Ask me what I love about being a school librarian, and we’d have quite a lengthy conversation. However, in the top three of my favorite aspects of school librarianship is the unpredictable nature of our work day and task list. Every day truly is a new adventure, bringing fresh opportunities to serve kids, teachers, and administrators in your building.
An unexpected byproduct of my work as a school librarian has been the task-driven need to study the intricacies of graphic design. From creating graphic organizers for teachers and students in collaborative lessons to generating advertisement images to promote a library or school event, graphic design just is a big part of what we do. And like anything else in librarianship, it is what we make of it. We can either type up a simple document or plain white presentation with default text and sizes or we can design graphics.
This is not to say that every librarian has to be a Font Barista; but it is only to remind you that every opportunity we have to make, do, collaborate, or create is an opportunity to do so with excellence.
There are many open source tools available for those interested in tweaking our graphic design skills, and hopefully the following annotations will help those interested in learning more about typography in particular. Future posts will include other aspects of multimedia design.
I have fallen in love with this website! As one who appreciates a variety of font styles and dabbles in the study of font design, I found this free website extremely informative in every area of font history, philosophy, and content. I refer to it often to learn about font selections and consider it an essential handbook of typography.
Typophile is a free online community of “Font People.” I found it embedded in one of the many posts I studied on the I Love Typography website. I consider this resource helpful to the multimedia design process because it is a unique community of multimedia designers. This seems to be a great place to connect with and learn from other Font People.
Dafont is a free resource of thousands of font styles that are available for download. Easy to access, search, download, and install a plethora of font styles, this website is one I use regularly when creating graphic design work for my library, school, and personal life. Each font includes the entire lower- and uppercase alphabets, which can be very helpful when making decisions between styles. Notations are made within each font folder in regard to the type of permissions granted by the author of the font. Some are free for both public, personal, and commercial use. Others are off-limits for commercial use, and it is the responsibility of the user to adhere to these guidelines.
The Typography Handbook is a wonderful, free, easily searched resource that zeroes in on the translation of typography construction and history to its use on the web. This website is an essential tool for understanding type-related content design in the multimedia world.
Typography is just one of many elements involved in graphic design, but a great place to start for those interested in improving our design skills. By studying these resources, we can become more knowledgeable in this area for our students, and can even incorporate it into STEAM and makerspace activities we design for our libraries. The opportunities for application are endless, just as they are each day in our work as school librarians!
Author: Michelle Wilson
With 16 year of experience as a school librarian, Michelle has served students and teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She is a past President of Alabama School Library Association, has served as Region V Director for AASL, and currently chairs the Alabama Virtual Library Executive Council. A National Board Certified Teacher, adjunct professor for the University of Alabama’s School of Library and Information Studies, and graduate student pursuing a PhD in Instructional Leadership/Technology, she is always eager to discover and share the latest trends in school librarianship. Michelle is very passionate about her work as a school librarian at Helena High School in the Birmingham, Alabama area.