Advanced Typography – ARTS 424

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This is an advanced study of typography as a tool and a design element. This course will be comprised of special projects, which will build upon and expand the knowledge the student has acquired in previous classes. The emphasis of the course will be upon layout design as it applies to print and electronic media. In addition, the student will create a fully developed original typeface as a final project.  May be taken twice for credit.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Typography is a lifelong study for the graphic designer. The purpose of this course is to help guide the student toward a deeper understanding of the subject through directed study and projects. The student will combine their graphic design knowledge with typography, focusing on historical context and practical application as they progress through the course.

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and Lecture Presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (7)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences and forums for critique. The student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion.

Each initial thread must be at least 300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge.

In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words.

In this 2-part assignment, you will design and produce a 12-page specimen book which advertises a notable typeface to an audience of graphic designers. The student will select a notable type family to focus on and study for this assignment. The type family should have a minimum of 4 styles. For the Type Specimen: Draft Assignment, the student must make sure he/she can access and use the type family either through Adobe Fonts or other means, in addition to using the Type Specimen Template. For the Type Specimen: Final Assignment, Adobe InDesign will be used.

The recommended size for the booklet is 5"w x 7"h, although the student may adjust the size. The specimen book should contain the following information: cover with name of typeface and foundry; type designer (if possible), date released, and classification; 2–3 paragraph description of the typeface; 1–2 paragraph biography of the type designer; display of all available styles in the type family; use of, somewhere in the book, the typeface in all caps, small caps (if available), italic, bold, large, small, etc.; a section detailing the anatomy of the typeface, including at least 6 anatomical terms; and additional content (determined by the student) to fill the remaining pages. The design of the booklet should reflect the style of the typeface. Current MLA format must be used for all citations, including images.

Book: Layout Assignment

This assignment involves typesetting 3 alternate layouts using one specific text:
1) Classic, 2) Modern, and 3) Experimental. The student must choose a book he/she wishes to format from the website provided in the assignment instructions. The student should be familiar enough with the book that he/she can make design decisions that reflect the content. After watching the related tutorials, the student must create an InDesign document that is 6"w x 9"h and copy+paste the text of one chapter. For each layout (Classic, Modern, and Experimental), the student should have 4–6 pages (2–3 spreads), totaling 12–18 pages (6–9 spreads) in the student's document.

Book: Covers Assignment

Using either Adobe Illustrator or Adobe InDesign, and, if applicable to the student's design, Adobe Photoshop, the student will create 3 front cover designs for the book he/she typeset in the previous assignment. The 3 designs should work with the layouts that the student completed in last week’s assignment: classic, modern, and experimental. The student may include illustration or imagery but must remember that the purpose of this exercise is to practice working with display typography. The student should use Illustrator or InDesign for all typographic elements. Photoshop should only be used if illustrations or imagery are used.

The student must come up with a company name, target demographic, and wordmark or combination logo that typographically reflects the business and target demographic for each of the following: the Obvious O, the Sanctified T, a Toy Company, a Coffee Company, and a Tech Startup. For each logo, the student should include a brief 1–2 sentence description of the company, the target audience, and the typeface(s) the student used. The student must arrange his/her logos and descriptions nicely either on a single artboard or on 5 artboards with one prompt per artboard. The student should use Adobe Illustrator for this project. It is highly recommended that the student starts with sketches before moving to the computer.

There are so many ways that typography can be used creatively across almost any discipline. The student must use the knowledge and skills that he/she has gained in his/her  typographic study thus far to complete this exercise.The student must select a pair of words provided in the assignment instructions. The student must develop 2 typographic digital wallpapers that explore the words' relationship. The wallpaper dimensions can be chosen by the student, but either desktop or mobile must be chosen. Once the designs have been exported by the student, he/she must create a mockup showing the wallpaper on the type of device he/she chooses.

Type Design: Draft Assignment

The student will create an original typeface, including all of the basic characters. The student must choose a classification, from the list provided in the assignment instructions, to model the student's typeface design after. The student must research at least 5 typefaces in that classification to reference for the student's original typeface, in addition to answering the following related questions: what classification the student chose, why the student chose this category (1–2 sentences), and what characteristics define this category (1–2 sentences). The student must begin his/her alphabet with thumbnail sketches. The student must create 3 hand-rendered, refined drafts for one of two options in the assignment instructions. The thumbnails and hand-rendered draft must be documented with high-quality, well-lit photos/scans. Cell phone images are fine as long as the images are clear and well-lit.

The student must create an InDesign document that is 8.5” x 11” to insert the student's process images and final hand-rendered drafts into an organized multi-page document. This document must include the 5 typefaces the student referenced, the answers to the 3 questions mentioned, and all images labeled. The document must be exported as a PDF.

Type Design: Final Assignment

In this stage, the student will be digitizing his/her typeface and creating two ads that could be used on sites that sell typefaces. The student must use Adobe Illustrator or type design software such as Glyphs App. The student must create a name for his/her typeface.

The student must also create 2 ads that use the student's typeface. Between the 2 ads, the student must have a minimum of 18 unique characters. The ad size must be 1820px by 1214px @ 72ppi. The ad format must be JPG. The student may use Illustrator, Photoshop, or a combination of the two programs for these ads. Illustrations, photos, or other graphic elements may be used to enhance the student's typeface, but all imagery must either be the student's own or royalty free.

Quizzes (5)

Quizzes will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, and will contain a variety of multiple-choice, multiple answer, matching, and true/false questions.  Each quiz has a 20-minute time limit.

Quiz: Cumulative

The quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for Modules 1-4: Weeks 1-4. It will be open-book/open-notes, contains 40 multiple-choice, multiple answer, and true/false questions, and has a 90-minute time limit.