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How did you learn typography?


Jancy…how did you learn typography? I think it is hard now, with so many typefaces and computers to learn typography. In the old days it must have been easier.

intro How did you learn typography?In the “old days” I learned typography on a computer at the University of Delaware (such a relief when we moved on from carving in stone). I can promise you that “learning” typography was not one bit easier then: there were thousands upon thousands of fonts. And getting the font right, the kerning right, the whole role of type right was and is one of the biggest challenges an art director faces, from the first ad ever done. I think it’s like torture, myself. I’ve always found that for my one ad, suddenly all those thousands of fonts are just wrong. I spend days and days if not longer on the search. And we’ve all blown ads by choosing, finally, a font that’s still a hair off.

I think one thing that probably worked better when I was a junior was the more tactile experience of looking through books instead of on the screen. We’d literally photocopy pages and cut together our headlines (well, some of us), gluing them down, as we tried to find the right solution. I know that sounds primitve and awful, but it made the process go deeper and we wrapped our heads around the fonts that much better. Seeing it onscreen just isn’t the same. And I walked 12 miles to work, uphill both ways.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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