In summary

  • Swinburne students have had incredible success in the most recent round of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) student assessment scheme.
  • While working on their chosen assessment projects, students have developed essential skills valued in industry.
  • The students who have passed the assessment are also granted full membership to the prestigious society and given international recognition for their work.

Typography is the craft of using letters and words to design creative, clear, impactful, and sensitive communication.

It is a skill required by all communication designers and is used to create everything from accessible information design to experimental artistic work.

In industry, refinement in this area is considered a mark of high-level design training and creativity.

Swinburne communication design students have proven their typographic excellence in the most recent assessment scheme run by global experts on typographic design.

  • A smudgy black page with stray words escaping a column of  white text. The words in focus read "being watched at any given moment."
    Clarissa Seow’s publication design of 1984 by George Orwell received a merit
  • A corner of a white page looks covered in grey ash and ink. Snippets of scrawled white text is nside the darkness.
    Clarissa had loved the novel for many years and strived to create a design that did it justice
  • The top of a black page with white texts reads "Double think" in large letters. Other white text flips and overlaps in different opacities.
    Expressing the complex concepts of the book using only typography was a challenge that required many iterations to solve
  • Black text of varying sizes runs across and up a white page in a zigzag.
    A major highlight of the project was learning how to bind the book once the design was complete

The International Society of Typographic Designers

The International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) is a globally respected body of designers, educators, and typographers committed to developing the design practice of typography.

Established in 1975, their Student Assessment Scheme is one of the oldest and most reputable assessments of student work.

It runs in the UK, Ireland, North America, South Africa, the Middle East, and Australasia.

Associate Dean of Education Nicole Wragg has worked closely with students on the ISTD student assessment scheme for over 10 years.

“The ISTD project is a holistic assessment, not a competition only focused on the end goal,” Professor Wragg said.  

“This makes students think critically about every step they take during their process and each component and detail of their design.”

This assessment approach offers students a valuable opportunity to research a topic in depth, develop a communication strategy, and design a creative response to challenging briefs.

“The ISTD assessment is a vehicle to introduce our honours students to meaningful research practises,” Professor Wragg said.  

“It isn’t research for the sake of it. It’s about developing practical skills that will be valuable to students as they move into industry.” 

Adorel’s design explored the duality that can come from the pursuit of unrealistic beauty.

Resounding student success

In the most recent assessment, Swinburne Communication Design students received an 82 per cent pass rate, making them the most successful in global terms, with an average pass rate of approximately 40 per cent.

Adorel Ng and Claudia Crowe both received commendations and Clarissa Seow received a merit.

Lulu Nicholls, Katerina Hionis, Gabrielle Versace, Charlotte Tiong, Kaylee Leonard, and Matilda Lourey all passed the assessment scheme.

“I found the experience extremely rewarding, not just in terms of improving my typography and publication skills, but also in achieving an outcome that I'm really proud of,” Clarissa said.

“ISTD was an amazing opportunity for me to learn about typography and apply it in a meaningful way,” Adorel said. 

“I was encouraged to question every single detail of my publication, making sure it had a purpose and intention for being on the page.”

The student assessments are just as rigorous as the applications professional designers must undertake to become a part of the ISTD.

Students who pass are granted full membership to the ISTD. This gives them access to an international network and honours them with a globally recognised attestation of their skills.  

  • A black page full of holes reveals clusters of yellow dots on a page beneath.
    Claudia Crowe’s project ‘Walk This Way’ received a commendation
  • A mockup of typography exhibit shows the words "Put cars in their place" in yellow dots that can only be read from a certain angle
    ‘Walk This Way’ was both a publication and exhibition design
  • An open publication shows an abstracted photo of an underground carpark with letters made from yellow dots over the top
    The work examined relationships between cars, pedestrians and public spaces
  • Hands hold a ring-bound publication with a black cover filled with code-like dots. The largest dots are cut out to spell "walk this way"
    Claudia Crowe’s publication and exhibition design ‘Walk This Way’ received a commendation

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