Introductions
to type design
around the world

Edmonton: October 27-28-29, 2017 →

Boston · Copenhagen · Chicago · Dublin · Edmonton · Hong Kong · Kiev · London · Portland · San Francisco · Seattle · Singapore · Toronto · Your City?

Crafting Type is an intense 3–day workshop where absolute beginners learn how to design typefaces and intermediate type designers boost their skills. We run it around the world at cities large and small to bring you a solid start in type design.

You may not be considering a career as a type designer. Many people we meet at our workshops have already established great careers as artists, architects, or illustrators. Sometimes we see repeat customers, who travel in from another city to attend the same workshop twice — with no intention of becoming a professional type designer, ever.

Why take our workshop?

Learning type design is a great way to deepen your understanding of typography. Zooming in to this level is still rare, and being able to drill down with clients and other designers sets you apart.

Type can seem like a dark art, hidden in mystery. But we have developed a learning experience that reliably evaporates the sense that typography and type design is impenetrable.

We reveal the secrets, and you will leave the workshop with confidence in choosing and using type. You will know how to analyse the suitability of a font family for any given typographic task, because you will be able to craft your own type.

Our team of professional type designers has an approach to teaching that is hands–on, encouraging, interactive—and fun!

Plus, we provide all of the necessary software, and hundreds of fonts to study and play with. No previous experience of type design is required. We even cover how to earn money with your skills.

What you’ll leave with (in addition to some fond memories) are new typography skills, new tools for drawing type, and the first key letters of your own type design.

Previous Locations
Boston · Copenhagen · Chicago · Corvallis · Dublin · Edmonton · Hong Kong · Kiev · London · Portland · San Francisco · Seattle · Singapore · Toronto · Your City?

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Who we are

Each workshop is taught by professional type designers. We keep the instructor/student ratio super low, averaging 10 students per tutor. Our team of instructors includes Dave, Alexei, Eben, Thomas, Aoife & Blondina. Scroll to the end to read all about us.

Quick Preview

What you'll learn

Crafting Type workshops deliver typeface design skills in tutored drawing sessions punctuated by lectures. We believe learning by doing comes first, and theory then enhances your learning.

The first insight you will gain is how to avoid the fatal mistake that all beginners (and even some professionals) make when sketching letters. Then you take your sketches to a font editor and produce print outs with your own OpenType fonts.

The majority of our time is spent on crafting fine shapes that read well. You are in total control of your design, as our instructors help you understand how type works in response to your own creative output.

You will leave with a deep appreciation for the special design process that carries a typeface from its earliest sketches done with pencil on paper all the way to a monster 90 style family.

Who should attend?

Graphic designers and illustrators looking to take their craft to the next level should definitely attend. Architects, design teachers, UX designers, librarians, letter press obsessives, fine artists, and calligraphers have all said that after the workshop experience they now see type in a new way.

Anyone else can join us too, because no prior knowledge of type design is necessary. No matter how little experience you may have, we will put you on the path to mastery. The only requirements are a laptop and a love of letters!

“People who work as graphic designers, web designers, architects, UX/UI designers, product designers, and people who do branding and identity work have all said the information provided by Crafting Type was something they could apply to their work. Even typography teachers who attend say they find it deepens their understanding, and gives them an additional angle to bring to their own pedagogy.”
— Eben Sorkin, Instructor

Testimonials

“I will never be a professional type designer. I won't create the next Gotham. So why do this course? Learning about type and how it is made allows me to be a better designer."
— Patrick Altair, CT Dublin 2013/10
Read his extensive write-up of his experience

For all the juicy details have a look at the full schedule

Tickets & Prices

Crafting Type is non-profit because we want it to be as accessible & affordable as possible. The number of seats at a workshop are strictly limited to ensure adequate 1-on-1 instructor time is available.

Students looking for an edge as they enter the market will benefit from our hefty student discount, as will members of design associations. Working designers should ask their accountants to book the fee as tax deductible professional development.

Since the workshops are held at different cities around the world, the price does vary depending on the logistics involved - especially the number of days. We also often offer Early Bird discounts. Here are the typical prices for a typical 3-day Friday-Saturday-Sunday workshop:

ProfessionalsUS$630
Association Members DiscountTUG, ATypI, AIGA, SoTA, STA, AIA, GAG, SDGQUS$567
StudentsValid Student I.D. requiredUS$315

Ticketing is kindly handled by TUG, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports the TeX typesetting system.

Why we do this

Watch on YouTube »

What to bring?

When you attend a Crafting Type workshop, please bring a few basic items along with you:

  • Soft pencil, made with real wood. It must be soft, so you can make very dark and very light marks on paper
  • Pencil sharpener, to sharpen the pencil
  • Eraser, to tidy up sketches at their end
  • Red and green pens, to mark up sketches and print outs with comments
  • Sketchbook, if you like to use one - we’ll use loose paper during the workshop, but many folks prefer to use a sketchbook after the sketching exercises
  • Notebook and note taking pen
  • Your laptop, with passwords to install software.
  • Install your chosen font editor, preferably one recommended for the workshop, such as FontLab, Glyphs or FontForge.

More Locations

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Testimonials

"Absolutely loved #craftingtype! Amazed with the amount I learned in three days"
Arielle Cacopardo, Florida, on CT Boston 2013/2

"I was skeptical of the price tag but left feeling it was time and money well spent. I went from awful line sketches to 10 opentype letters in 72 hours. It is amazing to look back at my first sketch and what I have now."
Patrick Altair, CT Dublin 2013/10

Your event?

Want a workshop in your city? We can make it happen! Let us know which city and we'll see what we can do. If you know of a potential venue sponsor, then email us to say Hi.

Testimonials

"The 37 participants started off by drawing individual letters (curse you, letter “o”) and learning the proper technique for sketching letterforms. We also gained insight into understanding how and why letters are formed the way they are, and how type is related to, yet different from handwriting. At the end of the day I was amazed at how much I had learned, and it was only day 1."
Matt Heximer of 10fourdesign, Vancouver, on the first Crafting Type in Edmonton, 2012/8

"My head is still spinning a little from being so immersed into the realm of type design and fonts. I was surprised at after learning a few techniques for sketching and drawing how quick it was to get some decent ideas down on paper. I highly recommend the course if you ever get the chance to take it."
Seth Hardie, CT Edmonton 2012/8

For type news, articles, and upcoming workshop announcements delivered straight to your inbox, join our mailing list. Useful stuff only, no spam, pinky swear.

Testimonials

"so much font knowledge being tossed around in this small room!"
Will Miller, CT Chicago 2013/3

"agreed! well worth the time, money to get guidance from pros and peers"
Kent Henderson, CT Chicago 2013/3

"I just want to say thank you again for opening my eyes about type design. I've shared some key factors with a few of my mentors/creative directors and they all agree your shared knowledge is invaluable."
Amy Parker, Art Director, CT SF 2014/1

Sponsors

We're actively seeking like-minded folks to help make Crafting Type events possible. If you have a venue for design & learning, we'd love your help. Let us know if you'd like to host us.

Software Sponsor:
FontForge
FontForge

Software Sponsor:
Fontlab
Fontlab

Venue Partner:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Venue Partner:
1508
1508

Venue Partner:
FontShop International Inc.
FontShop International Inc

Meet Our Team

Dave Teaching

Dave Crossland

Instructor (Americas)

Dave is an English type designer, best known for his role as a Program Manager in the Google Fonts team where he commissions hundreds of typefaces from designers around the world for over a dozen writing systems. As a student Dave dreamed of a free culture of visual communication, so he decided to free fonts.

He created the Cantarell typeface, a beautiful contemporary Humanist sans serif, as a post-graduate student of Typeface Design at the Department of Typography within the University of Reading (UK, 2007–2009.) Cantarell was chosen as the brand type for the GNOME 3 desktop, and his Masters dissertation related the history of the software freedom movement to the practice of type design.

In addition to regularly teaching type design to beginners as part of the Crafting Type collective, in workshops offered around the world, he participates actively in the FontForge, Metapolator, and TruFont font editor projects.

Eben Sorkin

Instructor (North America)

While Eben loves the beauty of type, he loves its utility even more. He started the independent type foundry Sorkin Type Co. in 2009 and has since published over 60 fonts made for the web, engaging the talents of dozens of designers internationally. Sorkin Type Co. will soon offer expanded families, print-specific versions and exclusive releases.

Eben maintains his own professional type design practice, consults on strategic business advantages through typography for clients including Facebook, and is regularly invited to speak around the world to give his unique presentations on the relationship of science to type design.

After graduating with Distinction from the Masters programme at the University of Reading (UK, 2009), Eben returned to his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. You may enjoy his Flickr photostream.

Eben Sorkin
Alexei Vanyashin

Alexei Vanyashin

Instructor (Europe)

Alexei is a Russian type designer, educator, author, and principle of the Cyreal type foundry. In 2010 he was commissioned by Russian GEO to design their identity type which earned him a Granshan Award and a Best of Russian Design award. He collaborates with the renowned Swiss Typefaces Foundry on their Cyrillic extensions. Among his many custom type projects are works for Red Dot holder Ermolaev Bureau, and acclaimed magazine Afisha.

Alexei completed a postgraduate Type Design programme at the British Higher School of Art and Design in 2010, where he now teaches. Prior to that he studied Graphic Design at Moscow Stroganov University and at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, USA.

As a Cyrillic expert, Alexei is regularly invited to give workshops and talks in Europe, including at TypoLub 2012, Design Awards UA, and at the KABK Type & Media Masters programme. His sharp research into the history of Cyrillic became a chapter of Gestalten's Hand to Type.

Thomas Phinney

Instructor (North America)

Thomas is an American/Canadian type designer and typographer, and CEO of FontLab. He was previously product manager for fonts and global typography during his 11 years at Adobe, and “Guru of Fonts & Typography” for Extensis and their web font solution. He also does independent consulting and type design, specializing in legal issues such as forged documents and point size, the business of type, font technology, variable fonts, and maximizing font quality.

Thomas’ first released typeface, Hypatia Sans, is an Adobe Original with over 3,000 glyphs in each of 12 fonts, covering extended Latin, polytonic Greek and extended Cyrillic. Thomas is currently wrapping up Cristoforo, a typeface with similarly extensive language support, that started life on Kickstarter. He has also contributed behind the scenes to typefaces issued by other foundries, including custom typefaces for global brands.

After graduating from the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology with an MS in Printing, specializing in design and typography, Thomas created a class in font production. While working at Adobe, he also acquired an MBA from UC Berkeley. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Aoife Mooney

Aoife Mooney

Instructor (North America)

Aoife is an Irish typeface designer and letterer, originally from Dublin. She is a graduate of the MA in Typeface Design at the University of Reading (UK, 2010) where she worked on the typeface Magnimo, a quirky family intended to run the gamut from text to display and back. After graduation she hopped across the pond to live in Brooklyn and work as a full-time typeface designer for the globally acclaimed Hoefler & Frere-Jones Type Foundry in New York City.

While at H&FJ, Aoife worked as part of the design team on a number of typeface design projects including the Idlewild family. She now lives and works in Akron, Ohio teaching Graphic Design and Typography at Kent State University. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including the inaugural Communication Arts Typography Annual, Page magazine, and a variety of lettering and typography blogs.

She is interested in the expressive potential of type, and the role of typeface design and typography as a cultural and political artefact. She also works as a freelance graphic designer with a focus on custom lettering and identity design.

Blondina Elms Pastel

Instructor (Europe)

Blondina is an artist, calligrapher, designer, typographer, teacher, and type designer from the Caribbean island of Barbados. She has been in practice as an independent designer since 1999. Her focus in type design is children's literature, not because she believes children need special typefaces, but rather, the aim is to create typeface designs that enhance a child's reading experience.

In 1999, Blondina graduated summa cum laude from the graphic design programme at the Institut régional d'art visual de la Martinique (IRAVM). Shortly after she became a member of the Alliance Française des Designers. In 2011, she was awarded a Master of Arts in Typeface design from the University of Reading where her research was focused on children and typography. Her practically work focused on Latin, Hebrew, and Kannada letterforms and type design. Blondina is also a graduate of the Expert class Type design (2012–2013) at the Plantin Institute of Typography taught by Frank E. Blokland. Her work and research included a revival project based on Jacques François Rosart's Grand Canon Romain and a personal project based on the pointed nib pen. Her studies granted her the degree of Expert class Type design with distinction.

Blondina founded her atelier Elms in 2002. Her clients can be found across the globe (USA, British Virgin Islands, Dominica). Her talent has led her to collaborate with some of the major agencies in the Caribbean territory, which gave her the opportunity to work with clients like American Airlines, Mercedes, Berger Paints, RBTT Bank amongst others. From 2007 until 2010, Blondina was a visiting tutor and lecturer in typography at the Fine Arts Department, Barbados Community College. Here, she taught at 2nd year Associate Degree and 1st year Bachelor of Fine Art (Graphic Design) levels. In 2012, the German type foundry URW++ published Naej, Blondina’s first published typeface design.

Currently, Blondina lives in the south of France. In addition to running her studio (where she now specializes in type design for children's books) she teaches typography at the École intuit.lab.

Blondina Elms Pastel