Principles of Typeface Design: Type Revivals


"Type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters" – Matthew Carter


A good place to begin your journey into the world of typeface design is to revive an existing typeface. Whether as historic preservation, homage to, or a reconsideration of an original design a revival allows students to study a good model carefully and to digitize it, perhaps faithfully, perhaps as a starting point for modernization.  


Students will be guided through the typical workflow of font creation. The focus of this class is to learn to understand the concepts and the skills involved in the craft of typeface design. Selecting a body text typeface from the letterpress era as a starting point assures that proportions, visual weight and construction are sound. The topics that will covered in this class will be:


                • Efficient workflow

                • Introduction to the font editor

                • Digital drafting skills such as correct point placement and proper construction for smooth running curves.

                • Character design standards for a full Central European glyph set.

                • Design decisions that emphasize consistency of expression for a calm reading experience

                • Character spacing to establish rhythm between shapes and counter shapes that promote optimal legibility in body text sizes.

                • proofing and evaluating a typeface design


Classes will be taught live online using Zoom and Slack. Besides timely attendance of each class the participants will be expected to invest some hours of homework each week.


In preparation of the class it is recommended that the participants select the oldest book in their personal library. To ensure it was printed in letterpress check for a publishing date of 1970 or earlier. Alternatively, search on for pages from books printed in the early 20th or 19th century. Selecting a type specimen or conducting research into the origins of the typeface is discouraged.


                • Mac computer (laptop or dektop)

                • Reliable Internet connection

                • Zoom, a video conferencing application (please download for free from

                • Slack, a platform for communicating and working in teams (please download for free from the App Store)

                • A free temporary educational Robofont license will be issued to each student enrolled.

                • access to a laser printer

Additional Information


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