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One domain, two approaches

The Type Design intensive (TDi) course is the preeminent intensive course in typeface design. It is aimed at experienced designers, those who manage typeface projects, and all researchers and educators.

In 2024, we are running two one-week courses, each focusing on separate but complementary aspects.


Week 1: Masterclass in practice

This course is for designers with confidence in some aspects of typeface design who want to elevate their skills and develop other areas of practice.

Placing multiscript projects at the centre of our sessions, we will cover preparation and specification for large projects, establishing models and criteria for evaluation, scaffolding workflows and structured feedback, and balancing revivals, innovation, and fitness for purpose.

We will highlight the research contribution to the design of scripts that are under-represented typographically, or where new use scenarios require innovative solutions. Our sessions on global scripts start with an understanding of the forms and composition of each script, issues of quality throughout extended families, and the balance of originality and utility in each script and style combination.

This week is ideal for those with some competence in typeface design, who can use the intensive sessions to refine their existing work, or – more likely – develop their skills in other scripts.

Week 2: Working seminar on research

This course is designed to teach you methodologies for effectively working with and interpreting primary sources, including unconventional material, ephemera, and digital evidence.

You will develop practical thinking skills, such as holding, looking at, and observing material. The sessions support new narratives that combine materiality and reframe existing concepts.

Research sessions

The research sessions begin with description and analysis, which helps develop the balance between contextualisation and focus. They also locate typographic research within related disciplines. These sessions are particularly relevant for those working with underrepresented scripts, languages, or communities and those working to address biases in existing literature.

Course focus

This course is suitable for academics, researchers, and individuals preparing for PhD study who are developing a research project, publication, or proposal.

Additionally, for those with broader interests, the course will help build skills for qualitative work with archives and constructing narratives from material evidence.

Course details

Both weeks are structured around staff-led sessions with archival material and case studies in the morning and practical feedback/research actions in the afternoon.

In the morning

Morning sessions heavily rely on our Collections and Archives, which include manuscripts, rare printed books, ephemera, and various objects related to type-making technologies, such as fully operational presses, lithography and a hot metal caster.

We offer access to original material that is not offered by any other institution globally with such intensity and expertise.

In the afternoon

We work in dedicated spaces with direct access to world-class materials and resources. Key staff are always present so that we can give ample time to small group and individual consultations and discussions.

Both weeks offer opportunities for participants to engage in discussions and learning about paradigms in typeface design and to reframe “ways of thinking” about the discipline and their work in the field. Our staff represents a broad range of perspectives and experiences in typeface design and are all experts in their respective fields.

Our staff

Staff on the course represent a broad range of perspectives and experiences in typeface design and are all experts in their respective fields.

Key persons on the course include:

Additional contributions by Abeera Kamran, Cheng Xunchang, and others.

About the Department

The University of Reading has been at the forefront of typography's evolution into a fully-fledged discipline – from the theory of graphic language to research in visual literacy, from the history of typesetting technologies to designing typefaces for global scripts.

The Department of Typography & Graphic Communication boasts the first typography course within a research-intensive university. It is also the home of Typography Papers and a wide range of research, knowledge transfer projects, and consultancies with wide-ranging impacts across many scripts.

We are internationally recognised for our exceptional research output and the quality of our teaching.


Course schedule

  • Date: 8 to 26 July 2024
  • Time: 09:30 to 17:30 daily, with a break for lunch (provided).

Register for the TDi course

Apply for the TDi course using the University's e-store 

If you would like further information, please contact Gerry Leonidas at