The Typography studio aims to introduce students to the range of graphical applications in which the letter, the word and the text play a determining role. It proposes the training of artists who innovate in the multiple domains of typography on paper and on screen (editorial design, font design, poster design, signage, computer code and any other field using written language). Within the studio, the different professors suggest above all the steadfastness of research, introduce the concern for curiosity and encouragement for manual and technical practice as the first prospective steps of a work. A partnership with the Book and paper design / Bookbinding studio has been established with a view to widening the artistic field around the practice of book and paper design within joint courses and exercises.
The student approaches contemporary typography through the historical transversality of the cultural and artistic transformations of the last century and through the mutations which the computer and the web are currently effecting across the whole field. The studio permanently questions the mainstream tools used in order to critique their relevance and to liberate new possibilities from them, including within the field of software.
In the bachelor’s, the beginning of the curriculum is based on projects which enable students to develop know-how and to learn the basics of typography so that they have the ability to develop a visual language and working method which is their very own. It is a question of understanding the basic issues of typeface design, page layout, hierarchy, the rhythm and interpretation of the different media, and of understanding the context and content with which they work. As the training progresses, the students develop their own practices through a dynamic of personal and experimental research which enables them to grasp the issues and the needs of typography and to be able to call them into question.
In the master’s, the students develop a more articulated and substantial research language. This project enables them to prune into shape two years of experimentation and reflection which develop autonomy and personal fulfilment, in particular through the awakening of scientific and artistic curiosity, a critical sensibility and the awareness of individual and collective responsibilities and duties. This practice aims to develop in-depth skills over the long term. More generally, the studio aims to guide students so that they may become capable of contributing to the development of a democratic and pluralist society based on solidarity; it is a schooling in engagement, in which actions have consequences, and which augments each person’s sphere of action in the real world. The studio aims to instil confidence in thinking for oneself and in the development of a maieutics, or the art of intellectual midwifery. At the end of the master’s, the student is capable of presenting this research process and its results, of dissecting issues through a dissertation, and of presenting it both to experts and to a more marginal public.
On its foundation, La Cambre was endowed by Henry van de Velde with an impressive collection of lead type, including the principal historical European alphabets. A Heidelberg printing press can be used to print students’ work. Students from the whole School constantly drop by this studio, which allows it to offer a critical assessment of contemporary typographic practices, digital for the most part.
Pedagogical coordination :
Mads Freund Brunse, typographer, graphic designer
Pierre Huyghebaert, typographer, graphic designer