First Fuse SessionFeatures Ken Barber

TuesdayMarch 10th

We kicked off our first Fuse Session last weekend with Ken Barber, a letterer and type designer from House Industries. The day brought out 20 workshop attendees from across the Midwest, including Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit – and another attendee even flew in from Santa Barbara, California. We enjoyed a day full of learning, demonstrations, and one-on-one teaching in both formal and informal script lettering.

What Are Fuse Sessions?

If you’re unfamiliar with Fuse Sessions, it’s a groundbreaking new creative series from Element Three that will allow creatives from Indy and beyond to sharpen their skills through hands-on interactions with internationally acclaimed experts in areas like design, writing and photography. Element Three is planning three more workshops for later this year.

What Happened at Fuse Session 01?

Barber started the first Session by telling us about the history of typography. As we enjoyed some freshly brewed coffee from Indie Coffee Roasters, he told us how simple characteristics like contrast, weight, color, and proportion shape the message behind the type. He said the message isn’t in what the words say but the form in which they say it. Barber provided a group demonstration in formal roundhand script lettering and then gave us the opportunity to use those skills individually.

Fuse Session 01 Ken Barber Fuse Session 01 Attendee

Every Piece Rooted in Tradition

After a short lunch break, Barber proceeded in teaching us about the informal script and the stylizing of basic typographic systems to create new compositions. He reminded us that every piece of lettering should have roots in traditional typography. Just how you wouldn’t invent a new language and expect someone to understand you, letters have formal qualities that should always be present.

Following a second demonstration by Barber in the informal script, we used a similar list of characteristics like contrast, proportion, weight, and color to create an informal script lettering composition.

The day concluded with a show-and-tell of work where attendees voted on their favorite pieces of lettering created throughout the day. First, second, and third place prizes were given out, as well as awards for furthest traveled and social media activity.

Fuse Session 01 Attendees Fuse Session 01 Ken Barber


All Skill Levels Welcome

The workshop was a great opportunity for letterers and designers of every skill level, from amateur to advanced, to come and learn from an acclaimed professional in an intimate setting. Attendees enjoyed spending a day learning from Barber, and many felt they would benefit from what they learned in their professional work.

We look forward to hosting more Fuse Sessions in the future and continuing to bring people together for shared creative learning.

Continued Learning

Ken Barber’s Type and Lettering

Ken Barber’s Instagram


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