Practica

Learn type design,
together.

Refine your craft with Practica, a 14-week online program starting August 26, 2021.

Immerse yourself in the world of type design while surrounded by the support of industry professionals and a community of like-minded typophiles. Practica’s 14-week, live, online program is for designers who already have the beginnings of a typeface but want to build it out into a multiweight family. Students will work towards creating two compatible masters that are ready to interpolate into a larger family.

As our name suggests, we’re focused on the practical side of type design. Our mission is to help students learn the fundamental principles of drawing typefaces, realize their ideas efficiently, and submerse themselves in the craft of typeface design. But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring theory. A well-built typeface is only that. How do we make a typeface sing (a feat by any measure)? How do we make it useful, and how are typefaces connected to the cultures from which they rise?

Through lectures, feedback sessions, and Q&A sessions, we’ll explore these topics and dive into type design as a living, evolving discipline. By the end, you’ll be ready to tackle more complex projects with more confidence, and will have a better understanding of contemporary type design practice.

I joined Practica being a display font addict. I came out just as addicted but able to handle a text version‚ and a system, and more than one style. And on top of that: I learned how to cry, drink wine, and break everything I draw while keeping my masters compatible 💅

Fer Cozzi, Type designer

I loved the Practica Program and I would recommend it to aspiring type designers! Come eager to learn and work hard every week. You need a bit of self-motivation to get started but the teachers and the other students are there to help. This is a great program for those who are on the fence about becoming a type designer; you’ll learn a lot in short amount of time.

Rishi, Mid-level UX designer

Nicole and Sol are incredible teachers, leading thoughtful and engaging lectures as well as honest and valuable critiques. They are kind and you can tell they want to see everyone succeed. The group of visiting experts are top-notch type thinkers that opened the door to their process and work in an intimate way. But best of all was the cohort of fellow type designers who came to learn from this circle of experts. I really enjoyed the course, learned a ton, and improved my sense of typography, drafting, tools, and process. Thank you Nicole and Sol!

Mike Swartz, Creative Director

Topics

  • Evaluating typefaces using objective and subjective standards.
  • Discovering how function and use impact design decisions.
  • Understanding the type design palette.
  • Structuring multiweight families.
  • Creating new weights or styles through interpolation.
  • Developing a more efficient type design process.
  • Expanding character sets and designing diacritics.
  • Keeping yourself motivated throughout development.
  • Gaining control over your glyphs’ Bézier curves and cleaning up your font files.

Structure & Schedule

Classes are held twice a week. Tuesdays will be primarily group or one-on-one feedback sessions with a few hands-on workshops in the beginning. Lectures will be held on Thursdays along with three open sessions — two Q&A and one student-organized class.

The Q&A session is a flexible class for students to ask questions or for instructors to give short presentations on topics of interest to students but not covered elsewhere. In the last edition, we discussed font export tools and strategies, typefaces with grades and variable fonts, structuring client-driven projects, coding OpenType features, working with reference material and old specimens, and more.

The final Thursday session will be organized by the students with support from the lead instructors. As a group, students will decide the topic for that class and arrange speakers. A budget will be provided to pay any speaker(s) if needed.

Tuesdays / 6 — 8:30pm GMT * Thursdays / 6 — 7:30pm GMT *
Aug 26 Intro/Lecture
Aug 31/Sept 2 Project introductions Lecture
Sept 7/9 Feedback session Lecture
Sept 14/16 Workshop Lecture
Sept 21/23 Feedback session Lecture
Sept 28/30 Workshop Q&A session
Oct 5/7 Feedback session Case study v
Oct 12/14 Feedback session Lecture
Oct 19/21 Feedback session Lecture v
Oct 26/28 Feedback session v Lecture
Nov 2/4 Feedback session Q&A session
Nov 9/11 Feedback session Lecture v
Nov 16/18 Feedback session v Lecture v
Nov 23/25 No class No class (US holiday)
Nov 30/Dec 2 Feedback session Student-organized session
Dec 7 Final presentation
v Indicates visiting lecturer or critic.
* 7pm Berlin / 12pm Chicago / Convert to your time zone
If you live outside the US, please note that on November 7 the US shifts time and this may alter when class begins for you. We will always use 12pm Chicago as our start time before and after the shift.
The schedule is subject to modifications.

All sessions are held live via Zoom. For those unable to attend in real time, lectures will be recorded. The feedback sessions, on the other hand, must be attended live in order to benefit fully from them. This gives you some flexibility to work the program into your own schedule, but also the opportunity to connect with fellow students.

Lastly, lead instructors will be available to meet with students outside of class for those needing one-on-one support. There are more than fifty-five course hours for the entire program, not including office hours.

Check out the FAQ page for answers to questions you may have.

Instructors

Nicole Dotin

Lead Instructor
Process Type Foundry

Sol Matas

Lead Instructor
Hungry Type Society

Maria Doreuli

Visiting Lecturer
Contrast Foundry

James Edmondson

Visiting Lecturer
OH no Type Co

Krista Radoeva

Visiting Lecturer
Type Designer

Aleksandra Samuļenkova

Visiting Lecturer
Type Designer

Kristyan Sarkis

Visiting Lecturer
TPTQ Arabic

Sara Soskolne

Visiting Critic
Hoefler & Co

Tuition

Tier 1

$1,900

Tier 2

$1,550

Tier 3

$1,200

Tuition is set on a sliding scale that operates on the honor system, which means that students decide which tier they can afford. To be honest, this is an experiment. Our hope is to offer reduced tuition to some students that might otherwise take the form of something like scholarships or financial aid. But instead of us defining criteria that conform to our own definition of “need” (maybe we get it right, maybe we don’t), we want you, the student, to make that determination. It’s your choice, on your terms.

In order for this to work, not everyone can pay only the lowest tier. If that happened, Practica would eventually be underfunded and unable to continue. If you have the means to select Tiers 1 or 2, we encourage you to do so. Not only will you be helping Practica become a sustainable platform, but you’ll also be helping others access a unique educational experience.

No matter which tier you choose, the program is exactly the same, and your choice of tier will be kept strictly confidential. And because you’ll only formally select a tier once you’ve been accepted into the program, your choice will not affect your application in any way. We probably won’t eradicate injustice with our sliding scale, but maybe we can help one another out a little bit in the meantime.

Fees are stated in US dollars. All payments are nonrefundable. If the program is canceled for any reason by Practica, payments made up to the point of cancellation will be fully refunded.

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