First, Lessons in Typography with Dr. Miriam Ahmed

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Beatrice Warde Memorial Lecture - St Bride Foundation / London, UK

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Intersectional research exploiting multi modal methodologies, facilitated by the rapid access frontier of the virtual platform must certainly reposition the world view of graphic design. Here, expanding on the responsible design movement and initial findings of statistical research on the niche of Indigenous American graphic design, we enter the world of the student. We are on a journey through the eyes of two levels of students, university and pre-school, that builds a case for broader exploration beyond standard typographic pathways, quantitative approaches to design research, and a re-evaluation of academic and professional type rhetoric.

We travel into Miriam Ahmed’s virtual classroom and share her recent adventures charting an inclusive course through the Wander Type Project – a fully remote assignment undertaken by her typography students at Nova Southeastern University. She’ll also present the initial findings of statistical research into Indigenous American graphic designers who took the AIGA Design Census and who are likely at the forefront of the responsible design movement.

First, Lessons in Typography, is as it says it is. It is an incursion into the genesis of typography where we trace to the formative years, early childhood. Delving into heritage and culture, a subtle and erstwhile subconscious stream into type awareness is espoused as the bosom of the democratization of design effort. Renewed type rhetoric can provide pathways to explaining and validating the immense worth of a career in design and typography – not just to parents, but to everyone.

As a design and communication scholar and educator, Miriam Ahmed’s work is on the frontier of multi-modal analysis. She reexamines the layers and the hype to unearth one essential truth: we’ve been in this business for a long time and we are here to stay.

Dr. Miriam Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of graphic design at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is the author of “Minority, Millennial Graphic Designers Say No to the ‘Road to Hell’” in Design and Culture 12(1): 31-55 (2020), “Perspectives On Responsible Design Among Minority, Millennial Graphic Designers” in The International Journal of Design in Society 12(4): 29-44 (2018), and the essay “Minority Designers – Leading the Charge Toward Responsible Design” in Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility (Second Edition) edited by Steven Heller and Véronique Vienne (2018, Allworth Press with SVA NYC). She presented her students’ typography research at ATypI All Over 2020 and presented her research on “Anatomical Grids” at TypeCon 2019. She was an AIGA DC SHINE 2019-20 mentor and served on the 2020 Advisory Review Panel for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She has taught graphic design at Howard University, MICA, and was an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at the American University in Dubai, UAE. Dr. Ahmed received her BFA and MFA in Graphic Design, and her doctorate in Mass Communications and Media Studies at Howard University, Washington DC. She was a Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Rising Star.

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Ahmed is a globe trotter and values immersion in unfamiliar cultures. She has traveled from Egypt to Europe, Mideast to Japan, Southeast Asia and throughout the US and Caribbean, and hasn’t seen near enough of the world yet.