The Typography Workshop

A few weeks ago, Grace Jensen, Head of Design at Kelston Girls College got in contact with me asking if I could demonstrate some expressive typography and brush lettering to a year 12 and 13 design class. I freaked out a little, but was mostly flattered and excited to step up to something different.

I told my story of how I got into typography in the first place - which not many people know. Back in the day when I was high school, I used to think I was bad ass and ‘gangsta.’ I was ‘Cryz the Blazian’  - aka the black asian. I had this infatuation with graffiti, bombing and tagging. I’d have my vivid and just tag my name on walls, desks, computers (in really small writing so no one could see.) I’d google graffiti images and try and untangle the highly complicated and dense text that interwove. Then, I realised one day, I really wasn’t ‘gangsta’ and needed to mature. So I left my doodling all behind.

That was until, I went to study Graphic Design at Shillington College, where they had organised for Gemma O’Brien - Queen of Typography - to talk to our class. It was the most inspiring talk and I was dumbfounded that one could pursue a career that revolved solely around creating custom typography. That’s when I got back to the drawing board and practiced everyday for 3 months straight, slowly building up my typography skills and knowledge.

Anyway, here I was today teaching typography to some future designers. It was so interesting watching these girls, some of them too scared to even pick up the pen and touch the paper in case they failed. But once they made the first stroke, they couldn’t stop. We literally ran out of paper at one point. As I like to say, practice doesn’t make perfect but it definitely makes better.

The left-handers thought they didn’t stand a chance, but a bit of encouragement saw them producing beautiful work that they didn’t even know they could do. Walking around the classroom, I was blown away by their persistence, creativeness for words and eagerness to learn. Our future design industry is in good hands.

I’m just going to take a moment now to declare my love for typography. Everyone’s handwriting is unique, and it is such a privilege to be able to make a mark in the world in this visual form.