Free Typography Class from Lynda.com via Facebook

That’s right, art and design scholars! All you have to do to earn the right to take a free, eight-hour course on typography from Lynda.com is “like” Lynda’s Facebook page. How can you go wrong?

Well, there is a way you can go wrong… just don’t take the course. If you’ve ever taken a course on Lynda.com, you’re already over on Facebook hitting the “like” button and stopped reading this article. If you haven’t taken a course on Lynda.com… I have many insults to hurl your way in the fashion of the French knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But before I fart in your general direction, let’s discuss the importance of typography in design.

Unfortunately, most art students skip the elective course on typography in art school. That’s a huge mistake. Type placed together has color, shape and can, without certain discipline, become unreadable even set in simple body copy. Have you ever heard of a “river” in type setting? What is “nesting?” Can you kern and add or subtract leading by eye to make everything look correct, even when the auto function says everything is correct? I couldn’t for many years of my career.

As I wrote in an article on typography:

When I started work for a large greeting card company, they had type designers who handled all they type on cards. An illustrator would work with a designer to create the imagery and then it would be handed off to a type designer to add the copy in pretty and readable type.

Because I had come to the company with design and type experience, I was privileged to be able to design my own type treatments. It wasn’t until the company started offering type training to designers that I realized how little I truly knew. The four-week intensive training was… intensive and run by people who had over twenty years experience with solely designing type for cards. I went into the training feeling I wasn’t going to learn anything I didn’t already know but I was wrong.

Even with type classes under my belt from art school and work experience with top publications, I knew very little about the possibilities of type as an art. Many of my peers considered me to be “good with type.” That pronouncement just serves to show me how little most designers knew about type. When I left the card company, I found myself hired by design studios to do type treatment logos because they said I was a “great” type designer. At that point I felt I had earned the title but was embarrassed by my past type work, much like a seasoned professional would blush when coming upon their student portfolio, stashed somewhere in the back of a closet.

The understanding I learned was not with kerning and leading, although those are basics too many designers miss. There is a personality, emotion and readability to type that most people ignore… or just don’t see.

It’s when we open our minds and learn something we thought we knew that we become great. 45 minutes into the Lynda typography course I was excited to see what came next. Even hearing the basics made my nipples hard and not just because my apartment heat isn’t on to save some money. Type is exciting and challenging… sometimes more than page layout as a whole. Creating great type treatments opens a wondrous world every designer should live within and you’ll find it’s an easy move if you just allow yourself to explore.

Speider Schneider

Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider

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