Yale School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600

GRAPHIC DESIGN Art743, Letterform Design

Type design is distinct from “lettering” in that it necessarily calls for a systematic approach, not just a concern for individual forms. The course focuses on a clear, systematic procedure to building the design of a typeface, as well as the aesthetic issues presented by single letters. The class is taught with RoboFont, a type-design program for the Macintosh® that allows designers to digitize letterforms on screen and turn them into usable fonts. Students learn the software, together with the principles of designing and spacing type. Fully fledged type designers are not made in one term; the object is to “demystify” the subject and teach users of type an increased appreciation of it. Students work on individual projects, chosen in consultation with the instructors. Individual projects should be carefully chosen, so that the availability of the student’s new font makes a real contribution and serves a clear purpose. With the problems of type design so deeply interconnected, a clearly defined project is necessary to establish solid criteria for subsequent work. The nature of the project determines the route each student takes in researching the design. If appropriate to the project, students spend time rendering letterforms by hand, investigating historical sources, or starting immediately on screen.

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