Typography, Graphic Design and Fonts/Calligraphy courses were introduced when the collaboration with an external teacher Vítězslav Švalbach started. At that time he was an essential lecturer at the Pedagogical Faculty of MU and the Faculty of Visual Arts at VUT. His lectures and seminars had a general focus at first. They tried to add on to the Informatics specializations. Classes such as Typography, Graphic Design and Fonts/Calligraphy 1, 2 and 3, taught as a Graphic Design Specialization, fitted the general understanding of important skills for math-tech based studies very well. It is directly related to the humanization and humanizing applications of Informatics which are naturally a part of progress of Information Science at traditional universities with general focus of study. It is worth mentioning that a significant part of work of the first Faculty of Informatics PhD of Honour, a Professor of the Stanford University, Donald E. Knuth, relates not only to the area of fundamental programming and computer-finalized calculation methods but also computer-based typography and brilliant computer-generated typeface designs suitable for complicated mathematical typesettings. The beginnings of typography courses at the Faculty of Informatics immendiately followed.
This project of the Studio of Graphic Design was processed and proposed to the academic board of the Faculty of Informatics by V. Švalbach and J. Eliška in 1998. This idea was then combined with an already existing course called the Art Informatics, taught by Ivo Serba, followed by the actual birth of the Studio of Graphic Design and Multimedia of the Faculty of Informatics. New additional academic staff had to be hired while the curriculum started to offer new classes – Visual Communication, Photography, Art Anatomy, Architectural Space, Digital Photography and Art Field Trips. Bezejmenná galerie (No Name Gallery) was founded and its regular openings became an essential part of the social life at the Faculty of Informatics, significantly crossing over to also play a role in the social life of Brno.
The establishment of twelve specialized student workspaces including additional equipment was made possible with the help of one of the first great grants of the University Development Fund. Today 25 students are admitted to take each course every year. In addition, the Studio supervises two Bachalor’s theses and one Master’s thesis. New Bachelor’s and Master’s works are born and defended.
Receiveing the second grant of the University Development Fund led to establishing the Photo-Video Studio and expanding the curriculum even more – Photography 3, Animation and Visualization, Video and Film, Art Modeling and Evening Drawing, including theoretical classes such as the Historical Changes of Photography and the Essentials of Visual Culture.
The Studio of Graphic Design and Multimedia guarantees a choice of 31 courses, which are instructed by graduates of highly professional art institutions and by established artists.
By offering such specialized art classes and providing well equipped workspace of an Art Design and Multimedia Studio, the Faculty of Informatics represents one of its kind among faculties of informatics in the country. In some way, this uniqueness carries drawbacks as well especially in the attitude of the Accreditation Committee which prefers to support faculties of informatics with narrower one-sided vision. To some extend, the same scepticism in the longer lasting math and electrotechnical fields was expressed during the time the Faculty was introducing this specialization as a first in central Europe. Special courses combining informatics and visual arts are not unsual at universities around the world and can be found, for example, at NYU and MIT. Unfortuntely, the frequently egocentric academic elites in this country are either not aware of these tendencies or they feel too threatened by new approches which combine science and art and are not in favour of this progress at other institutions.
New original Bachelor’s as well as especially Master’s theses are presented here and couldn’t have been created in purely IT or art environment. Our graduates find the use for their artistic skill in ad agencies, graphic studios and often establish their own. They continue in their studies at specialized art universities or use their skills in other fields. They show their abilities in art designs and concepts, in being equal team partners and in communication with experts in the field of graphics, architecture and many other. Their knowledge of information science contributes to solutions of art projects. They stay up-to-date in the specialized art area and visual culture and stay well informed in the visual arts matters.
The vision of possibly combining Art and Informatics, which carried the initial drive of the Graphic Design Courses for IT students, showed to pay off in an environment filled with expertise and enthusiasm. Works which you can see in this publication are a perfect proof of that. Many thanks go to the Studio of Graphic Design and Multimedia staff at the Faculty of Informatics who gave a real life to this vision. A particular thank you goes to Vítězslav Švalbach and also the talented students who come to our teachers. Let’s wish them for the upcoming years to bring them a great amount of works which will make them feel at least as proud as the accomplishments already behind them.
The Dean of the Faculty of Informatics,
the Masaryk University