Letterform Archive – Education

Type West at Letterform Archive

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Education is central to the Archive’s mission. At the core is Type West, a postgraduate certificate program in type design available in-person in San Francisco or online to students from all over the world. We also host class visits, present lectures, and offer public workshops.

Class of 2019 students at work. See the full video.

Our Postgraduate Certificate Program in Type Design is geared toward graphic design professionals who wish to expand their typographic toolboxes by learning the tools and techniques necessary to create original typefaces. The yearlong program is tailored to the needs of recent graduates, working designers, and other professionals who interact with type and typography regularly but would like to deepen their knowledge in a supportive and challenging academic environment.

Grad type specimens: Class of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 Online Class Type Revivals

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Pedagogy & Resources

students browse in the Letterform Archive reading room
Instructor Grendl Löfkvist and students browse historical examples in the Archive reading room. Photo: Mary Miguel.

The history and theory of type design serve as the basis for the core classes of type production. Students practice hand lettering, calligraphy, and drafting as a foundation for original letterform creation and master the digital tools necessary for making fonts. Class size is limited to allow for individual instruction.

Each of the three (3) ten-week terms is supported by two (2) weekend/weeknight workshops and four (4) guest lectures, all taught by leaders in the fields of typography and type design. The course curriculum is supplemented by the popular Letterform Lecture series, co-presented by the San Francisco Public Library and currently held online, featuring visiting scholars and industry professionals and covering a wide range of topics on lettering and type design.

Type West students have access to an unparalleled typographic library as they research and create their own original typefaces. Librarians, curators, and other members of the Archive’s knowledgeable staff guide students through thousands of type specimens, reference books, and original examples of lettering and graphic design.

Students also benefit from free admission to the Letterform Archive Salon Series which explores a specific category of the Archive’s extensive collection.

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Core Instructors for Type West In-Person

Grendl Löfqvist portraitGrendl Löfkvist, Education Director, teaches type history and theory in the Certificate Program. Outside the Archive, Grendl teaches the history of graphic design, book arts, typography, and letterpress printing at City College of San Francisco, as well as calligraphy at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Grendl has ink in her veins: she was an offset press operator for 20 years, and she serves on the board of directors for the American Printing History Association’s Northern California chapter. Her interests include the study of printing as a subversive “Black Art” and she’s always on the lookout for bizarre or macabre print, type, and lettering lore (she is a bit of a goth).

Graham Bradley portraitGraham Bradley, Lead Instructor, runs FromA+, a California-based design studio specializing in typefaces and brand identities. He has been an instructor at Type West since its inception in 2018 and leads all three terms of the 2021 program. Before founding FromA+, Graham was the first employee at Frere-Jones Type, where he worked with Tobias Frere-Jones on Mallory and Retina. He is a graduate of the Type@Cooper program at The Cooper Union, and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Rod Cavazos's portrait

Rod Cavazos is Founder and Principal at PSY/OPS, where he has designed and produced hundreds of typefaces over 25 years. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts, where he’s taught the acclaimed Type Design Studio since 2006. His passion for type and teaching are boundless, and he can usually be found tinkering with letters in some form, on screen or off.

Maria Doreuli's portrait

Maria Doreuli earned masters degrees at the Moscow State University of Printing and the TypeMedia course at The Royal Academy of Art in the Hague. Her type has won numerous awards, including honors from the Type Directors Club and Morisawa. For several years she has run type design and lettering workshops in Russia and in 2014 she founded the Contrast Foundry in Moscow.

Core Instructors for Type West Online

Juan Villanueva's portrait Juan Villanueva (2022) grew up in Lima, Peru and Clifton, New Jersey and is now designing and teaching in New York City. Juan’s typeface credits include Helvetica Now, Futura Now, and Walbaum, as well as custom projects for global brands such as Google, Microsoft, and Tencent. He has taught Display Type Design at Type@Cooper and typography at the City College of New York, and is the founder of Type Crit Crew, an initiative to make type design education more accessible and inclusive.

Lynne Yun's portraitLynne Yun is an NYC-based type designer and educator who specializes in typography, hand lettering, and calligraphy. She is a board member of AIGA NY and was previously a full-time type designer at Monotype and graphic designer at Apple Inc., Publicis, and Deutsch. Along with Type West, she teaches at Parsons School of Design and Type@Cooper.

Kel Troughton's portraitKel Troughton is a type designer and lettering artist who gets an equal amount of inspiration from mid-century advertising and Bay Area graffiti. He graduated from the Type@Cooper West program in 2018, was the teaching assistant for Type West in 2019, and worked at Monotype. You can find him in the East Bay drawing letters and you can find his typeface Oaks on Future Fonts.

Fer Cozzi's portraitFer Cozzi is an independent type designer from Argentina. Fer graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, where she teaches typography in the Masters Program.

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Past Core Instructors