TYMTDC-Typeface design: principles and applications

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Gerry Leonidas

Email: g.leonidas@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The aim of the module is to provide a thorough grounding in principles and methods of typeface design. Historical and theoretical issues are discussed, exploring the development of typeforms in a systematic way and with reference to their context. The technology used to typeset texts and render typeforms, both on paper and on screen, is discussed and its effects on design output analysed. The potential and constraints of each rendering technology are examined in depth.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • draw on a broad historical and theoretical perspective of typeface design and production
  • recognise the influence of different technologies on typeface design and production
  • describe specific technical issues relating to the design, production, and use of digital typefaces
  • specify, manage, and troubleshoot typographical issues in multi-script documents

Additional outcomes:
Students should also be able to communicate effectively in speech - in particular discussing concepts and procedures, and present coherent arguments, and in writing - in particular composing documents which investigate, analyse, and argue critically about relevant issues.
They should be able to undertake independent research, both using IT and by working with primary sources.

Outline content:
The seminars cover a variety of subjects, such as:

  • The anatomy of type
  • Typeface design systems
  • From hot-metal to phototypesetting
  • From phototypesetting to digital
  • Development of recent typesetting techniques
  • Principles of digital type
  • Production issues for digital type
  • Characteristics and development of non-Latin type: Arabic, Hindic, Greek
  • Legibility research
  • Hinting digital typefaces
  • Legal issues surrounding typefaces
  • Applications of typefaces and implications for their design (print, screen, signage)
  • Case studies of existing typefaces

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Each weekly seminar focuses on one aspect which is explored in depth, with the lecturer/demonstrator introducing the subject and then guiding the discussion within the group. Depending on the subject, students may be asked to perform some design-analytical tasks (e.g. determine potentially problematic areas when developing non-Latin typefaces). In other cases the lecturer/demonstrator may use an example to elucidate solving a design problem or clarifying a production procedure.
All sessions make use of visual aids. These may be electronic resources (e.g. examination of digital font files) or artefacts (e.g. looking at original type specimens). Students are encouraged to explore both online and artefactual resources, and are provided with support for locating information online, and making use of the Department's working collections.
A number of visiting lecturers and demonstrators enrich the subjects covered and provide important feedback from the industry.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 20 20
Guided independent study 120 120
Total hours by term 150.00 150.00
Total hours for module 300.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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