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Typography as Language: THEORY and Practice

Dates: July 6-July 31, 2015
Tuition: $4,000
4 undergraduate studio credits 

As a critical component of the creative process, typography both mirrors and shapes our visual culture, forming a place where design, technology, culture, emotion and commerce intersect. Designers, across all media, rely upon the powerful language of typography in pursuit of eloquence in their work. This four-week summer intensive in type design provides theoretical background and practical experience for designers at all career levels seeking to create compelling narratives through typography, with a wideranging focus on type’s contribution to contemporary storytelling.

Typography as Language will hone the typographic skills of designers working in both print and digital environments, with special consideration given to typography’s role as a narrative tool within graphic design and other disciplines, including fine art, film and photography. Lettering and typeface design will be explored within their larger social and cultural context as well as in terms of typographic theory and usage, aesthetics and technology. A focus on creating expressive and individualized type will draw from history, the vernacular and each student’s individual lens on the subject.

Over the course of the program, students will design a typeface (either from scratch or by adapting a historical face) and use it in a project of their choosing in any media—on screen or on paper—including film titles, environmental signage, posters, websites, tablet or smartphone apps, books, periodicals, logos and product design. Students will have full access to the extensive Visual Arts Library resources and Design Archives, plus a range of studio equipment from digital printers to letterpress facilities.

The program is built around interrelated one-week modules of four classes per week, covering technical, theoretical, historical and practical studies. Guest lectures, studio workshops and field trips will complement class projects and allow students to directly interact with some of the best type designers in New York City, and get acquainted with world famous design studios.

Program Coordinator: Angela Riechers. Faculty have included: Matthew Carter, Tobias Frere-Jones, Jessica Hische, James Montalbano, Daniel Pelavin, Daniel Rhatigan, Jeff Rogers, Ben Schott and Christian Schwartz. Guest Lecturers included: Ben Schott, Christian Schwartz, Gail Anderson, Daniel Pelavin, Matthew Carter and Jeff Rogers.

PREREQUISITES: Participants must be established creative professionals, or undergraduates who have completed their junior year of study, with demonstrated fluency in typography. Participants must supply their own laptops (Macintosh) and FontLab software.

The Typography as Language summer intensive program provided a great opportunity to learn about type design theory and get expert, practical instruction from all-stars in the graphic design/typography world. 

What I learned in Typography as Language about understanding the construction of individual characters and their historical context allows me to make more intelligent and informed decisions when designing.

Typography As Language was unforgettable. It has been one of the greatest, most inspiring adventures I’ve ever embarked on. I took a risk of leaving everything behind for a month, to do something I’ve never done, see things I didn’t know existed, in a country I’ve never been to before, and the greatest city that I now call home. Wonderful peers, tutors and guest lecturers. Challenging, career-changing work. 

For further information or questions regarding SVA's Summer Residencies e-mail residency@sva.edu or call 212.592.2188.

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