website for every workshop and updating this site daily when the workshop is running. By doing this we created a spot which shows a collection of researches and experiments in type design. While doing this, we also decided to put other information on that website which we needed during every workshop. A collection of links to other places on the web for example. That's fairly handy for somebody who is totally new in the field of type design. We might be acquaintance with a portal like typographi.ca, but for lots of people it's something unheard of. During those workshops we made sketches to explain the basic issues of type design, in the way we approach it (for sure there are many other ways of approaching it). Also this we didn't plan this in advance, but in this way the website www.typeworkshop.com was born. This site is growing naturally, and we don't have a clear idea where it might end up. At the moment we are looking for other people to participate in www.typeworkshop.com. Although I don't have a concrete idea in which form, it's something we are thinking about. We are open for all proposals from others.
What is your intention with these workshops? What kind of vision or values did you intend to teach?
Can you show me an example of one of those values and its positive effect?
What do you teach to the students? Basics of type design or/and tools to think and to elaborate clever questions on type?
As type design is the subject of our workshops, we concentrate on an interesting, but not extremely difficult definition of the typographic problem to start with. Most of the participants don't have a clear idea on type. This is fairly often an empty, unexplored area for most of the participants. I would rather see this as a big advantage. Rigid and rigorous decisions are made more easily if one isn't limited by convention. It's useful to be aware of tradition. And having a thorough knowledge of a certain subject, creates possibilities you didn't have before. Let that be our task during a workshop. Combining this with an unconventional reaction of a participant creates new situations nobody could have predicted in advance.
Applying the newly created typeface is essential. Creating a typeface without applying it doesn't make any sense at all. Applying is the only way to see if the typeface really fits for the situation it was meant for. For example: if a typeface which is meant for sign systems is hardly readable on a real sign system, you might have made a funky typeface, but I am not sure if that made so much sense. A typeface is always made for a certain goal. You can't always say 'that's a bad typeface' or 'that's a really good typeface'. It also depends on the way it is used. Maybe the typeface is not too bad, but if it's not applied in the way it was meant for, it might look like a very so called 'bad' typeface. In the workshop we consider this to be an essential aspect: apply the font in the right environment.
Why should they prefer your workshops?
What does a student need to do to have a good chance of succeeding in these workshops (creativity, technical skills, independance, ambition)?
What’s the general “roadbook”, progress of a workshop?
What amazes you while doing a workshop?
What have you learned as a teacher from the workshops? And as a professionnal? What have you learned not to do anymore?
Do you choose the subject of the workshop specially for the workshop only or is it something you were thinking about before as a professional?
What is a successful workshop?
What about your projects, ambitions, upcoming developments as 'workshoppers'?