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Typography is much more than just picking out a font from the pre-selected assortment on your computer. It is an artistic expression of language, based on precise positioning and appearance.

Typography encompasses all the tiny technical nuances and variables that go into creating that look that is capable of telling half the story on its own. It is very easy to distinguish the amateur typographers from the professionals, and with this course you are on the road to going pro.

Through the structure of studio lectures, in-class assignments, discussions, comprehensive projects and critiques we will explore the function and meaning behind typography. We will cover the history of typography and apply it to real world design assignments. Within these assignments we will discuss letterform anatomy and function; we will discuss how to choose an appropriate typeface and how to use this typeface effectively through the hierarchy of size and with leading, kerning and paragraph structure.

The assignments are designed to allow you to explore and apply the concepts discussed in each class. Each assignment is creative yet simple: we will repeatedly use letterforms in different ways to create a variety of printed matter.

It is imperative that you take notes and learn to apply the techniques we discuss in class to your every day design assignments. The instructor will always be available for help and will often provide extra material for reference outside the classroom.


  1. Understand typographic concepts and the application of these ideas towards real world print and screen design.
  2. Learn how to make appropriate typographic decisions.
  3. Develop skills that will take you from amateur designer to typographic professional.
  4. Practice presenting and critiquing work in a group setting.

Structure of Each Class

  1. Homework presentation and critique
  2. Slideshow lecture and discussion. The structure of the six classes will follow the history of typography:
    • Class 1: History of Typography and Printing
    • Class 2: Old Style Letterforms
    • Class 3: Transitional Letterforms
    • Class 4: Modern and Egyptian Letterforms
    • Class 5: Sans Serif I
    • Class 6: Sans Serif II
  3. Design assignments applicable to each week’s letter form and discussed technique
  4. In-class critiques both with the instructor on an individual basis and as group critiques.
  5. All critiques must be input and the assignments finished to present at the beginning of the next class.


Design assignments will include (subject to change):

  1. Typographic Specimen Sheets
  2. E.E. Cummings-style Poem Design
  3. Bill of Rights Redesign
  4. Alphabet Collage
  5. Stacked Type Recipe
  6. Blue Note Jazz Record Covers

Assignments given in class will be critiqued during class both by the instructor and during group critiques. Students must incorporate these critiques into their work and either finish the assignment in class or as homework. At the end of the session it is expected that the students will have at least 6 finished assignments for their portfolio. The instructor is available throughout the 6 classes to give feedback and advice on all projects both during and outside class,

For this class students should have a solid working knowledge of InDesign. Throughout the course the instructor will be available for hands on instruction and will provide reference materials.

About the Instructor

Kristi Norgaard was the Senior Designer at Yolanda Cuomo Design for over fifteen years. During this time she has spent countless hours arranging letters on pages to make beautiful, informative, graphic and legible books, magazines, exhibition graphics, logos, posters and infographics. She is also an adjunct instructor in the Photography Department at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, where she teaches book design and typography classes.

  • Logo Design by Brett Wilson

  • Dada Cookbook by Brett Wilson

  • Blue Note CD Cover by Emma Chao

  • Logo Design by Matt Hageman, Ela Prizmic, & Blanny Couto

  • Stacked Type Recipe by Emma Chao

  • Type Collage by Cathline Marshall

What You’ll Learn

Section 1
The History of Typography


  • A brief slide show of the history of typography and printing. Where did letter forms come from? How have they evolved through time? How does history and technology affect they way letter forms are used and how they look?
The Anatomy of Type


  • What is a serif? What is sans serif? What is a stem? stroke? loop? bowl? ball terminal? We will explore the differences between both forms of type and all their idiosyncrasies plus discuss why choosing the right typeface is necessary for good communication.
Design Assignment


  • Typographic specimen sheets. Each student will be assigned a typeface and instructed on how to create a specimen sheet.

Upcoming Classes

  • No classes scheduled at this time.

Price: $750 Click for Discounts

  • 18 hours of Hands-On Training
  • Mac or PC

Section 2
Old Style Typefaces


  • Brief lecture on “old style” typefaces such as Garamond and Jenson
Leading, Kerning, & Point Size


  • What is leading? What is kerning? What is point size? We go over these details and use InDesign to explore how amounts of space between letters, between lines, the size of letters and position can affect the content of a body of text.
Design Assignment


  • Students are given a poem and we work on illustrating the poem using only one typeface but multiple point sizes, letter spacing, leading, etc.
Section 3
Transitional Typefaces


  • Brief lecture on “transitional” typefaces such as Caslon and Baskerville.
Indents, Paragraphs, & Justification


  • What are indents? What are paragraph breaks? What is justification? Through in-class exercises we will explore the ways paragraphs can be structured.
How to Rag Copy


  • We will explore what a “good rag” is. How to use hard returns and soft returns and what both mean.
Design Assignment


  • Students will be given a series of amendments from the Bill of Rights. Students have to redesign these amendments using all that we’ve learned so far: point size, leading, kerning, paragraph rules, indents, and justification.
Section 4
Modern and Egyptian (Slab Serif) Typefaces


  • Brief lecture on typefaces such as Bodoni, Didot, and slab serif typefaces such as Clarendon, Rockwell, Courier and Playbill.
Display Copy vs. Body Copy


  • As an in-class exercise each student will be given text and a headline directly from The New York Times and we will work to design the texts in a graphic way using specific typefaces for the headlines and specific typefaces for the body copy.
Design Assignment


  • Alphabet collage: Using two of the typefaces we talk about in class students must design a collage of letters and numbers.

Section 5
Sans Serif I


  • Part one of the slide show and lecture on the history of sans serif typefaces covering Akzidenz Grotesk, Gill Sans, Erbar, Kabel, and Futura.
Design Assignment


  • Stacked type recipe. In this assignment students bring in a recipe of their choice and we redesign it as a stacked type, typographically graphic puzzle. This assignment removes any formal thinking from the design process and instead allows us to view each word, each letter as a shape within a larger composition.
Section 6
Sans Serif II


  • Part two of the slide show and lecture on the history of sans serif typefaces covering Helvetica, Univers, Frutiger, Franklin Gothic, and Gotham.
Helvetica vs. Arial


  • An in-class discussion on the differences between the two typefaces.
Design Assignment


  • Blue Note jazz covers: In this assignment we study what made the Blue Note jazz record covers so visually arresting for their time and why they are still relevant today. Students will be assigned a musician and album and have to use design record covers in the Blue Note style.