The ABCs of Impacts, Lessons Learned and Unexpected Discoveries of Collaboration


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin As professional designers, we intuitively rely upon our design skills to see and understand the visual world, yet as design educators we must also find ways to help students build those same skills. Our collaboration on a limited-edition letterpress book of ABCs began with the integrated goals: the challenge of using our diverse collection of letterpress type and images; and creating an educational opportunity in both the process and product. This paper focuses on the production of our letterpress book, a process in which we partnered with a cross section of novice and advance design students from two universities. Through this paper we will explore the educational value revealed in the project’s intersection of contemporary digital technologies with historic production methods of making. We will expose and dissect the various means of creative thinking (linear, lateral, spatial, compositional) as well as analytical and logistical problem-solving that became essential to resolve the complex design challenges. And finally, we will explore some of the unexpected benefits that arise from engaging a broader community of creatives to work towards a time and labor-intensive shared goal.


Teaching, Learners, Vocational Education, Community Programs, Inclusive Education, Technology


Learning in Higher Education


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Brenda Mc Manus
    • Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Art Department, Pace University-NYC, United States United States
  • Ned Drew
    • Professor, Rutgers University-Newark, United States United States