What scripts or writing systems will students study?
Right now, we’re focused on the Latin script. Our goal for future editions is to expand to include workshops or extensions of specific writing systems but for now, it’s Latin.
What will I need?
Are classes recorded?
All sessions are held live via Zoom. Lectures are recorded and available to rewatch for three months after your course ends, whether you miss a class or simply want to review the material. The recorded lectures also allow for some flexibility, to work the course into your schedule. Feedback sessions, on the other hand, are not recorded and must be attended live.
What language are classes held in?
All sessions are conducted in English.
Which Practica course is right for me: One, Two or both?
Let’s start with why we created two separate courses. We started off with just the single Practica and found that many students could benefit from taking a step back and learning more foundational material. The catch was, it wasn't needed by everyone. That’s why we split the program into Practica One: Mechanics and Practica Two: Expansion.
Practica One is for those students who are self-taught or have only taken short courses in type design. We talk about a basic type design workflow, understanding the concept of controls, spacing, drawing with Bezier curves, proofing typefaces, setting up font files, and so on.
We expect, based on our past experiences with students, that most people interested in taking Practica Two will also want to take Practica One. After applying the 10% discount
If you have a more extensive background in type design and/or feel comfortable with the topics of Practica One, then you can skip it and apply only to Practica Two.
For Practica Two, it is important that you’ve already started designing a typeface and that you're committed to working on it for 18 weeks. It doesn’t have to be fully formed or in a finished state when you apply, though. If you’re curious how much you should have completed, scroll down to, “How far along does my typeface have to be to apply to the program?”
One last note: because our program is entirely online, our students come from all different backgrounds and countries. We’ve had recent graduates, parents, educators, working typeface designers, web and graphic designers, and participants from other type design programs. The thing they all share is a desire to learn more about typeface design, whether their intent is to apply that to their current job as a typographer, to become a professional typeface designer, or simply for the love of learning.
Do I have to use Glyphs as my font editor?
All demonstrations using a font editor will be conducted in Glyphs. Many of the concepts are universal (like drawing or spacing) and will easily translate from one font editor to the next. There is a lot to learn that is independent of a font editor.
However, for Practica One in particular, we discuss font file set up as well as review font files. Since that activity is font-editor specific, you will get the most out of this course if you are using Glyphs as well.
Practica Two, on the other hand, has less content related specifically to Glyphs with the exception of material on interpolation. While the concepts surrounding it will apply across editors, the actual file set up varies. If you are flexible enough to apply what is shown in Glyphs to your own editor, or you are already familiar with how interpolation works in your font editor, then you shouldn’t have a problem.
We have had students in the past attend who did not use Glyphs as their font editor. Any font editor is welcome, but we want to be clear that some content is Glyphs-specific and our primary fluency is with Glyphs. If you are interested in trying Glyphs, you can opt to use the trial license that comes free with the course.
Important billing, enrollment or application dates
Thursday, November 6, 2022 — Enrollment closes, last day to enroll
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 — Practica One begins, first day of class
Sunday, November 20, 2022 — Applications close, last day to apply
Friday, December 2, 2022 – Notification emails sent out
Friday, December 16, 2022 – 30% tuition deposit due
Friday, January 6, 2023 — Final payment due
Thursday, January 19, 2023 — Practica Two begins, first day of class
All due dates end at 11:59pm Central Time (CT)
One + Two combined tuition rates
If you sign up for Practica One and are accepted into the following edition of Two, you will receive a 10% discount on your total tuition. The combined tuition rates for Practica One and Two with the 10% discount are as follows:
Why is tuition on a sliding scale? What does that mean?
Our sliding scale operates on the honor system and means that students decide which tier they can afford. To be honest, this is an ongoing experiment. Our hope is to offer reduced tuition to some students that might otherwise take the form of something like scholarships or grants. 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 the higher tuition tiers, 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.
If you withdraw from the course 14 days before its start date, you will receive a 70% refund of your tuition payment. After that time, all payments are non-refundable.
The 30% tuition deposit you pay to reserve your spot in Practica Two is non-refundable. If you withdraw from the course 14 days before its start date, you will receive a refund of any payments made up to the point of your withdrawal (with the exception of your 30% deposit). After that time, all payments are non-refundable.
In the unlikely event that we cancel Practica One or Two for any reason, payments made up to the point of cancellation will be fully refunded.
Any request to cancel your enrollment in Practica One or Two must be received in writing to email@example.com.
When is the next edition of Practica?
The plan is to run Practica One and Two just once a year (once a school year, that is). If the timing of this edition doesn’t work for you, your next chance to take Practica again would be starting November 2023 or January 2024.
Is Practica One right for me?
Do I need a typeface to participate in Practica One?
Not necessarily. The course is designed for you to work on a typeface you’ve started outside the course and improve it as we go along. The feedback sessions and file reviews—where we discuss students’ progress on their typefaces—are optional if you prefer to learn through observation or just want to learn more about how typefaces are made without making one yourself.
How much time am I expected to work outside of class?
We recommend committing a minimum of a couple of hours per week to work outside of class, if you choose to work on a typeface during the course. Every student will come to the program with their own set of responsibilities, work speed, and course expectations. The old adage is true, however — the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
Can I enroll in One and decide to take Two if I like it?
Space in Practica Two is limited to 12 students. If there are open spots in Practica Two at the end of Practica one, then we are happy to talk with you about enrollment in the program.
Is Practica One right for me?
Do I need a typeface to participate in Practica Two?
Yep — you’ll spend 18 weeks expanding a typeface you have started outside the program and practical experience is an important component for your individual advancement. However the typeface doesn’t have to be fully formed or in a finished state when you apply (that is why you’re taking the class!). See → How far along does my typeface have to be to apply to the program?
What style of typeface can I start the course with?
Text, display, connected script, experimental, sans serif, serif — bring whatever you’re excited to work on.
How far along does my typeface have to be to apply to the program?
The typeface you bring is your starting point. We don’t expect you to show up with a finished piece of work, but you should be past the ideation phase and have a strong direction in place. At a minimum, you’ll need a single weight in progress with a basic character set. The definition of “basic character set” depends on the style of font, but it is likely most of the lowercase and some uppercase, or just the uppercase if the font is intended for all-caps settings. If you have more, that’s great!
Can I apply with more than one typeface?
Yes! You may include more than one font in your application, but only if you're interested in working on those fonts during the program. If your application is selected, we’ll help you choose which one to work on.
How much time am I expected to work outside of class?
To take full advantage of the program, working outside the scheduled instruction times is paramount and happens almost entirely outside of class. We recommend committing a minimum of six hours per week to work outside of class and that might include readings. Every student will come to the program with their own set of responsibilities, work speed, and course expectations. The old adage is true, however — the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.
How daylight savings time may change your class start time...
Daylight savings time may affect the start times of class depending on your location. This does not affect students in Practica One.
For example in Europe, daylight savings time ends two weeks later than in the United States. Therefore, classes will start one hour earlier for two weeks (on March 14 & 16, and 21 & 23) for European students. If you are in the US, your class start times will not shift. For a constant reference, we always use US Central time as the basis for our class start times.
In countries that do not use daylight savings time, classes will begin one hour earlier beginning Tuesday, March 14.
What is interpolation, what are masters?
It’s like magic, but for typefaces. Seriously though … When applied to typefaces, interpolation is a mathematical means of creating intermediate instances from two or more sets of data. “Data,” in this case, refers to a weight or style of a typeface.
For example, imagine you’ve drawn a thin and bold weight of a typeface and plan to create regular and medium weights too. Instead of drawing the regular and medium by hand, you could use the data you already have (the thin and bold) and let the computer automagically figure out the drawings for the regular and medium. The automagic part is interpolation.
The thin and bold in this case are called masters. They represent the two weights that the other weights (or “instances,” in interpolation land) are based on. To interpolate, a typeface must have at least two masters drawn — but it can have more than two masters as well. Creating new weights is a very typical use of interpolation, but it can also be used for width, slant, or more imaginative axes.
Are you going to cover variable fonts?
Planning a font family and learning how to interpolate — both topics covered in the program — are primary foundations for making variable fonts. So, although we won’t formally discuss variable fonts, we will learn these foundations and you’ll be many steps closer to creating a variable font by the end of the program. If a student brings a variable font to the program, then we’re happy to work with them and discuss all the interesting topics that variable fonts bring up.
How many students will be in my group?
Because the feedback sessions are an integral component of the program, the max capacity is 12 students so everyone gets enough 1:1 attention and instruction.
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