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Improving
a workshop

Typographic banner design

A creative workshop can last two or three days and, as for any lesson, I always take notes of what worked well and what needs to improve; evaluating and reviewing my teaching as when I ask my students to evaluate and review their own work. With that in mind, I would like to discuss a banner design workshop that two colleagues initiated in 2021, asking students to print manually a slogan with foam as relief technique. In 2022, I decided to take that workshop as reference but as I already made my students work on printing techniques with linoleum earlier that year, I decided to avoid printing again and then made them work on paper as support and material for the letters. Students performed less than expected and it quickly made sense to me what were the problems of that workshop. First, a large banner made of paper as background doesn’t work that well as fabric as it wrinkles easily. Second, the students did not have previous software and typography lessons, which took them longer in developing a clear message. Third, the instruction of deconstructing letters while asking them to communicate a clear message was contradictory, which led to messy works difficult to decipher. They were at a stage where they needed to learn more about type in its particular boldness and size given that deconstructing type would mean already understanding it. Fourth, I did not test enough this paper banner idea before the workshop to see its viability, which confused the students in the steps to follow to achieve the outcome.

Images from the workshop done in 2021 and 2022

In 2023, I decided to merge these two workshops made previously, going back to a calico support as background for the banner, there using the bondaweb sticker technique and sewing machines to place the letters on the banner. In the first day, students had to brainstorm and sketch their banner idea, which they did collaboratively and individually. As I tried to do my own banner as example, they could visualise the outcome in its possibilities, and as they already had some knowledge of InDesign through a couple of sessions done before, their making process was easened when choosing the typeface to work with and when printing the letters. Further, they already had an introductory session to the sewing studio a few weeks earlier which helped them not to feel lost when using the iron and sewing machines. Those who had more letters to place had more work to do but they generally kept on with the process. With these techniques applied, the quality of their banner improved largely as seen in the pictures below. In their last day, students took photos of their banner outside the room to later make a GIF and an A3 poster as part of a social impact campaign. There are still elements to consider and improve, especially in this last part, but I found particularly interesting to see how this workshop evolved over three years and what allowed it to go through such changes.

Posted: October 24th, 2023

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