By Bara’ah Jaraiseh
After meeting Eve Rutledge, a hand rendering type designer, at a Type-Con conference, Pensacola State College graphic design professor Mark Hopkins contemplated taking some of his students to her workshop. This led to the annual typography trip for PSC graphic design students.
When the trip first started out, it involved one typography class going to New Orleans once a year, but since then has expanded to two classes going twice a year. Students from both the Graphic Design Associates degree program and the Graphic Design Bachelors degree program attend.
This year Graphic Design professor Linh O’Briant’s typography 1 class went to Rutledge’s workshop, which was located at her business Mystic Blue Signs. Mark Hopkins’s typography 2 class attended a letterpress workshop with Jessica Parker at Southern Letterpress.
“When I was approached with taking my class to New Orleans to meet Eve for the workshop, I thought it was wonderful because the last project was for the student to design their own typeface. With type design you have to start by hand; you don’t just jump on the computer and say, ‘Hey I want to design a typeface!’ It’s a lot of hand study to make the letterforms work. You are using your hands as a tool and you are working out all the bugs before you even hit the computer,” said O’Briant.
“When I found out about this workshop I thought it was a wonderful opportunity because Rutledge does everything by hand. She rarely does anything by computer. Taking the students to this workshop gave them an opportunity to learn by hand first, which made them focus on the letterform, [which was important] because each letterform has its own unique characteristic. For the students to actually see how Eve works through the developmental stages they were able to see how beautiful letterform can be. This process was beneficial to the students.”
Rutledge worked with each student one-on-one that day, and the students had much to say about the experience.
“I thought Eve shared a really interesting perspective on creating typefaces. Her techniques are very raw and precise. Eve had some very helpful tips to achieve hand drawn type that stays consistent. The workshop taught me how important it is to try and perfect my art by hand before digitizing it. I really enjoyed the trip and I am thankful for the opportunity to meet such an inspirational artist,” said student Haley Pierce.
“When I began working on my letterforms I was at a loss on where to begin. I had a general idea of what I wanted the typeface to look like but my initial sketches were not producing the results I wanted. Eve showed me a different approach, by taking the characteristic I wanted for my typeface and making it less prominent, I was able to concentrate more on each letterform,” said student Leslie Winston.
Classmate Nona Lewis agrees that Rutledge was extremely helpful.
“The New Orleans trip was awesome! We were not only able to experience other people’s art, and the culture of New Orleans, but we were able to produce some of our own art as well. Our class participated in a typographic workshop by Eve, where we began to develop our own typefaces. Eve was super helpful, and was able to provide great insight into drawing our own typeface. She helped us nail down solid concepts, and our beginning stages of drawing. This trip was a great experience for everyone who went!”
“The results [of this trip] showed when the students came back. They were much more passionate [about] typography, and that was always the goal; it was to get them excited about something that may seem a little bit mundane but [is exciting] once you learn more about it and the opportunities that are out there to get a professional job as a letter designer,” said Hopkins.
Not only did the classes get to experience these amazing workshops but they had a wonderful time walking around New Orleans and visiting various art galleries and shops. Hopkins and O’Briant plan to continue to take their typography classes on this trip for many years to come.