Introduction to Typography

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Description

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About this course: Typography is the art of manipulating the visual form of language to enrich and control its meaning. It’s an essential area of skill and knowledge for graphic designers. Typography predates modern graphic design by around 500 years; it is rich in rules, conventions, and esoteric terminology—but it remains an exciting space for invention and expression. In this rigorous introductory course, we will study, name, and measure the characteristics of letterforms. We’ll consider the pragmatic concerns involved in selecting and combining type. We’ll peek into the 
rich historical, cultural, and aesthetic histories of familiar typefaces. We’ll discuss time-tested conventions a…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Typography is the art of manipulating the visual form of language to enrich and control its meaning. It’s an essential area of skill and knowledge for graphic designers. Typography predates modern graphic design by around 500 years; it is rich in rules, conventions, and esoteric terminology—but it remains an exciting space for invention and expression. In this rigorous introductory course, we will study, name, and measure the characteristics of letterforms. We’ll consider the pragmatic concerns involved in selecting and combining type. We’ll peek into the 
rich historical, cultural, and aesthetic histories of familiar typefaces. We’ll discuss time-tested conventions and best practices in setting type, as governed by principles of hierarchy and spatial organization. And we’ll explore the expressive, meaning-making potential of type. Informative lectures will be complemented by a series of three peer-assessed assignments, culminating 
in an opportunity to design a full-scale typographic poster. Please note that this is not a software course; a basic working knowledge of Adobe InDesign or other 
page layout software will be assumed. You will need access to a computer and page layout software, such as InDesign, to complete the assignments.

Created by:  California Institute of the Arts
  • Taught by:  Anther Kiley, Faculty, Program in Graphic Design

    School of Art
Basic Info Course 2 of 5 in the Graphic Design Specialization Commitment 4 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.7 stars Average User Rating 4.7See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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California Institute of the Arts CalArts has earned an international reputation as the leading college of the visual and performing arts in the United States. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Week 1: Talking Type



This week, we’ll take an up-close look at typefaces, both as physical artifacts and as works of design. 
We will study the formal elements that define and give character to type, and understand where they came from and why they look the way they do. We will review the terminology and measuring system used to describe type, and look at the way the form and proportion of letters relate to the practical concerns of selecting and combining typefaces. The week will wrap up with a graded quiz.


6 videos, 5 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Video: Course Welcome
  2. Reading: About this Course
  3. Reading: About the Assignments
  4. Reading: Course Tools
  5. Reading: Additional Resources
  6. Video: Font versus Typeface
  7. Reading: Reviewing key terms
  8. Practice Quiz: Type Terms
  9. Video: Stroke and Proportion
  10. Video: Type Anatomy
  11. Video: Measuring Type
  12. Video: Choosing a Typeface

Graded: Describing Type

WEEK 2


Week 2: Typefaces and their Stories



This week, we’ll explore the way typefaces express connotative meaning—tell stories—through their association with different time periods, aesthetics, and ideas. Through six short case studies, we 
will look at the way a typeface’s connotations are shaped by its context, understand the historic evolution of typographic forms, and familiarize ourselves with the way typefaces are classified. You’ll extend 
your exploration through some independent research into a typeface of your choosing.


7 videos expand


  1. Video: Typefaces and their Stories
  2. Video: Bembo: Humanist Letters
  3. Video: Didot: Enlightened Refinement
  4. Video: Clarendon: Type for the Masses
  5. Video: Futura: the Typographic Avant-Garde
  6. Video: Helvetica: International Modern
  7. Video: Scala Sans: Typographic Remix

Graded: Research a Typeface

WEEK 3


Week 3: Putting Type to Work



This week, we will engage the visual principles and conventions of typesetting. We will look at how the spaces between letters, lines, and blocks of type can be manipulated to refine the appearance and control the meaning of type. We’ll explore the ways typographic hierarchy and grid systems can further organize and clarify type. And we’ll survey the rules and conventions that can add polish to your typesetting. You’ll apply your skills and knowledge in a peer-reviewed typesetting exercise at the end 
of the week.


6 videos expand


  1. Video: Working with Type
  2. Video: Typographic Space
  3. Video: Page Space
  4. Video: The Grid
  5. Video: Creating Hierarchy
  6. Video: Typographic Conventions

Graded: Typeset Your Research

WEEK 4


Week 4: Making Meaningful Type



In our final week, we’ll examine the ways typographic form can dramatically shape the meaning of written language. We’ll survey and analyze possibilities for type treatments—from subtle typesetting choices
 to dramatic manipulations—by looking at examples of expressive and unconventional typography. At the end of the week, you’ll bring together and apply everything you have learned in this course in the 
design of a full-scale typographic poster.


4 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Making Meaningful Type
  2. Video: Typesetting with Expression
  3. Video: Beyond Typesetting
  4. Video: The Typographic Poster
  5. Reading: Course Credits

Graded: Design a Typographic Poster
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