Ligatour: A Tour of Typography Over Time

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In my experience teaching design to undergraduates, I became convinced structured exploration was critical to learning design foundations. The concepts of design need to be 'played with' to learn. However, 'playing' within a design application is too unstructured to facilitate learning. Students need to be equipped with the appropriate guard rails—learning the building blocks of type—before moving on to Adobe's Creative Suite or other industry applications. To explore this hypothesis, I've built a proof-of-concept called Ligatour, a browser-based application that brings elements of play and exploration into the pedagogy of typography basics.

Some lessons involve more play than others, but interaction is crucial to all. In history-focused lessons, slideshows and mini-games illustrate concepts. In the play-focused lessons, an open-ended interaction that adds complexity gradually helps users understand the curriculum. Continually returning to the experiment creates a loop. Users gradually learn more about the actions they're taking as the lessons build on cognitive learning. The interactive nature of each lesson creates a series of active 'playing' actions rather than passive 'reading' actions. Ultimately, because students engage and experiment with the concepts, they will gain a more profound understanding of typography than by simply reading about it.

Three lessons have been built in this prototype. The table of contents shows others lessons that could be built. The goal of Ligatour is to teach typographic concepts using interactive, self-guided learning rooted in the historical order and context of typography.