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Experimenting with Unconventional Type Families

  • Date
  • Time
  • Lead By Marta Bernstein
  • Where Letterform Archive

Use analog and digital tools to reimagine the relationships between type styles, whether you’re new to type design or a seasoned pro.

Contemporary examples are showing us that typefaces can be designed beyond the conventional weight (light/bold) or width (condensed/extended) axes.

How far can we stretch the concept of different styles within the same type family? What constitutes a family, anyway? Drafting a type family can seem like an overwhelming task, but together we will break the process in smaller tasks.

In this two-day intensive workshop, students will learn:

  • basic type design principles (proportions, axis, contrast, consistency)
  • how to sketch type by hand (good for lettering and identity projects as well)
  • how to translate a concept in typographical terms (“How can I design letters based on the different trees in my yard? On lunar phases? On the characters of my favorite movie or cartoon?”)
  • how to develop the concept of a type family (“How do letters change if I have more than one style?”)
  • how to break the conventional boundaries of a type family
  • how to experiment with designing with a “crazy” axis
  • how to critique your work (what to look at and how to proceed further once the workshop is done)

All experience levels welcome! Knowledge of vector drawing and font-editing software is not required.

Required Materials
  • Black markers of various type for sketching

  • Pencils of various type for sketching
  • Paper for sketching
  • Ruler
  • White out or white paint
  • A Mac laptop running Glyphs (or similar font editors)
Suggested Materials
  • Tracing paper
  • Digital laser prints of existing typefaces you like
  • Flat-tipped calligraphy markers

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