Continuing Studies in Typography
by Ilene Strizver
Do you love typography? Have you ever thought about pursuing, or have you even dabbled in, typeface design? Then you might consider going back to school to further your knowledge and expand your career possibilities.
Two schools offer advanced degrees in typography and type design: the University of Reading, in the UK; and the Royal Academy of Art, in the Hague, the Netherlands. While there might be other schools that currently have, or are in the process of developing, programs in typography, these two are the oldest and best known.
The University of Reading offers advanced degrees in Typography & Graphic Communication, as well as in Typeface Design. Their approach is a combination of practice, theory and history, with a distinguished staff that is complemented by visiting professionals and academics.
Program Director Gerry Leonidas says of the Typeface Design program, “The MA program at Reading is based on the idea of immersing a small group of highly motivated students in a very intensive environment that brings them in intimate contact with the totality of typeface design: the history and material sources, the thinking and discourse in the field, and the demands of designing complete text typefaces for a range of scripts. It is difficult and challenging, but students are rewarded with a depth of knowledge and range of skills that are impossible to develop through self-study, let alone within just one year.”
The Royal Academy of Art offers a postgraduate course in Type]Media (formerly titled Type Design and Typography). It is a full-time course that enables participants to delve deeply into type design for different media: not only for print, but also for film, television, video and interactive media.
According to Erik van Blokland, professor in type design, “The Type]Media course has a strong emphasis on drawing skills and a critical understanding of type technology, attracting students from all over the world. The small group (no more than 12 students per year) ensures the teaching faculty can give each student and project the time they deserve. The curriculum builds on the long history the Royal Academy has in type design, notably the theoretical work of Gerrit Noordzij, without making it a museum.” Check out their blog.
If any of this interests you, check it out, and remember – it's never too late to go back to school, as many of the students in these programs are working professionals who bravely decided to take the plunge and follow their passion!
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.