A survey to discover what educational backgrounds we all have

jshen's picture

Dear typophiles,

I am doing background research for the TypeCon Education Forum this summer where we will discuss what might comprise a post-graduate degree program in typography here in the U.S.
Please look over the list below and respond by identifying any areas which you have been educated in, have had training in, or have investigated on your own in order to further your typographic work.

This survey is meant for anyone who considers that typography is central to their main line of work. You do not have to be a type designer. Also, feel free to add any areas you think have been overlooked. My objective is to learn what kind of backgrounds those who are currently working in the field have.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. This information will have a direct effect on the panel discussion planned for TypeCon in Los Angeles, and the more responses, the more meaningful the data.

Juliet Shen

Latin font design
Non-latin font design

History of aesthetics of type design
History of technology of printing/type

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab)

Font hinting/programming

Calligraphy
Handlettering
Typesetting (stylistic principles)

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser)
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking)

Quantitative reading research
Empirical research methods

Advanced (college level) mathematics

Linguistics
Writing Systems

Graphic Design
Information Design
Book Design
Web Design

dezcom's picture

Latin font design
Non-latin font design

History of technology of printing/type

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab)

Font hinting/programming

Calligraphy
Handlettering
Typesetting (stylistic principles)

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser)
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking)

Quantitative reading research
Empirical research methods

Linguistics
Writing Systems

Graphic Design
Information Design
Book Design
Web Design
______________
items I have added to your list
______________
Production management
Metal typesetting
Photo typesetting
Printing management
Perceptual Psychology
Semiotics
Information processing
Psychology of persuasion
Marketing
Statistics
Film making
Animation
Sociology
Social Psychology
General Systems theory
Communication

jshen's picture

Chris,
How much of this was during your years of formal education, and how much was on your own?
Juliet

blank's picture

Latin font design – Primarily self taught, some training via workshops/classes
Non-latin font design – Clueless

History of aesthetics of type design - Taught in some detail, self-taught in great detail
History of technology of printing/type - Taught in minor detail, self-taught in great detail

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) - Primarily self taught, some training via workshops/CE classes

Font hinting/programming - Have had some training in font production workshops, still clueless

Calligraphy
Handlettering - Lots of self-teaching, gave up because it’s a time sink with little commercial value.
Typesetting (stylistic principles) - Taught in great detail, studied in great detail

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser) - Taught in some detail
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) - Took a workshop once

Quantitative reading research - Taught in primary/secondary school
Empirical research methods - Taught in primary/secondary school

Advanced (college level) mathematics - Hopeless

Linguistics - Clueless
Writing Systems - Minor study of diacritical characters

Graphic Design - Taught in great detail
Information Design - Taught nothing but did some college work on it.
Book Design - Taught in great detail
Web Design - Taught in some detail, self-taught in more detail

dezcom's picture

"How much of this was during your years of formal education, and how much was on your own?"

Much of it was both. I did all the research related studying in grad school at Ohio State and we had a very firm education at Carnegie Mellon University where we studied calligraphy and typesetting. We had great guest lecturers like Herman Zapf and Wolfgang Weingart; Semiotics from Gui Bonnsieppe and Martin Krampen; Typography from Jack Staufagher and Ken Hiebert.

Digital Font Production, Latin Script Font Design, Hinting and Programming was all self taught. I did take a weekend class from Maxim Zukov on Cyrillic though (which was fabulous!). I am self-taught in Greek, however but I spoke Greek as a child so it is not so foreign to me.

Corey Holms's picture

The school I attended was great at dipping your toes in the water and then allowing you to swim as much as you chose. I did a lot of toe dipping, a little wading and less swimming.

Since you're researching a post-graduate course, I'm guessing it would be useful to know that my degree is a BFA in graphic design.

Latin font design - I took a class that introduced me to this

History of aesthetics of type design - Not certain about this one, I had a class in the history of type and I had a type design class. Don't know if that counts.


Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) - Had a semester long class in this, but only many years after graduation did I realize that I was woefully unprepared. Learned more from the manual and trial & error, than from the class.

Font hinting/programming - I've been taught what I know of this from knowledgeable friends.

Calligraphy - This was covered for half of the semester of type design
, I am horrific at it.

Typesetting (stylistic principles) - My internship required typesetting
.

Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) - I was taught letterpress over two weekends so I could teach a high school level community outreach program. I learned as much as the students did from that program.

Graphic Design - My school covered this in great detail, but more was learned from the first 4 years of actual work. School got me in the right mind and taught me how to think, but I didn't learn until I was on my own.


Information Design - I had a semester long course in this
, which isn't enough.

Web Design - I had a semester long course in this, and then a couple jobs in this field.

.00's picture

"So, ah, Mr. ah Lincoln, what kind of education do you have?"

"Well, I've done a lot of reading and studying, sort of on my own."

"Hmm, say Mr.Lincoln, do you have a chauffeur's license?"

Si_Daniels's picture

The details of my life are quite inconsequential.

Therapist : Oh no, please, please, let's hear about your childhood.

Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Some times he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy, the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds, pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it.

Therapist: You know, we have to stop.

russellm's picture

Life has taught me to think but thinking has not taught me to live.

It all started at to Lucern Elementary School in New Denver BC.

Jennifer E. Dahl's picture

Thank you sii. I needed that tonight!

dezcom's picture

Si, Brilliant!

AshleighDesign's picture

I'm a graphic designer (mid-level) with a BFA in graphic design from RISD.
________________________________________________________________________

Latin font design—mostly self-taught building through the foundations in typesetting learned in college (under Cyrus Highsmith); studied the history of design; sketching (my own ideas & replicating fonts I like); type-design books.

History of aesthetics of type design—college typography I, II, & III; general exposure to typography forums, etc
History of technology of printing/type—fare amount of exposure while in college—history of graphic design, typography classes (I,II,III); base-level literature about the history of graphic design

Calligraphy—self-taught from an early age
Handlettering—self-taught
Typesetting (stylistic principles)—college typography I, II, & III

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser)—I've learned a fair amount on-the-job (doing presschecks, meeting and talking with printers), and I've experimented on my own (I have three different printers)

Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking)—Medium experience level. I learned the basics in college and explored much more on my own.

Quantitative reading research—I know what it is, but thats about it
Empirical research methods—I know generally how it works.

Linguistics—Learned the basics in my type classes at RISD.
Writing Systems—Learned the basics in my type classes and history of graphic design at RISD, supplemented with notes about it in some graphic design history and typography personal reading.

Graphic Design—Very well trained in school and a few industry/studio settings.
Information Design—Very well trained. College, research, peer-guidance,
Book Design—Very well trained. College, hobby, sole-venture, contracts, etc
Web Design—Self- and peer-taught. Ever-growing knowledge, but I didn't learn design specific to web at school.

--------------------------

Production management - On-job
Photo typesetting - @ RISD
Printing management - if working with printers counts
Semiotics - learned @ RISD
Psychology of persuasion - job-shadowing in the ad world, college, on-the-job
Marketing - some classes
Animation - a few school projects and some self-initiated projects
General Systems theory - Learned a great deal from a professor and the rest self-taught
Communication - (this seems a little broad, but) yes

jshen's picture

Thanks to all respondees so far. I want to clarify that I am asking about undergraduate and/or graduate courses, as well as the holes you had to fill in on your own. This is a fishing expedition. For example, I have mathematics on this list because I am curious how many people with advanced mathematics training ended up working in typography.

aric's picture

Forgive my tangential question, but as a linguist and mediocre amateur typographer, I'm curious what Ashleigh, Chris, and others with expertise in linguistics were taught/have studied on your own about the field, and in what ways and how frequently you use this in your type-related work?

dan_reynolds's picture

I'm a full-time font developer, with a BFA in Graphic Design from RISD and an MA in Typeface Design at the University of Reading. I also studied on the graduate-level in Germany, but did not complete a degree. I teach typeface design at the higher education level in Germany, too.

--------------------------

Latin font design: Formal and informal education
Non-latin font design: Formal and informal education

History of aesthetics of type design: Formal and informal education
History of technology of printing/type: Some formal education

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab): mostly learnt on the job

Font hinting/programming: this has almost entirely been learnt on the job

Calligraphy: I did a number of self-initiated exercises here as a grad student in Germany, but I a really untrained (and unpracticed) here
Handlettering: I did a number of self-initiated exercises here as a grad student in Germany, but I a really untrained (and unpracticed) here
Typesetting (stylistic principles): My training here has been mostly formal

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser): Formal and informal education
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking): I guess that I spent a few days setting type by hand in RISD's typesetting studio

Quantitative reading research: I am going to leave this blank…
Empirical research methods: this one, too…

Advanced (college level) mathematics: I never took college level math or science classes

Linguistics: I have studied several languages at the university level, but I never took any linguistics classes
Writing Systems: I had some practical education at the university level writing Chinese. Otherwise, my formal education in Writing systems comes from the MATD course

Graphic Design: Well, I have a BFA in Graphic Design, and worked as a professional graphic designer for about three years
Information Design: This was a popular element of the BFA course at RISD while I was there, and I interned for an info design studio for half a year
Book Design: I am completely uneducated when it comes to book design :-D
Web Design: I spent a lot of time designing of the web in 1999–2000… this was all professional. I have no formal education in the subject, and have not kept myself up to date much informally since

riccard0's picture

Must resist the urge to cite Pink Floyd... ;-)

DTY's picture

I'm not sure whether typography is truly central to my work, but it is a significant source of income for me. I do random freelance work that includes a fair amount of typesetting and occasional creation of odd glyphs of type (generally a few sorts of one or another ancient script needed for a particular job), but I am probably more an editor/writer than a typesetter. I have never studied art or design.

----

Latin font design: I haven't done any, apart from precomposing some diacritic combinations, which doesn't really count
Non-latin font design: Self-taught

History of aesthetics of type design: Minimal self-taught knowledge
History of technology of printing/type: Self-taught

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab): Self-taught

Font hinting/programming: Limited self-taught knowledge

Calligraphy: Nothing, apart from some self-taught knowledge of paleography
Handlettering: Nothing
Typesetting (stylistic principles): Self-taught

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser): Some knowledge picked up on the job as an editor, plus a small amount of knowledge about older technologies picked up from family
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking): Nothing

Quantitative reading research: Nothing
Empirical research methods: Depends what kind - I do academic research, and thus have some graduate-level training in and experience of research design, but I don't work in a field where controlled experiments are feasible, so I don't have practical experience of designing controlled studies, though I can read them critically.

Advanced (college level) mathematics: Three undergraduate classes (calculus and statistics), but nothing that could really be considered advanced mathematics

Linguistics: One undergraduate class and two graduate classes (in anthropological linguistics, not in a linguistics department, so it was more sociolinguistics and historical/comparative, not so much syntactic theory)
Writing Systems: Good knowledge of Greek alphabet, originally self-taught, plus very limited self-taught knowledge of several other ancient and modern scripts

Graphic Design: Apart from traditional academic book interiors, nothing
Information Design: Self-taught in regard to statistical charts, otherwise nothing
Book Design: Self-taught
Web Design: Not much as yet

Nick Shinn's picture

Went to art school.
Took evening classes in calligraphy.
Learnt everything else on the job (advertising, marketing, design).

Self-taught on the following:









microspective's picture

@terminaldesign "Hmm, say Mr.Lincoln, do you have a chauffeur's license?"

Are you putting self-education to shame? Let me offer an alternative outlook, as stated by the ever-eloquent Frank Zappa.

"If you want to laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library."

dezcom's picture

If you want both, go to the college library :-)

.00's picture

yo micro,

I'm not putting self-education down at all. Actually all education is self-education, but that is another discussion.

My little comment was paraphrasing an old Public Service Announcement that ran on NYC TV back in the old days.

dezcom's picture

James, that same ad ran nationwide so even old geezers like me, who lived in Pittsburgh at the time, got to see it and get your drift on this thread :-)

Chris Dean's picture

History of aesthetics of type design
History of technology of printing/type
Calligraphy
Handlettering
Typesetting (stylistic principles)
Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser)
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking)
Quantitative reading research
Empirical research methods
Advanced (college level) mathematics
Linguistics
Writing Systems
Graphic Design
Information Design
Book Design
Web Design

Si_Daniels's picture

Serious answers rather than cut-and-paste Dr Evil speech...

Latin font design – none, was told by Michael Twyman that I’d be wasting my time.
Non-latin font design - none
History of aesthetics of type design - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme
History of technology of printing/type - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) – none, some self-taught hacking to troubleshoot bug
Font hinting/programming - Vinnie taught me and Robert Norton the basics, all forgotten now

Calligraphy – Michael Harvey told me I was wasting my time
Handlettering – Michael Harvey told me I was wasting my time
Typesetting (stylistic principles) - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser) – some theory at Reading
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme

Quantitative reading research - none
Empirical research methods - none

Advanced (college level) mathematics - nope

Linguistics - no
Writing Systems - no

Graphic Design - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme
Information Design - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme
Book Design - yes at University of Reading undergrad programme
Web Design – self-taught on 9hr BA flight from London to Seattle before starting my internship at Microsoft in July 1995

Jackson's picture

Self-taught:
Latin font design
History of aesthetics of type design
Digital font production
Font hinting/programming

A little in design school, mostly self-taught after:
History of technology of printing/type
Linguistics

A little in design school, mostly on the job later:
Printing technology
Graphic Design
Information Design
Book Design
Web Design

Learned at a University before design school:
Quantitative reading research
Empirical research methods
Advanced (college level) mathematics

John Hudson's picture

I'm one of the brief generation of type designers who slipped between the end of the apprenticeship tradition of the old foundries and the beginning of academic/institutional training in the field. One thing those of that generation seem to have in common is very large libraries.

Latin font design — mostly self-taught; some initial mentoring from Gerald Giampa
Non-latin font design — self-taught and mentored by, among others, Maxim Zhukov, Fiona Ross and Gerry Leonidas

History of aesthetics of type design — largely self taught
History of technology of printing/type — self taught

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) — FontLab 2.5, 1994: self-taught was the only option

Font hinting/programming — Microsoft seminar 1997; VTT lessons from Laurence Penney and mentoring from Beat Stamm and Mike Duggan; pay other people to do Python programming for me; self-taught VOLT

Calligraphy — one morning's instruction from my mother when I was about nine; crap handwriting
Handlettering — very little
Typesetting (stylistic principles) — one short community college course on the basics, 1993

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser) — self-taught some theory; hung around print shops a lot
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) — very little

Quantitative reading research — yeah, I read a lot :)
Empirical research methods — no systematic training, but good research and critical thinking skills are about the only lasting benefit of my BFA

Advanced (college level) mathematics — Ha! Failed grade 11 algebra once, and only scraped by the second time

Linguistics — briefly audited an introductory university course in the late 1990s, but quickly concluded that I wasn't going to learn much about what interested me, which was mostly the interaction of language and writing systems
Writing Systems — mostly self-taught

Graphic Design — Bah!
Information Design — very little, but I enjoy discussing it with people who do it
Book Design — my initial interest in type; one short community college course, 1993, but then type design distracted my attention
Web Design — a little, mostly learned from my wife

blank's picture

Ha! Failed grade 11 algebra once…

I wonder how many of us failed that class. I failed it twice and only passed the third time by cheating my ass off.

Mark Simonson's picture

Latin font design - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
Non-latin font design - Self-taught (Greek, Cyrillic)

History of aesthetics of type design - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
History of technology of printing/type - ome from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) - Self-taught

Font hinting/programming- Self-taught

Calligraphy - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
Handlettering - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
Typesetting (stylistic principles) - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser) - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) - Some from graphic design courses in college, not much beyond that

Quantitative reading research - None
Empirical research methods - None

Advanced (college level) mathematics - None

Linguistics - None
Writing Systems - None in college, some self-taught

Graphic Design - Some from graphic design courses in college, mostly self-taught
Information Design - Self-taught
Book Design - Self-taught
Web Design - Self-taught

Note: I don't have a college degree yet. 13 credits to go for my two-year degree (electives).

david h's picture

> If you want both, go to the college library :-)

good one Chris :)

begsini's picture

I have a degree in mechanical engineering. So yeah, I did some advanced mathematics. Boy was that fun.

dezcom's picture

Math? we don't need no stinkin' math :-)

I struggled through my Statistics course in grad school but ended up with a B. It would have been nice to have had calculus first, but not worth it for me. Thankfully, both my kids and my brother are serious math wizzes.

Jongseong's picture

I majored in mathematics in university, but typography is just a personal hobby of mine and has nothing to do with my line of work. So I'm outside the scope of this survey. I'm curious though why "Advanced (college level) mathematics" was included in this survey despite having little obvious connection with typography.

dezcom's picture

"Advanced (college level) mathematics"

That was the pollsters having fun with us :-)

.00's picture

Latin font design: Self-taught

Non-latin font design: Self-taught, some TDC workshops and mentoring by Maxim Zhukov and Gerry Leonidas

History of aesthetics of type design: Self-taught

History of technology of printing/type: Self-taught

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab): Self-taught

Font hinting/programming: Self-taught,

Calligraphy: Continuing ed course and self-taught, then self-untaught

Handlettering: SVA course on Indicated (comp) Lettering with Ed Benguiat and self-taught

Typesetting (stylistic principles): Self-taught, + on the job training

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser): High school & undergraduate courses in offset printing, process photography, halftone & duotone photography, color separation photography, platemaking, stripping

Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking): High school & undergraduate courses in hand set composition, letterpress printing, screen process printing

Quantitative reading research: none

Empirical research methods: Masters thesis: "The effects of image size and image color of a rapid sequence of similar images on the recognition memory of visual communications students". (found an old copy to remember the formal title)

Learned a little bit from the Human Factors researchers on the Clearview project.

Advanced (college level) mathematics: none

Linguistics: none

Writing Systems: none

Graphic Design: A few design courses out of major in grad school, some continuing ed courses at SVA, mostly self-taught

Information Design: self-taught

Book Design: Some on the job training when working in a type shop

Web Design: none

Chris Dean's picture

To me, advanced mathematics = statistical data analysis. Necessary to (empirically) interpret the results of your research.

.00's picture

Well, when I was in graduate school, I took advantage of the Statistical Analysis Center provided to all graduate students that provided expert advice on helping me interpret my data. It was at that early age that I saw the wisdom in engaging experts in fields beyond mine.

Tim Ahrens's picture

Formal education:
A-levels (maths and physics major)
Architecture (Diplom-Ingenieur, Karlsruhe)
Type Design (MA, Reading)

Self-taught:
Digital font production
Programming (Python, C++)
Typography

Latin font design - self-taught, formal
Non-latin font design - formal

History of aesthetics of type design - formal
History of technology of printing/type - self-taught, formal

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab) - self-taught

Font hinting/programming - self-taught

Calligraphy - very little, self-taught
Handlettering - no
Typesetting (stylistic principles) - some, self-taught

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser) - no
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking) - no

Quantitative reading research - formal, self-taught
Empirical research methods - formal

Advanced mathematics - high school

Linguistics - no
Writing Systems - formal

Graphic Design - some, self-taught
Information Design - some, self-taught, work practice
Book Design - no
Web Design - some, self-taught

David Sudweeks's picture

My work to this point has been primarily in commercial art and lettering. I am not much of a type designer, but I am working to become one.

Latin font design: presently self-teaching
Non-latin font design: presently self-teaching

History of aesthetics of type design: learned from books and my associations with this community (Typophile) and also in lectures and informal conversations at TypeCon.
History of technology of printing/type: learned superficially in undergrad; largely self-taught.

Digital font production (e.g. fontlab): presently self-teaching

Font hinting/programming: For now I leave it to the pros.

Calligraphy: self-taught
Handlettering: self-taught
Typesetting (stylistic principles): undergrad helped; I learned the rest on the job.

Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser): on the job
Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking): some exposure gained in undergrad, the rest at home.

Quantitative reading research: none
Empirical research methods: none

Advanced (college level) mathematics: some calculus, physics, geometry.

Linguistics: self-taught from experience learning languages, Wikipedia :)
Writing Systems: self-taught

Graphic Design: undergrad didn't hurt, on the job.
Information Design: self-taught, on the job.
Book Design: purely on the job.
Web Design: self-taught the basics, greatly expanded my abilities here while on the job.

Jennie Wojtulewicz's picture

SECONDARY EDUCATION- EMPHASIS IN CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION- CONTENT AREA: DIGITAL JOURNALISM AND AUDIO/VISUAL TECHNOLOGY

Nick Shinn's picture

Juliet, aren't we getting a little ahead of ourselves?
Isn't it customary to have an undergraduate degree in a subject as a prerequisite to post-graduate studies?
AFAIK, there is no Bachelor's degree available, of any flavour, in Typography.

eliason's picture

@Nick: I'm not sure if you mean a given student would be required to have a bachelor's in a field before undertaking graduate studies in that field, or you mean that a graduate program shouldn't exist if a bachelor's program in that field doesn't. But either way, there are plenty of counterexamples to such a prerequisite; I don't think you could call that customary.

blank's picture

Isn't it customary to have an undergraduate degree in a subject as a prerequisite to post-graduate studies?

What makes you say that? Isn’t it common in the sciences to start with general degrees and follow them with specialized advanced degrees?

dave nalle's picture

Interesting topic.

I've been a calligrapher from an early age, but my academic background is as a historian. In college I wasn't even aware that there was such a thing as a college course in typography. So I went to college and then graduate school in medieval history and English/linguistics. Along the way I took courses in typesetting (compugraphic) outside of college and interned at Applewood Press where I learned to set wood and metal type and do basic book design. In graduate school I also took courses in Paleography and Codicology and my fist typeface designs came from work I did in my Paleography classes. I've also worked as an editor and art director, which gave me more experience working with type. Through the 80s I found myself doing a lot of hand lettering for book and magazine titles, and that naturally transitioned into designing type once the digital tools became available. The rest is history...

Dave
The Scriptorium

jshen's picture

Nick,
I don't think I'm getting ahead of myself, and in danger of tripping up, just yet. The aim is to get enough information to inform a discussion among interested parties on what might be offered as advanced training in typography. For example, I think there could be a linguistics course tailored to typographers interested in designing for languages they don't speak, without their becoming linguists (which certainly would bring the whole question of pre-reqs into play). What I'm hearing is that almost everyone involved in typography today has taught themselves what they needed to know in many fields that their formal education did not cover. Typography is like the center of a web that touches many academic fields.
Juliet

Nick Shinn's picture

Craig, James, I don't believe there is enough typography taught in any bachelor program (with the possible exception of Reading's "BA in Graphic Communication" to go straight to PostGrad. This is not to disrespect the amount of typography that IS taught in design programs, but it is a small part of the curriculum.

And then, when one considers how broad the rubric of "typography" is, and that postgrad students may be coming from disciplines other than graphic design, such as behavioral science, linguistics, programming, computer engineering, business studies, art history, &c., &c., might it not be a good idea to have a taught undergraduate course in typography which covers those bases? And then indeed a student could progress from the general to the particular.

Juleit, can you have advanced training without basic training? You will end up with scientists who have no facility as typographers doing readability research with Arial and Mistral.

dezcom's picture

My study of linguistics was in correlation to Semiotics and was more focusing on the sign, symbol, meaning, relationship rather than script differences.. Roland Barthes was one of the sources as well as Pierce, Saussure, Bourdieu, and Bloomfield.

jshen's picture

Nick,
I am assuming there would be admission guidelines to such a program which would ensure an adequate level of training to for the masters program. I hope you will be in LA to join in this discussion. I should also make clear that I am not affiliated with a university and am not setting up a program. This is purely research for a hypothetical program that hopefully wouldn't just replicate something that already exists elsewhere. We can dream, right?
Juliet

Chris Dean's picture

@ jshen: By "post-graduate" do you mean masters or PhD?

Jongseong's picture

For example, I think there could be a linguistics course tailored to typographers interested in designing for languages they don't speak, without their becoming linguists

This would be an extremely specialized course, and one which probably has nothing to do with linguistic courses that are actually taught. Linguistics programmes cover a broad range of topics, but it is rare enough to find courses that merely deal with writing systems at all. Mainstream linguistics is mostly about identifying language universals these days (generative grammar and such); old-school linguistics was heavy on philology.

Why would anyone need to become a linguist to design for languages they don't speak? Do you mean for users of different languages but the same alphabet, like English speakers designing for Czech or Finnish? Or do you mean designing different scripts than one's own, like Devanagari or Chinese characters? In either case, one could learn the different design rules, and one could actually learn the languages themselves, but that is different from becoming a linguist. People might say "linguist" when they mean "polyglot", but that is careless usage.

I have a feeling you might simply be referring to language courses. One could imagine a course for just teaching the Arabic script, not the spoken language. Is that what you are referring to?

jshen's picture

masters
this is not to exclude a PhD program, but I don't know enough to go there.

peter_bain's picture

At least a portion of my days as a recent college grad were spent re-running paragraph rags, identifying typefaces/"cuts", and specifying display type spacing adjustments; skills that are now frequently automated at mediocre levels, the expertise of type historians, or often impossible to achieve online. Were these now obsolete trade skills like journeyman wood engraving, or stages on the way to higher level thinking and design? Do they even belong in undergraduate education at all, or are they better suited to on-the-job training where they may have value to someone seeking subtle detailing and the authority they project?

A hypothetical graduate program might embrace writing (whether stone cut, analog ink or digitally fleeting pixels) as communication design through letterforms, rather than just typography. I realize I'm describing a program in architecture committed to teaching forestry, or at least wood joinery. The wider end of the funnel.

some answers:

Latin font design
Doesn't this begin with handwriting, and reading 3rd Grade handouts that were typed in Courier? Schooled at all levels, workshops, professional critique, self-taught.

Non-latin font design
Encountered cyrillic at the end of the Cold War, and non-latin since then at irregular intervals, critique from experts, and self-taught.

History of aesthetics of type design
See previous, formally in design study from undergraduate to graduate investigation, workshops, and self-taught.

History of technology of printing/type; Printing technology (offset, screen-to-laser), Hand printing (letterpress, printmaking)
Undergraduate, workshops, employment and participation in evolution of technology, self-taught. Letterpress is not hand printing in print history.

Calligraphy/Handlettering/Typesetting
Undergraduate, graduate investigation, workshops, professional training, self-taught

Quantitative reading research/Empirical research methods
Undergraduate, exposed to applications on-the-job, self-taught

Advanced (college level) mathematics
Yep, but I've forgotten it.

Linguistics/Writing Systems
Small bits of exposure, self-taught

Graphic Design/Information Design/Book Design/Web Design
Undergraduate, graduate, self-teaching, workshops.
(Why are these last? Without them typography would not exist today. Not to mention Advertising, the incessant trumpet of trade.)

May I humbly suggest "fine art" as an overlooked category?

Syndicate content Syndicate content