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Project. Interactive Typography Sequence

Purpose. To focus on strategies for message analysis, spacial organization, and structure as they interact with typography and graphic composition in digital space. Students are encouraged to explore new typographic grammars for interactive electronic communications.

Assignment. This project sequence forms the core of the graduate level course Interactive Typography. The first four steps prepare the students for an interactive typographic project in the course's second half.

Step 1. Poster-scaled typographic composition - individual. Each student designs a poster-scaled black and white typographic composition using the text from informational website on a public health issue. After analyzing the message for its content, purpose, hierarchy, verbal syntax, parts of speech, activity and attitude, the text is given typographic form that expresses the message analysis in a limited vocabulary of typographic variables using a strict grid system.1 week

Step 2. Poster-scaled typographic composition - partners. Students work as partners to develop a poster-scaled black and white typographic composition that combines the texts from their two public health websites. After re-analyzing the messages for "links" - content overlaps and junctures - the combined text is given typographic form that expresses the content links and two message analyses in a limited vocabulary of typographic variables using a strict grid system. 2 weeks

Step 3. Poster-scaled eye-movement notation. Students observe five readers as they navigate through their composition's information space, and record reading paths and eye movement. They then develop a diagrammatic notation of this, including graphic representations of the composition's massing, structure, hierarchy and content areas. This step replaces typographic forms with abstract forms, challenging the students to invent an original graphic language. 2 weeks

Step 4. Dynamic eye-movement notation. The eye-movement notation is animated, with motion and sound, to convey the inherent movement of reading an information space: the reader's reading paths, and the gesture, rhythm, variable reading speeds, pacing and elapsed time. It is important to maintain a visual relationship between the original typographic piece, the graphic eye-movement notation and the dynamic eye-movement animation. 3 weeks

Step 5. Interactive typography strategy. Students chose an element of their text and develop an interactive segment that delivers the content and persuades the viewer/reader to become involved and transform their attitude towards the health issue. They explore how the reader can explore and trigger transformations through interaction with dynamic textual and numerical material in spacial relationships and typographic gesture and behavior. 8 weeks

Step 1: Black and white laser printer output on a poster scale.
Step 2: Black and white laser printer output on a poster scale.
Step 3: Color ink jet/plotter output on a poster scale
Step 4: Dynamic electronic display of animated typography and imagery
Step 5: Interactive dynamic electronic display

Time. 16 Weeks

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Katherine McCoy is Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design in Chicago after co-chairing the Department of Design at Cranbrook Academy of Art for 24 years. She is a 1999 Medallist of the AIGA, an elected member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, Fellow and past-President of the Industrial Designers Society of America, past president of the American Center for Design, and former Vice President of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. As partner of McCoy & McCoy Associates, she consults in communications design, design marketing, and interior design for cultural, educational and corporate clients. She writes frequently on design criticism and history, has co-produced a television documentary on Japanese design, and chaired the first Living Surfaces Conference on interactive communications design. Katherine and her partner and husband, Michael, have recently formed High Ground Tools and Strategies for Design, to offer continuing professional education seminars and workshops for designers.

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