Typography is an essential aspect of printmaking, graphic design and creative writing. Far too often however, students create in a digital format without understanding the connection between the work on a computer screen and the work as it exists in the world. The software, terminology, and even the letterforms that we use as we write are rooted in the history of moveable type and letterpress printing. While Graphic Design owns limited type and small presses, it isn’t integrated into any courses and there isn’t capability to print broadsides.
This award will enable them to incorporate hands-on letterpress printmaking into fifteen existing and two proposed courses in three departments within two colleges. With the acquisition of letterpress equipment, the development of instructional manuals and class modules, students in these courses will gain experiential learning in the design process, allowing them to slow down and grasp – literally and metaphorically–the tangibility of words.
In creative writing (ENGL 500; ENGL 551; ENGL 589; ENGL 550; ENGL 557; ENGL 560; ENGL 589; ENGL 542; ENGL 590), access to the letterpress and new class modules will allow students to consider the way the words look on a page, as much as the words themselves, adding form to the poetry. This will facilitate partnerships among six faculty and teach upwards of 450 students in three departments (Art & Visual Culture, Graphic Design, and Creative Writing) within two colleges (CoD and LAS. It will also engender collaborative and interdisciplinary hands-on experiential learning opportunities through introducing letterpress technology.