The student exercises on the following pages are from an Ives assignment, which echo Josef Albers’ basic design assignments. They are typographic elements meant to engage interest in individual letter forms and combinations of those forms. Others show how multiples of these elements may assume spatial readings and activate an entire field.
The elegance of these abstract exercises was contrasted by other more practical typographic assignments. Routine business and corporate forms were part of the program. Ives’s own work included such assignments; he was keenly aware of the vital need for clarity and legibility in mundane jobs. His teaching recognized the potential for combining practical and aesthetic matters.