After reading the article by Jessica Helfand, "Type Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry" I felt even more confident in our graphic design program. The students that Helfand encountered, were obviously missing out on some extremely necessary knowledge as future designers. I was even able to recognize the lacking emphasis on design history in their program.
But here, we are taught that one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things to keep up with is the history of design and especially designers. We are required to do this so much (by researching, journaling and exploration) that at this point, inquiry comes almost naturally. I have actually learned more about design this semester than i thought possible. Even more, I have become aware of the impact of process... of full emersion, through desire to make progress (personally and academically).
In response to Helfand's thoughts on the modern typeface Futura, I compared it to another recently accepted font, ITC Avant Garde. Herb Lubalin designed it originally as a headline for Avant Garde magazine, then he and co-designer Tom Carnase completed the typeface after the headlines warm acceptance.
They are both mono-weight, uppercase only and wide. There are similarities in the height but sometimes, like the in the case of "R" Futura seems a bit taller. Though they are both wide, Futura has an extreme width in comparison.
I "like" Avant Garde for its boldness, clear concern with stability and lack of impact. Futura has drastically angled finals and legs while Avant Garde lacks those subtle, yet strategic, ways of creating excitement... it seems to fast paced to be a calm/legible typeface. For example, look at the difference in the letter "S" and the "M".
Then, reading an article by designer Michael Bierut, "Designing Under the Influence" made it more clear to me how impressive KU is. It might just be my experience with art history, but I feel really confident in my knowledge of artists and their impact on the design world. Barbara Kruger was an innovator, a conceptual design hero of the 20th century. If designers don't look things things up, or even come across them in classes, how do they expect to learn much... how do they expect to be inspired? Will they just get inspiration solely from the more recent artists, the ones inspired by people like Kruger?
I'm just really glad to be given the opportunity to take classes from professors who have experienced good design first hand... who have been given the task of maintaining a knowledge base of former designers, and design history altogether.