TYMTRS-Discourse in typeface design

Module Provider: Typography
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Mr Gerry Leonidas

Email: g.leonidas@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


The module aims to explore typeface design at the intersection of type-making and typesetting technologies, user requirements, and the development of genre and style in typography. It introduces students to a range of key texts on aspects of typeface design, and utilises the perspectives of the authors to reveal different approaches at describing design decisions in typeface design. The texts are selected from the perspective of developing a reference literature for an emerging discipline.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • identify key strands of thinking in typeface design

  • explain and critique arguments in key texts

  • critically evaluate competing interpretations, policies, and practices

  • search, ?nd and analyse relevant information sources

  • articulate their arguments effectively in writing

Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module students should have further developed their skills in writing succinctly, and under a tight schedule. They should be able to undertake independent research, both using IT and by working with primary and secondary sources. They should also gain experience in time management and handling numerous tasks in parallel.

Outline content:

The module is structured around a series of online seminars and collaborative contributions. The seminars are focused around nine themes central to the discipline. Students study key texts in each theme as starting points for discussions taking place online through written contributions. These are guided and moderated by staff. The student contributions are geared towards generating a collaborative knowledge base for each theme.  Students submit essays on

The themes are:

  • The relationship of lettering, calligraphy, and epigraphy to type

  • Historical models for explaining the forms of letters

  • The typographic context for typeface design

  • Typesetting and typemaking technologies

  • Modularisation and hybridisation in type design

  • Writing and script analysis in World scripts

  • Models and Instances in typeface design

  • Scale effects and rendering

  • Genre and identity in typeface design

  • Discourse in typeface design

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Students are given a text-based introduction to each of a series of topics, and selected texts to read. Using the University’ Virtual Learning Environment, staff outline the key issues for each topic, and moderate the online forum for each topic. The collaborative contributions are asynchronous, and progress from one topic to the next. The work remains on a shared online space, visible but locked, after the discussion period is over, as a reference. The online contributions are limited in time, each theme spanning three weeks, with one week at the end of term reserved for feedback. Following this time-limited discussion for each topic, students submit essays on a topic selected from those covered in the term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
External visits 40 40 40
Guided independent study 100 90 90
Total hours by term 140.00 130.00 130.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


Three essays of 3000 words each on an agreed subject relating to the topics discussed in the online seminars.

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

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

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50%

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of one or more essays.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 5 February 2018

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