2014 Program Students First Peer Review

  • By OSNS

    Published on 1 May 2014

Our Program students have just collaborated togher to complete their first review, which places each student at the centre of their own learning experience, when they need to answer a series of questions about their learning journey to date. Reflection is integral to learning and the best way to solicit this reflection is via a written response to structured questions for discussion from which  new findings emerge.  

The first five weeks of the program have been all about application of Typography through project work: 

  • Hand calligraphy with ink / how to practice copperplate
  • Hand motion of drawing/painting/ each stroke of different letterforms
  • learning about various type classifications
  • How to layout typography on a page / canvas
  • Composition / creating dynamic type / static type
  • Exploration of how different typefaces work, and what they say
  • Type as meaning and language

Learning has been delivered via written brief, verbal brief, and involved discussion on an online learning platform, and it has been helpful for me to hear what works for the students, when it can actually be incorrect for me to presume too much. Here are a few interesting reflections: 

"Being asked the question of ‘why’ we made a creative decision and having to answer the question of ‘why’ from a creative and strategic standpoint has been a beautiful way to learn. Especially, after spending a week away from everybody and being caught up in your own response to the homework, it is great to see unveiled other students approach to the homework" 

and on being asked what has helped the learning process: 

"I have found the extensive library of books within arms reach an inspiring way to keep referencing and bolstering topics covered in class"

"And most importantly the amazing body of talent within the class. I find all the students inspiringly talented. Being around a group of wildly different people so loaded with different talents has been an amazingly exciting way to learn."

"Also, Veronica, the philosophy behind your business model and the way it is brought to life creatively, at the risk of sounding like a dag, is changing the course of my life. I think OSNS is not just a bubble of students learning amazing things, I feel part of a larger creative and social ‘movement’ spearheaded by you that shakes up traditional learning models, provokes new ways of thinking, and has standing on a local and international platform."

These are big and significant words. It's no secret that for a long time now, I have been an outspoken critic of mainstream education which has become corrupted by the contemporary ecomic realities. Huge overheads mean that our Universities need to focus on their business of profit, which means that anyone who can pay the fees gains placement, with Australian Universities  first and foremost Visa factories. Places for learning design need to nurture students and teachers who are passionate about learning for a truly engaging, valuable and fun learning experience, unencumbered by the distractions of Students who should probably be somewhere else because they aren't that serious about becoming the best they can be. 

Here's a class shot in action during a crit session:


The dynamic of this particular group has come together well, with a healthy balance of extroverts and introverts who all attack the creative process from different directions, they are a highly creative team who I always enjoy working with one another, meaning that classes are always super exciting. Some of our students felt lost and disempowered after completing their University Degree, unsure where to step and even what font to choose! Our unique learning environment provides the opportunity to try out and test new findings and get that confidence. Sharing of work via Instagram is a very useful tool also, and students soon learn to start feeling more comfortable, when they are gently pushed.  

The focus on the use of manual techniques and the hand has been stronger than ever this year. All students were taught copperplate during their first lesson, and are expected to continue to practice and improve (which they are doing). 

Last week we went out onto the streets, interacting with the public to interact directly with our user group (the public) and used chalk paint to build huge vernacular letters in Smith Street. It was clear to see that the practice is paying off. The shapes and configurations students created quite effortlessly were beautiful. Of course while we do have fun, its important to always think about the whole learning objective, which in this case was for students to utilise their typography to activate a public space. To create meaning, and make the public feel something. Well chosen words deserve well crafted letters. Its all about language. 

Clearly, the first semester of three at OSNS (Ideation) is all about the fundamentals, of exploring different techniques and process, so that when students launch into Semester Two, they have found a comfortable retinue of approaches and techniques that they can use to work at a more advanced level, on complex and involved projects such as publication design, and Identity. This is something that can definitely NOT be learned in three months, as it takes time to absorb the knowledge. 

As well as the physical qualities of Typography, our students work through design as a process that creates meaning. How does Communication integrate image and typography to effectively tell stories? And create meaning? 

If you are interested in joining our program students in Semester Two, working by hand (which definitely helps your design skills), and creating heartfelt design with meaning, it is possible as we will be accepting applications. To gain a place you will need to demonstrate a high order of thinking, and good design skills. You will need to have completed (at least) a year of a design course. As well as filling out our application, you will also need to submit some examples of your work. You can read more here