From May Chung, MGD, CGD, NSCAD University, Associate Professor, Design Division and Education Chair, Atlantic Chapter Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC):
NSCAD University believes in showing design students the importance of choosing the appropriate tool for the task.
Students in their second year of the Interdisciplinary Design bachelor’s degree take typography and receive the Gibson typeface family as part of the course. (Gibson was designed by Rod McDonald and produced by Canada Type as an affordable, top-quality typeface aimed at students.) It is economically priced and in many instances costs less than most university textbooks and therefore covered in the material fees.
When students are encouraged to set text and make critical evaluations between Gibson and the free typefaces many download from the Internet, the problems become apparent to them immediately. From poorly rendered letterforms and unattractive letter spacing to unsightly gaps in word spacing which in many instances cannot be corrected, significant time is expended. Students quickly learn that the old adage “you pay for what you get” is true.
As students are encouraged to choose versatile and appropriate fonts for their projects, the results demonstrate a visible benefit witnessed in more clear and effective expressions of their ideas. Gibson has made it easier for students to understand typography, its inherent rules, and its importance to graphic design.
Also, it provides an excellent segue into conversations about font piracy and font design. Students develop an understanding and respect for the painstaking work type designers do to build quality and flexibility into these tools that are essential to graphic designers. As they Google Gibson and see how widely it is featured in many font foundry sites on the Internet, students gain a knowledge of the leadership in type design by Canadians such as Rod McDonald and Patrick Griffin. This in turn generates a curiosity to know more about type design, who are Canadian type designers and what opportunities are there to enter into this industry. This snowball effect is attracting a new crop of individuals looking for careers to build new fonts for the myriad ways people read now and in the future.
Residual effects from Gibson include a better appreciation in the minds of students for the typography tools built into design software as well as the bundled typefaces being provided.
Font ownership discussion in the classroom paves the way for students to understand the relevance and the significance to their future in professional design practice when clients and printers are involved in the process.
Gibson has become requisite teaching and learning tool in NSCAD classes and value added for our students.