Typography courses

tharrson's picture

We frequently get inquiries like this:

>> I was wondering if you know of any training for creating fonts. Either online courses or Instructor-Led. The only thing I have found
is books. I was just wondering if there is anything else that is a little more hands-on.<<

Other than the workshops given at AtypI and TypeCon does anyone know of other places that are giving typography/typographic design courses that
are not part of a bigger curriculum? Summer school courses? Adult Ed classes?
How about on-line courses - do any exist?

Ted H

c_acker's picture


Not sure about where you or your customers are asking about. But in NYC there is a series of classes organized by the Type Directors Club, called the Masters Classes. Every 4th Thurs of the month, $25 for TDC members, $40 for non members.


Currently they are taught by Ilene Strivzer of The Type Studio.

I have not taken the classes myself, as I understand they are more focused on the use of type than on the design of type. I am a user of FontLab, teaching myself with the manual, and I also would be interested in a class that focused a bit on the philosophy of type design but more on the practical aspects of using yours and others software.

Perhaps I could urge you to contact the TDC or other like organizations to perhaps sponsor classes or workshops, dealing with FL.

pmiura's picture

Underware leads a series of workshops; http://www.typeworkshop.com/index.php?id1=workshops

However, they're not all open to the general public (see the "I have a question" link at the bottom of the page). They also aren't intended as a type design 101 class.

.00's picture

What sort of "Master Class" as it relates to type design and FontLab do you long for. The TDC is looking to expand the offerings of the Master Class and any serious suggestions could be presented to the board.

John Hudson's picture

Ted, are you looking for typography classes or type design classes, i.e. classes in using type or making type? Your reference to ATypI workshops suggests the latter, but 'typography' usually refers to design with type rather than of type.

c_acker's picture


Thats really exciting. Forgive me if TDC already serves this in some capacity. to be honest I have been a rather negligent TDC member for the last year or so. I was kicking myself for having missed your Opentype lecture.

I would find great value in a small group/class that focused on the design of type, particulary the technical side, although having a group to critique a work in progress is always helpful as well. I actually had tried this a couple of times with a small group of fellow designers, but I think it would benefit from having a structure.

Having developed a number of font families now, while I've simultaneously been figuring out Fontographer and now FontLab, I'm looking for help before I continue to set my uninformed or bad work habits in stone.

aquatoad's picture


I'm in for a series on type design using Font Lab. Topics that would be of interest to me would include:
1. Drawing in Fontlab for Illustrator Junkies
2. Encoding/Unicode explained
3. Using mulitple master in FontLab
4. Tips & tricks for spacing/kerning a font (general/class-based)
5. Creating opentype features
6. The font header (what do all these dialogue boxes mean!!!
How do they effect the way the font functions?? on macs, pcs?)
7. Exporting tips/tricks
8. Hinting done right

What would be really cool is a several month series where the group starts in the design process, then moves into the technical side addressing the issues above.

Probably ambitious maybe, but I don't know of a class in New York that addresses the technical side of things. Most are learn to draw and alphabet, not turn your alphabet into a font. Thanks for starting the dialogue.


c_acker's picture


Excellent wish list. I realized I was being a bit obtuse when I read your post. Every point is one that rings with questions I have. Especially:

bruno_maag's picture


do you still want to do MultipleMasters???? I gave that up in 1996 after having done a 1-Axis and a 2-Axis using the then avant-garde FOG 3.5. Whilst MM ist a great idea, it is also a particular pain in the a*** to do. Trust me, I've been there. And once you've done the fonts, what apps actually still utilise MM. Adobe has dropped support for MM fonts some while ago. In fact a similar result can be achieved by extrapolating technology, as was used in Skia in the good old QuickDraw GX days. Easier too.

Bruno Maag
Dalton Maag Ltd

.00's picture

I would hope that the references to Multiple Masters is more in line with using them as a development tool rather than a final product. They are still very useful in the former, not so in the latter.

aquatoad's picture

Hi Bruno,

Yes, for use as James suggested.
Your expertise and opinion is appreciated!
BTW, I have dinked around with MM:
Hopefully with a bit of guidance it'd be
a little less of a pain in the ascot.


c_acker's picture

I on the other hand don't know my ascot from my elbow when it comes to MM. But my intention was for developmental purposes as I tried to decipher from the FL user manual, for creating families of weights, condensed and extended versions.

bieler's picture

"And once you've done the fonts, what apps actually still utilise MM. Adobe has dropped support for MM fonts some while ago. In fact a similar result can be achieved by extrapolating technology, as was used in Skia in the good old QuickDraw GX days. Easier too."

Yes, QuickDraw GX used extrapolating technology. But that never caught on did it? as it was supported by only one (minor) third party software maker and market sales of the fonts themselves was virtually non-existant. Adobe actually was working on releases for the GX format but they were never released. Guess I find the example/argument a bit odd when comparing it to MM and its demise (after a near decade run, whether or not it received the support that was hoped for). I still use MM. And from what I understand it is supported by the latest Mac OS system version. Extrapolation technology would be great, yeah, yeah, yeah. Where is it?

ric's picture

John Downer has a workshop called "Principles of Type Design" at Cooper Union in NYC during the weekend of June 19-20, as part of their continuing education program.

More info at TDC's website...


...and at Cooper Union's site too:


ric's picture

There is also a Continuing Education course at SVA called Typeface Design. I understand that Ed Benguiat teaches this course every semester.

More info:


NRodenbeek's picture

Does anybody know how to get into like an online course for Fontlab? I live in Kansas and all these fancy NYC schools aren't going to work for me. Is there like a video? Reading the manual and Leslie's book has been really helpful, I just learn better by example. Are there maybe some tutorials floating around out there?

paul d hunt's picture

Does anybody know how to get into like an online course for Fontlab?

I thought this was it...

Hannes Famira's picture

Check out the Type@Cooper certificate programs at the Cooper Union:

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