Monday, June 30, 2008

Ellen Lupton

So, I'm working on a project for typography - it will be an approximately 20 page booklet, serving as an anthology of the works of designer Ellen Lupton.

Upon doing research for this project, I found out lots of neat things about Ellen.

Ellen Lupton is a writer, curator, and graphic designer. She is director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, where she also serves as director of the Center for Design Thinking.

What I like about her is her philosophy on design, and how it should be shared with others and allow others (even those who aren't designers) to learn about design; and she goes out of her way to make information more reachable by the public via blogs, being a teacher and providing her projects and syllabi online as well, writing articles, giving lectures, and so on.

Ellen came from a family of English teachers, and she has incorporated a more intellectual aspect (rather than mostly visual) into her design. She likes to view the designer as an overall producer, and she is a great speaker and writer in addition to being a designer, and so she uses this to bring design awareness to anyone who is willing to listen.

Ellen is a 2007 recipient of the AIGA Gold Medal, one of the highest honors given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S.

She also has a blog along with her website at, the blog being at

"I launched the Web site in January 2003 in order to revive the studio in the extra-curricular, quasi-underground spirit with which it was founded. The site is an archive of writing and a communications tool for my work as a curator and teacher. Having this site has put me in contact with students and designers around the world. A group of graduate students in Israel was reading the material on design and deconstruction, for example, and I constantly get questions and requests fro
m students working on research projects. I now have two other Web sites,, a resource for teachers, students, and designers, and, a blog about applying design thinking to everyday situations. The most interesting thing to me about all of these sites is how they put readers and writers into direct contact with each other. The Web is a social medium." - Quote from interview with Lawrie Hunter

In addition, Ellen has written a few books, one of which I just ordered, called "Thinking with Type."
A great book for typography, and has its own website at:
Its website is basically considered an online companion for the book, so the website actually
has a lot of useful information on typography rules and so on. It also has projects to try as well as tools for teachers.

Among Ellen's other books are D.I.Y. - Design it Yourself, a book for generating ideas for all sorts of creative designs serving different functions, whether you are a designer or not.
If you want to get a preview, check it out HERE. As you may know, google allows you to preview select books (with some pages omitted from the preview). In the book she explains many different techniques for making things visually appealing.

There is also a Design it Yourself for kids - with artwork featured by other kids. Ellen explains that it's not one of those how-to art books that you always see where the animals start out as mere triangles and circles, then suddenly transform into a beautiful drawing. She keeps it simple and practical, showing how to do things that can challenge a child while teaching them about art and design, but that will be completely do-able, not being unreasonable in terms of difficulty and complexity.
The Design it Yourself for Kids book also has its own website (a very nice one indeed) at which features some of the sample projects that are in the book as well. The book was co-authored by her identical twin sister Julia Lupton, who is involved with Ellen's career in many ways - influencing her writing, helping her with blogging, writing books, and so on.

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