Type West Online

Joining our in-person counterpart for the first time in 2022, Type West Online is a postgraduate certificate program that brings in-depth type design education to anyone in the world.

Learn Type Design from Anywhere

Conceived from the start for remote learning, Type West Online’s reimagined curriculum was created by our faculty of type designers and historians — all of whom have extensive experience in online education. And unlike other courses which limit student interaction, our class size will be limited to 20 students to insure individualized instruction.

This yearlong program is tailored to the needs of recent graduates, working designers, and anyone seriously interested in diving deep into the world of type. The curriculum has been designed to give students a strong foundation in typeface design, while allowing them the flexibility to explore their own interests within the practice.

By the end of the program, you’ll have the knowledge required to produce high-quality typefaces, speak confidently with type designers, meet future collaborators, think critically about your work, develop your own process, understand your practice, and think about type in an entirely different way.

So, take the plunge and learn from some of the best people practicing, researching, and shaping the field of type.

Program Highlights
  • Typeface Design Principles: A strong foundation in type is essential for breaking away from conventions. We’ll show you the ropes, teach you the rules, and guide you through the process for developing your own practice.
  • Critical Thinking: Apart from drawing type, we’ll nourish your intellect through theory, history, and group discussion that will challenge you to think about type in new ways.
  • Collaboration: Type designers are infamous for being reclusive. We’ll show you how you can balance focused isolation with active collaboration to develop a practice that fits your working style.
  • Contemporary Topics: The field of type is always evolving. Type design is in constant dialog with other disciplines — everyone uses type! In addition to history and theory, we’ll invite guests for group discussions on the events and themes influencing our practice.
  • Community Building: The moment you enter our online classroom, you’ll become part of a community that will support you every step of the way. We’ll give you the tools you need to stay motivated and make connections during and beyond the program.
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Curriculum

The curriculum, syllabus, workshops, lectures, and class assignments have been designed and optimized for online learning. Throughout the year you’ll gain the critical eye and technical skills to become a proficient type designer.

In the first term, we’ll focus on the principles behind designing a workhorse text typeface for extended reading. These principles and lessons are essential to establishing a strong foundation. In the second term, we’ll use sketching, prototyping, and iteration to explore a wide range of ideas to arrive at an original typeface in a single style. In the third term, we’ll expand on your original design and produce the necessary range of styles that are used in contemporary typography and graphic design.

We’ll start discussing type and drawing letters on the very first day and continue the conversation throughout the year. The practical and technical lessons will be complemented by the history and theory of writing, tools, and critical analysis. Workshops on calligraphy, experimental type, variable fonts, font production, type marketing, and building community will provide the in-depth knowledge and motivation you’ll need to enter the practice of type design. In addition, informal and intimate hangouts with current design practitioners from a wide range of experiences will give you real-world insights into the practice.

Our 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.

Learning Outcomes
  • Discover your own process and develop an efficient workflow
  • Understand yourself and your practice through the lens of type
  • Learn the practical and theoretical skills needed to design well-crafted typefaces
  • Learn how to use Glyphs App, a digital font editor
  • Develop your eye and the skills to proof and evaluate a typeface
  • Join a community of people passionate about letterforms
Career Paths

The skills you’ll learn in this program will provide everything you need to know to confidently apply for an entry-level position at any type foundry or studio.

The reality is that salaried full-time jobs in type design are rare. So you’ll also hear from independent type designers about the multiple paths for starting a sustainable career in type design.

Of course, not everyone wants to become a type designer, which is why you’ll also hear from current practitioners about how type design skills can complement and enrich your current practice.

Ultimately, each person’s journey into type is unique; this program is designed to show you the range of possibilities to explore and give you the tools to help shape your future.

Faculty

Our all-star team of type designers and historians are passionate about letterforms and education, and all have experience creating and leading online courses.

From corporate to independent, practical to academic, analog to digital, self-initiated to community-driven, each instructor brings their own perspective on type, education, and design practice.

Carl Crossgrove (Term 1), Lynne Yun (Term 2), and Gen Ramírez (Term 3) worked collaboratively with lead instructor Juan Villanueva to build their vision of an essential type design education.

Ewan Clayton (Term 1), Briar Levit (Term 2), and Silas Munro (Term 3) will cover the history and theory component of the program. Their passion for the history of writing, tools, and contemporary practice will provide cultural context, inspire you, and help you think critically about your work.

Bringing this collaborative spirit into each of the lessons, critiques, discussions, and workshops, we’ll approach type design education as a conversation with friends and colleagues.

Juan Villanueva, Lead Instructor, will be your type design guide throughout the year. He 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.

Carl Crossgrove studied fine art, printmaking, and book arts, eventually focusing on typeface design at Rochester Institute of Technology. He fulfilled internships with Adobe's type design group in the 1990s, and designed typefaces at Monotype for nearly 20 years. Carl’s background in calligraphy and drawing infuses his typefaces — such as Mundo, Segoe Script, and the award-winning Beorcana — with humanism.

Lynne Yun 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, Publicis, and Deutsch. Along with Type West, she has taught at Parsons School of Design and Type@Cooper, and she recently developed her own video course in type design.

Gen Ramírez mastered sign painting in his father’s workshop in Guadalajara, Mexico. He later completed postgrad programs at Type@Cooper and TypeMedia and went on to teach workshops in calligraphy, sign painting, and type design. With roots in an organic approach to letterforms, his work focuses on embracing both the analog and digital in design. Gen was recognized by the Latin American Typography Biennial in 2016 and 2018.

Ewan Clayton is the author of The Golden Thread, an essential book on the history of calligraphy and typography. He is currently teaching at the Royal Drawing School in London and the University of Sunderland, where he co-directs the International Calligraphy Research Centre. In 2013 he was awarded the first Karl-Georg Hoefer prize by The Schreibwerkstatt Klingspor for his work in calligraphy and education.

Briar Levit is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University. She spent her early career as Art Director of Bitch magazine, and as an independent book designer. Her feature-length documentary, Graphic Means, established an obsession with alternative design history, leading her to co-direct The People’s Graphic Design Archive and edit the book, Baseline Shift: Previously Untold Stories of Women Throughout Graphic Design History.

Silas Munro is a partner of Polymode, a design studio for poetic research, learning experiences, and clients in the cultural sphere, innovative businesses, and community-based organizations, including the city of LA, MoMA, and The New Museum. Silas’s writing appears in AIGA Eye on Design, Eye, Slanted, and W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits. Silas is Founding Faculty and Chair Emeritus at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Schedule

The 2022 Certificate Program will consist of three (3) ten-week terms: January 31–April 13, June 6–August 16, and October 3–December 13.

Type Design classes are held on Mondays, 5:00–8:00pm Eastern Time, with two (2) weekend or weeknight workshops per trimester. Type History classes are held on Wednesdays 12:00pm–2:00pm ET in Term 1, and on Tuesdays 5:00–7:00pm ET for the rest of the year. All classes will be held online via Zoom and will be recorded.

Application Info

Who Should Apply?

From highly motivated undergraduate students to passionate educators and experienced design professionals who want to enrich their practice through type, this program is tailored to the interests and needs of any person interested in studying and practicing type design at a deeper level for a full year.

Prerequisites for Admission

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

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 through the Online Archive and special requests for research purposes. Curriculum and workshop listings will be updated as they become available.

First-term tuition is due by 11:59pm PDT, December 15, 2021, 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.

Apply

Apply September 29 – November 14, 2021

Applications for admission to the 2022 Type West Online Postgraduate Certificate Program in Type Design will be accepted September 29 – November 14, 2021. 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 30, 2021 and will need to remit tuition for the term by 11:59pm, December 15, 2021, to secure their place in the program.

Application Checklist

To be considered for the 2022 program, submit the following items in a single PDF:

  1. A portfolio of six (6) recent projects 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.

For more information, contact typewest@letterformarchive.org.

Application Form

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