Michael Stinson (@MWStinson) is a
veteran designer, educator, and business owner. In addition to his
work as a professor of graphic design, he also runs Ramp Creative,
a branding studio in Los Angeles, as well as Type Ed, a dedicated
typographic education business which helps creative pros return to
form in the fields of typesetting and layout.
Together in this conversation we unravel some of today’s worst
typographic habits, and how to overcome them, share a few tips that
all creatives can use to improve their type usage, and discuss some
processes for working with clients.
Catch up with Michael on his website, MichaelStinson.com, or
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Show Notes & Links
- Michael is the first person from Los Angeles to join The Busy
Creative handles a lot of variety — digital, print,
Ed is an Education Organization, founded 2012
- UI/UX design has eroded traditional type study
- High School scribbles are largely typography
- Michael was taught both ends of the type spectrum — hand
lettering and typesetting (3 words or 300)
"I'm not training you to be designers; I'm training you to be
Creative Directors some day."
- Whiskey Labels, an underrated technical as well as artistic
"Everyone likes to do logos but wordmarks are extremely
"Designers these days don't like process. They want to jump to
making it look good."
"If you get your process in place, you can design anything."
- Michael is a former Aerospace Engineer; Prescott studied
- Prescott — in spite of the hyphen in his last name —
doesn’t like to use hyphens in his paragraph text
"Imagine if you're reading War & Peace in all caps — how far
would you get?"
"The beauty of graphic design is that it works both sides of the
"If you follow the right words the path will take you to the
promised land of the visuals."
"You're an actor, you're a leader, you're an entrepreneur,
you're a psychologist, you're a therapist ... all at the same
- Building Brands, a
Step-By-Step Guide for Creative Pros to Develop Strategy and Design
Identity — original eBook by Prescott Perez-Fox
Building Brands eBook
"You're not going to use a crescent wrench for a hammer. Right
tool for the right job."
"Never stop noticing design."
- The most stringest morning routine ever described on The Busy
Creator Podcast was that of Michael Bierut
- Reading in The Brain by Stanislas
Dehaene on Amazon
- The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder &
Noah Oppenheim on
Amazon and on Audible
"Type isn't all about the characters themselves, it's about the
space they take up and the negative space that's left."
- Use Tables in InDesign for grid-based layouts (restaurant
- Build type hierarchy from the body copy up (subheads,
- If you’re setting more than 35 words, don’t use All Caps,
- Don’t be afraid to use hyphens, but with discipline. (e.g.,
don’t use hyphens in the first line)
- Don’t use more than 13 words on a line (left-aligned), or 7
words on a line (centered)
- Aim for 50-70 characters per line (type size in points x 2 =
measure width in picas)
- Don’t build websites in Photoshop — it’s not made for
- Keep the reader in your mind. Think of them first.
- Always take clients through a verbal discovery phase first
- Give your print partners multiple files — flattened,
outlined, original files, native links, etc. — make their
- Constantly observe and comment on design around you
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