Bricks & Mortar: Old School – The New School for Graphic Design & Typography

By Diane Leyman Old School – The New School for Graphic Design and Typography is exactly what its name suggests: a back-to-basics, community-centered school for graphic designers and other creative types who want to learn outside of the traditional university or college setting. Old School is the creative vision of its founder, Veronica Grow. Veronica graduated from Swinburne in 1998 and has spent her years since teaching as a design lecturer and tutor at RMIT and Box Hill Institute, where she created and delivered design courses in Australia and overseas alongside working on her own design projects. Veronica’s love of teaching led her to set up Old School, and after months of planning and collaborating with another designer to develop the school’s identity and website (Veronica says the most difficult thing was deciding on the name), she opened up her doors in January this year.

Old School is currently run out of Veronica’s lovely home Coburg, and it’s a friendly, welcoming and non-intimidating creative space. I felt immediately at home when I walked in, and Veronica’s welcoming personality (and her adorable dog Gertie) certainly help to make her students feel comfortable and at ease.

So far this year Veronica has run short courses on publication design, hand made type and observational drawing (which I gatecrashed on my visit and was damn impressed by what the girls were working on), and in the next few months will be offering a class called Voice, which is designed to help illustrators find their unique style, and the Lost Art of Walking, which is all about exploring the outdoors as a source of inspiration. In July Veronica also launched her first two-year communication design program. The course walks students through core design skills and also has a social and community emphasis, and this is really what’s at the heart of Veronica’s philosophy at Old School – that design has the ability to influence positive social change and help make this crazy world of ours a better place.

Veronica has, in a short time, managed to achieve what she set out to do – create a down to earth school driven by a love of learning – and I’m sure this is just the beginning. To find out more and to see what classes Veronica has coming up, visit the Old School website.

Diane Leyman is a freelance editor, proofreader and project manager with more than six years of experience working in non-fiction illustrated trade book publishing. She has a passion for all things design, and writes a design blog called Notes to a Further Excuse. She also likes taking photographs, crafting, drinking coffee and obsessing over mid-century homewares.