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Introduction to Typography

California Institute of the Arts via Coursera


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.

Taught by

Anther Kiley

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4.3 rating, based on 9 reviews

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  • Berbelek completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Great course and unique subject. The course provides some basic introduction to typography, offers some solid historical background and leads to some practical excercises.
    Please, note that the courses from California Institute of the Arts does not provide any information about tools and using them. I'm Inskcape user and it helped me a lot in assignments. You need to have some skills related to vector graphics or DTP to make some excercises here.
  • Cyn Gar

    Cyn Gar completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is a good introduction to typography in the digital age, teaching terminology and basic design considerations. You work on a project that builds on itself over three weeks as you are introduced to those considerations.

    Note: you don't need expensive (InDesign) or complicated (Scribbus) software for your project, I did everything in OpenOffice Draw (free office suite software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Also, I probably got far more into the project than was actually required.
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