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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Thumbs up Informative Typography Article

    I was tasked as a college assessment) to create an informative piece about the typography industry.
    I decided I would structure my article as a step-by-step piece touching on the best way/s to become a successful typographer.
    This is an opinion based article, and this is where you come in, I am after some opinions from typography practioners on my article.
    Hope you enjoy the read - it's not that long (around 1500 words)
    P.S. I am Australian, hence the UK English spelling.

    What is typography, and why is it so big at the moment? These are the questions a lot of people are asking. Whether you�re reading an article, looking at packaging, or looking at a logo, typography is everywhere and has an impact on your daily life. How do you become a typographer and how do you succeed in the industry?

    Typography is the art of arranging letters and words into a visually pleasing manner in an effort to make the type become more legible; This process would consist of a typographer selecting typefaces, leading (vertical line spacing), adjusting the spaces between more than two letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning), which takes a very keen eye for detail. However over the past 50 years typography has evolved into a modern day art form, slowly moving away from its traditional roots and moving closer to becoming its own industry. Advancements in type setting systems and modern day technology have assisted with this slow shift away from the traditional typography classification, a job that used to take 20 people and hundreds of hours now takes a single person 20 hours to complete, forcing typographers to venture into new fields, learn new styles, methods and skills, and then incorporate those into the typography industry. Here are 5 steps on ensuring you bring the best you can possibly bring to the table.

    1. Practice makes perfect!
    Just like any skill, practice is a quintessential part of becoming a successful typographer. No matter what creative you ask and no matter what field they are from, when you ask the question �how did you become so good at what you do?� they will almost always reply with �practice makes perfect�. Practising and spending time on improving a skill shows a great deal of dedication to the field you want to succeed in, and really shows through in the quality of work you produce, hard work out shines talent when talent doesn�t work. It could be something as simple as sitting down and scribbling a few words onto a page, or sketching a few thumbnails for a potential layout for an article, any sort of brain stimulation will create memory that will continue to grow as you continue practising.

    2. Network, network, network.
    The most common thing to do as a specialist in typography is to branch out as a freelancer (working for yourself and establishing your own brand) or you could get hired by an agency that specialise in specific fields. No matter which end of the table you are on, you need to be able to market yourself to the right people (employers, colleagues and clients), and how do you meet those people? By networking! Various new methods of networking have been introduced for designers in recent years; social media, and online portfolio websites such as behance, dribble and the loop all make networking so much easier for the modern day creatives to network with each other, and also for potential clients to network with a desired artist. Another great way to network is to attend the right conferences and meetings relevant to your industry or your entire field (semi-permanent or agideas for example). In some circumstances you won�t always have the time to attend conferences and meetings, but as you put yourself out there and let others know you are available to meet, to talk, to work together the response is often overwhelming. It�s amazing what will happen if you make the first move and tell people you�re simply�available.

    3. How do you stand out?
    Once you have networked with fellow creatives and potential clients, how do you stand out? Let�s not forget there are thousands of typographers that have as much confidence in their abilities as you do in yours. Standing out and gaining exposure isn�t something that happens overnight, it is something you have to earn and work toward. The most important factor to stand out from the crowd is literally just that � a lot of typographers think mimicking popular styles is the way to gain exposure and to stand out, and they are right� to an extent, recreating various trends and style can become quite transparent when there are thousands of other people doing that same thing, being yourself and letting your art be 100% you is the only way to truly stand out; a fresh looking type piece is more likely to catch the attention of a client that wants something original and that wants to stand out themselves. Contributing to various design magazines in the form of an article or even tutorial is also a great way to gain exposure and stand out from the crowd as it gets your name out there to potentially thousands of readers. Joining various competitions also gets your name out there if you have the time to compete. Staying active within the industry is the only way to climb the long ladder to the top.

    4. Know how to interact with your clients.
    When you�ve been lucky enough to gain a new client, a big chunk of your time should go to learning about the client and the story behind the project. If you spend the majority of your time upfront re-searching the client and the project the production becomes that much easier to work on. It�s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle in ways; you have to uncover the needs of your client before you can provide a relevant solution. If you don�t you�ll find yourself putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the help of a reference photo�it can be done, but you might as well be doing it in the dark.

    5. Keeping up to date with a forever changing Industry.
    Trends and technology are the two main factors you will have to stay up to date with. Trends are con-stantly changing and this is something that a good typographer has to adjust to, while its recommended designers don�t mimic certain styles, it is still paramount that you keep an eye out on what other typographers are doing so you can stay ahead of the curb. Keeping a keen eye out on blogs from industry leaders is a great way to keep updated on what the industry is doing and what is trending; attending conferences is another great way of finding out what other typographers are doing. Technology is in some ways a win-less battle; it is constantly changing, and while trends and the industry are constantly changing as well BUT keeping technology updated costs money. It is vital you keep what you need updated such as your editing programs (adobe CC) and every couple of years it is worth updating your hardware such as wacoms, backup drives, and your computer.

    6. Staying Educated.
    Last but definitely not least is education, educating yourself about the industry is an extremely important part to becoming an industry leader. Attending classes and workshops regularly is a great way to improve your skill set. Calligraphy classes are a great way to learn the fundamentals of hand drawn and hand written type, and the basics of using traditional calligraphy tools. Illustration classes are another great way to further your skillset as a typographer, practising illustration techniques will create muscle memory in your hands giving you more and more control over your tools. A lot of introductory software classes are available for the adobe creative suite which is a great skill to have, even if you are just going to be doing minor editing to a piece. Classes are great but the only thing better is enrolling in a course that is specific to your industry. Diploma and Bachelor courses are easily accessible in today�s day in age, and it is encouraged that you would study at least a diploma to attain the basic knowledge that would be required from a skilled typographer; such as the history of type, publishing skills, illustration skills, and also software skills.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Placitas, New Mexico, USA

    Default Re: Informative Typography Article

    Welcome to TalkGraphics and thanks for sharing this.

    Maybe in your next article you can address the reason why certain basic characters do not always map correctly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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