Sean Cunningham

Sean works as an Art Director in one of Melbourne’s top creative agencies. He took the OSNS Typography as Design Culture Program as an antidote to the kind of design he was practising in his everyday work in the advertising world. With a strong background in street art, type and communication, the experimental curriculumof the OSNS Type Program was an ideal way to pursue the visual design education he specifically needed to boost his creative career.  He was seeking a method that was not based on design education checklists and rote linear learning, but human, hands-on and with a thoughtful way of practising design.

I came from a digital background but my passion was always in words and craft. OSNS seemed like a route apart from pixel-pusher training. The life of a designer, I think, is one of conflict between the opposing push and pull of artistic and commercial motivations. The designers I know came to this field because they had an affinity for drawing when they were kids, and they wanted to apply these tendencies in a meaningful way. They wanted a place where they had a voice. (They also probably wanted a job).

The course ignited these passions, giving me direction and motivation to produce work. It put me on a path towards a goal I’m still in the process of defining. I also want to write about design, at least just for myself. It gives shape to thought and is an invaluable part of the design process. Words and pictures should never have been separated.


What have you learned about type and letterform construction through designing your own font?
The type design project was very satisfying and super engaging. It was a baptism into such a complex and involved field. Flowing naturally from all we learned about handcrafted letters, it amped things up, showing me the depth and potential of an entire discipline. I really enjoyed the thoroughness of it, the true complexity of the project.

Though initially daunting, it taught me a lot about the communicative power of letterforms, the nuance, discipline and diligence required to craft type. I feel I’ve just touched the surface of a fascinating and powerful field. It was immensely satisfying to have a typeface and specimen to show for the few weeks work. What we did in the time allocated was remarkable and I was proud to have pushed myself far enough to get there.