VANCOUVER—If you want something done right, sometimes you just have to do it yourself.
For Dr Shelley Gruendler, head of graphic design and advanced typography at Vancouver’s Langara College, that meant founding Type Camp, a week long typography boot-camp held on the shores of Galiano Island.
Type Camp is “basically a reaction to what I see wrong with type teaching,” said Gruendler, who holds a PhD in typography from the University of Reading, England. “I felt that if the schools in Vancouver weren’t going to teach typography in a decent way, then I would just have to do it myself.”
Type Camp, which was held for the first time last summer, is set to take place again this August 3 to 8 and features workshops run by Gruendler along with various British Columbia-based typographers. Last year’s event saw local artist Marian Bantjes and Ross Mills, a partner in Tiro Typeworks, working with the campers.
“I want to teach perception and awareness,” explains Gruendler, who describes the camp as a “holistic approach” to teaching typography. Last year, the camp included sessions analyzing international newspapers, discussions on magazines, books and various hands-on projects to bring the arts-and-crafts vibe of summer camp into the learning environment.
This year, Gruendler was coy about revealing the projects but shared that one session will discuss “typographic combinations and how do you look at the values of different type faces together and how do you work on those.”
Type Camp attracted a wide range of students last summer, mainly thanks to word of mouth advertising. Gruendler credits a tight online typographic community for getting the word out about the camp. Last summer’s participants included graphic design students, professional designers and even a camper from advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather who travelled all the way from Chicago. This year, Gruendler expects an equally diverse group of campers, although she reveals it is likely the last Type Camp to be held on Galiano.
“I basically thought this was going to be the last year because it’s very hard to market it and I barely make any money off it,” laughed Gruendler. “But I’ve gotten offers in two different locations… so it looks like it will live on in cities all over the world.”
A Type Camp India is scheduled for December 2009, while a London camp held around the St. Bride’s Conference in May is also in discussion. “And,” adds Gruendler optimistically, “it’s possible that there will be a Type Camp Toronto.”