Type West at Letterform Archive

Education is central to the Archive’s mission. At the core is Type West, a postgraduate certificate program in type design, and the only one of its kind on the West Coast — and now online. We also host class visits, present lectures, and offer public workshops.

Type West students at work in the Monotype Classroom. 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. The 2021 program will take place remotely, opening access to students anywhere in the world.

See work from the Class of 2019.

The 2021 Certificate Program will run February–December 2021. Apply October 1–31, 2020. More info below.

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 popular Letterform Lecture series, co-presented by the San Francisco Public Library and currently held online, features visiting scholars and industry professionals and covers 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. While the Archive is closed to visitors in response to local pandemic guidelines, every effort is made to make the collection available to students remotely.

Students also benefit from free admission to the Letterform Archive Salon Series, an evening event on the last Thursday of every month which explores a specific category of the Archive’s extensive collection.

Core Instructors

James Edmondson portraitJames Edmondson, Lead Instructor, followed his graphic design degree from California College of the Arts with a masters in type design from The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Netherlands. James lives in Oakland and runs OH no Type Co., an independent foundry focused on display faces and expressive lettering. He has several years of type design teaching under his belt at CCA, Type@Cooper West, and Type West.

Graham Bradley portraitGraham Bradley, Lead Instructor, runs Roxaboxen, 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 Roxaboxen, 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.

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).

Kel Troughton (2019–21) 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 now makes fonts at Monotype. You can find him in the East Bay drawing letters and you can find his typeface Oaks on Future Fonts.

Lynne Yun (2021) is a 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.

Maria Doreuli (2019–20) 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.

Past Core Instructors

Workshops & Lectures

The Type West program is supplemented by evening and weekend workshops in type design, lettering, calligraphy, and typography for print and web design. The workshops are conducted by Type West’s core instructors, as well as guest designers and educators who are eminent in their fields. Many of the workshops are also open to public participation, and are accessible remotely in response to pandemic conditions.

The Letterform Lecture series complements the Type West curriculum with four presentations per term from luminaries in type, design, and research. Held at the San Francisco Public Library, the lectures are free and open to the public. The Archive also hosts a monthly Salon Series, highlighting specific aspects of our collection. Participants in the Type West Certificate Program get free entrance to the Salon Series and other special events.

Learn more about upcoming workshops and lectures and watch video of past lectures.

Victor Moscoso guest critique
Guest critiques and instructors are integral to the Type West program. Here, legendary poster artist Victor Moscoso visits a James Edmondson workshop on psychedelic lettering.

Schedule

The 2021 Certificate Program will consist of three (3) ten-week terms: February 1–April 12, June 2–August 17, and October 4–December 14.

Core classes are scheduled on Monday and Tuesday evenings, with two (2) weekend or weeknight workshops per trimester. All classes for the 2021 program will be held online via Zoom.

Tuition

The program fee is $2,695 per trimester and includes all core classes plus two (2) workshops per term. Additional benefits include free admission to the monthly Letterform Archive Salon Series and access to the Letterform Archive collection for research purposes. Curriculum and workshop listings will be updated as they become available.

First-term tuition is due by midnight PDT, December 15, 2020, to ensure a place in the program. Payment instructions will accompany the notification of acceptance into the program.

To promote equity in the type design community, Letterform Archive will support an admitted BIPOC student with a scholarship to cover their entire tuition cost. The scholarship is open to all BIPOC students and eligible students can apply as part of the Type West Certificate Program application.

Prerequisites for Admission

Candidates must demonstrate a strong background in graphic design and be well versed in Adobe Creative Cloud software. Students must bring their own Macintosh laptops to class. All necessary font creation software will be provided for the duration of the yearlong program.

Apply by October 31, 2020

Applications for admission to the 2021 Type West Postgraduate Certificate Program in Type Design will be accepted October 1–31, 2019. Payment instructions will accompany the notification of acceptance into the program.

A $40 non-refundable application fee must accompany each application. Candidates will be informed of their status as of November 16, 2020 and will need to remit tuition for the term by midnight, December 15, 2020, to secure their place in the program.

Application Checklist

Please submit the following to be considered for the 2021 program:

  1. A portfolio of six (6) images of recent work involving type, lettering, calligraphy, illustration, design, and/or typography, including a description of the process and your role in production,
  2. A statement of intent (between 250 and 500 words).
  3. A CV, including your education history and any relevant coursework, dates, and institutions.

Submit the items as a single PDF using the online form below.

For more information, contact typewest@letterformarchive.org.

Apply to the Type West 2021 Certificate in Type Design

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