Course Description

Fulfills a course requirement in the Graphic Design Core Concentration The study of typographic form builds on the principles established in DSGN 100 and expands into the study of letter form anatomy and structure, type classification, and fundamentals of application in various contexts. The intellectual and psychological impact of typographic composition when presented alone or in combination with image is explored. Historical forces that motivated advances in typographic imaging are discussed. All projects are developed to industry standard presentation level with an emphasis on basic craftsmanship skills.


In this class you will learn how to properly use type in a number of ways and in a variety of scenarios. Through projects ranging in their uniqueness, you will learn how to use type in a fashion that will allow you to later expand your understanding not only of different typefaces but what can be done using them. This class is about building your knowledge about the use of type within design. We will look at not only good examples of type use BUT also examples of terrible use of type. By the end of the semester you will hopefully be able to create designs using a solid foundation with type. We will use Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign for all the projects developed in the class. You are required to follow each project directions as this will prepare you for the next project as well as the next course you will be taking the following semester.

Current Semester Projects

Below are the projects you will be working on this semester. Each project will have an accompanying handout with specific outcome goals and a detailed schedule. As we finalize the project and you submit the design files, each project will be displayed so everyone will have the opportunity to look at what each student had developed. Previous student projects will also be available after the third class. This will allow enough time to help progress your own solutions without having other similar projects influence those decisions.

Project One : Glyph Manipulation

This project will familiarize yourself in how type can be used. Type is an important element in every design, often the most important. The size, weight and style you choose can make your design work or fail. But type can be used in other ways besides being seen as a block of text. Letters and lines of text can be used as design elements that are taken out of a readable format. Still legible and read as type but no longer in a sentence form or paragraph reading.

Project Two : Tour Poster Design

How can you arrange information into a balanced and intriguing design fitting together the words and sentence structure like a puzzle. This is a two step project. One, is it interesting enough to make someone stop and look at it? And two, can it be read easily enough once you have that person’s attention? How do they take in the information and process it and what keeps their attention?

Poster project by Chengjie : Autumn 2010

Project Three : Magazine Cover and Spread Design

This project will give you control over the identity and branding of an established publication. Utilizing the same page size, the margins and bleeds will be measured and implemented into the new layout. The brand and logo will not be redeveloped however everything else including photopgraphy, tone, typefaces and amount of text is at your discretion.

Magazine project by Nicholas : Spring 2015

Project Four : Cube Type Specimen

create a type specimen block paying homage to one particular typographer by you and developing a 5 x 5 x 5 cube. One typographer, one of his/her typeface while utilizing styles. This project will now expand your overall awareness of the uniqueness from glyph to glyph within a particular typeface but also the subtle differences from typeface to typeface.

Poster project by Kyrie : Autumn 2012

Project Five : Street Signage Redesign

This project will pull together all the knowledge you have obtained throughout the semester’s projects. It will force you to work with the functional/aesthetic line in obtaining a legitimate solution to an everyday issue. You will choose five current road signs that cause confusion through poor type treatment and redevelop the text layout bringing a pleasant balance and easy to comprehend the sign’s intention.

Signs designed by Pentagram. “New Yorkers shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in parking signage to understand the law,” expressed Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick. In 1967, Mayor John V. Lindsay said, “Some of the signs are so bad that a motorist could be ticketed while stopping his car to try to figure them out.” link to article


You will be required to have a sketch book [no less than 9 x 12] designated solely for this class. Whether you prefer to sketch out your ideas or jot down notes for each project, that is entirely up to you. In this class, simply getting to the end result is not good enough. The process of conceptualizing is as important as the final piece. The first ideas are seldom the best in design and it’s best to have a track record you may view during this process. You will hand in your sketch book at the end of the semester and will account for 15% of your grade.


Each project will have a specified due date during the course of the assignment. Depending on the progress of the overall class, a date will be set midway through the project. Some projects will have a loose schedule to help manage the project and help guide your progress. If you happen to miss class on the day a due date is determined, it is your responsibility to contact a classmate or eMail myself in finding out when the project will be due.

Projects are due on their date without any exceptions. If you miss a due date, your project will be docked a full letter grade for every class day that passes. No exceptions. Most projects can be completed within the allocated time but you will find that some projects will require work done outside of class time. Please balance your work and do not fall behind. You may resubmit any project for grading except for a project handed in late. You will have until the last week of classes to resubmit any project.


For each project you will be evaluated in three areas, the design and aesthetic appeal of each piece, the presentation of the final printed design and creativeness of the piece as a whole. Though I do not grade individual projects against other projects, it is a great way for you to see where your design stands in relation to the other work being produced around you. Every project will have a crit and when handed back, displayed for you to see every other project. Class crits are vital to learning how one can articulate their reasons for design choices and evaluate those reasons. It is important for student participation and learn that a critique is not to be taken personally. We will discuss this more but do know that the crit is important for each project and will count for 10% of your project grade. Please do not miss classes when a crit is scheduled.

Gained Knowledge

The end of the semester you will have a clear understanding of how a design will work within a proper context. You will learn to think about the problem at hand first and work out solutions that will solve those questions. An understanding of three major programs used in the field while also seeing how each, though powerful on their own, can work harmoniously to produce top quality results. You will understand the fundamentals of executing a proper file that would be important in real life settings as well as learn to adapt to an environment that brings minor setbacks.

In the end, you will have five complete and polished pieces for your portfolio. You will have a clear understanding on the impact design has on everyone. You will also walk away with a stronger sense of organization, color and balance as well as use of type within composition. The knowledge will propel you further into the next design courses you will most likely be taking.

Other important details:


it is recommended a total of four hours a week will be spent working on projects outside class.


Please come to each class prepared to show your progress with the current project. Be sure to have continued your work outside of class time.


You are allowed to miss a maximum of three classes after which your final grade will be affected. The fourth missed class will drop your final grade a half a letter. Every class after will drop your final average a full letter grade.