Practica

Learn type design,
together.

Refine your craft with Practica, a 14-week online type design program starting in January 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. At the end of the program, students will have a two-master typeface that is ready to interpolate into a full typeface 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 create technically sound fonts. 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 a typeface useful, and how can research and theory inform our work?

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.

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.
  • Working efficiently in Glyphs.
  • Expanding character sets and designing diacritics.
  • Learning the technical steps necessary to produce a font that is ready for release.
  • Exploring the business of type design, including licensing, distribution models, and various career paths.

Structure & Schedule

For the first seven weeks, we’ll meet twice a week. The first meeting will be a one-hour lecture; the second will be a feedback session looking at the group’s typefaces. Every three weeks or so, the feedback session will be replaced by a flexible class for students to ask questions or for the instructors to give short presentations on topics of interest to students but not covered elsewhere.

The next seven weeks will follow the same structure, but with fewer lectures. The focus will shift to the feedback sessions, allowing students more time to work on their typefaces independently.

Tuesdays / 6pm GMT * Thursdays / 6pm GMT *
Jan 19/21 Intro/Lecture (1 hour) Project intro (approx. 2.5 hours)
Jan 26/28 Lecture v Feedback session
Feb 2/4 Lecture Q&A session
Feb 9/11 Lecture Feedback session
Feb 16/18 Lecture v Feedback session v
Feb 23/25 Lecture Q&A session
March 2/4 Case study v Feedback session
March 9/11 Lecture Feedback session
March 16/18 No class Q&A session
March 23/25 Lecture v Feedback session v
March 30/April 1 No class Feedback session
April 6/8 Lecture Q&A session
April 13/15 No class Feedback session
April 20/22 Lecture Final presentation
* 7pm Berlin / 12pm Chicago / Convert to your timezone
v Indicates visiting lecturer or critic.
The schedule is subject to slight 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, all lead instructors will set aside time each week to meet with students needing one-on-one support (i.e., office hours). There are more than 40 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 Critic
Contrast Foundry

Bas Jacobs

Visiting Lecturer
Underware

David Jonathan Ross

Visiting Lecturer
DJR

Aleksandra Samuļenkova

Visiting Lecturer
Bold Monday

Alice Savoie

Visiting Lecturer
Researcher, Type Designer

Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer

Visiting Lecturer
Glyphs, Schriftlabor

Sara Soskolne

Visiting Critic
Hoefler & Co

Tuition

Tier 1

$1,900
$1,520*

Tier 2

$1,550
$1,240*

Tier 3

$1,200
$960*

* Enjoy 20% off, exclusively for the first edition of the program!

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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