Introductory type
design workshops
around the world

CONFIRMED: Chicago, Jan 30 - Feb 1 →

Edmonton · Kiev · Lviv · Boston · Chicago · Portland · San Francisco · Singapore · Seattle · Dublin · London · 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, and illustrators. Sometimes we see customers again 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 each 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.

Book Your Place

Jan 30 - Feb 1: Thomas, Aoife and Octavio are coming to Chicago. Secure your place today!

Sign Up: Chicago →

Previous Locations
Edmonton · Kiev · Lviv · Boston · Chicago · Portland · San Francisco · Singapore · Seattle · Dublin · London · 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, Octavio, Vernon & Thomas. 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:

Professionals$600
Association Members DiscountTUG, ATypI, AIGA, SoTA, STA, AIA, Henry Art Gallery, Graphic Artists Guild$540
StudentsValid Student I.D. required$300

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 FontForge (available free for Mac and Windows)

Meet Our Team

Dave Teaching

Dave Crossland

Instructor (Europe)

Dave is an English type designer, best known for creating the Cantarell typeface: a beautiful contemporary Humanist sans serif. Made while studying for over 2 years in the Department of Typography at the University of Reading (UK, 2009), Cantarell was chosen as the brand type for the GNOME desktop. Dave is currently ‘Font Consultant’ to Google Web Fonts and has commissioned hundreds of typefaces from designers around the world.

Dave dreams of a free culture of visual communication, so he decided to free fonts. His Masters thesis related the history of the software freedom movement to the practice of type design.

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
Octavio Pardo

Octavio Pardo

Instructor (Europe)

Octavio's graphic design career began in his home country of Spain, where he worked for several design studios on projects for blue chip clients, including La Caixa Foundation and FC Barcelona. A graduate of the MA Typeface Design programme at the University of Reading (UK, 2010) he has contributed to retail and custom typefaces by France's premiere foundry Typofonderie and the trendy TypeTogether. He now freelances through octaviopardo.com.

Recognized both at home and internationally, Octavio's work has been seen in some of the most important publications and magazines in the world. His first published type design Sutturah is available from Rosetta Type in both Cyrillic and Latin; it received the Excellence in Type Design 2012 award from the Type Directors Club.

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.

Alexei Vanyashin
Vernon Adams

Vernon Adams

Instructor (North America)

Vernon is a professional type designer from England, living in California. A graduate from the Masters degree in Typeface Design at the University of Reading (UK, 2007.) He is best known for Oswald, one of the world's most popular web fonts that is seen by 60 million people every day.

He came to type design from a career in fine arts and graphic design and his work spans display, text and script type. Moving swiftly and solidly from ideas and drawings to fully functioning fonts, he has published dozens of fonts over the last two years that are made for the widest possible use across the internet. Vernon also provides custom and corporate identity type services through New Typography.

Thomas Phinney

Instructor (North America)

Thomas is an American/Canadian type designer and typographer. He was “Guru of Fonts & Typography” for Extensis and their WebINK web font service from 2009 to 2014, and then Vice President of FontLab Ltd from 2014 to today. He also does independent consulting and type design, and specialises in multilingual type design, the business of type, invalidating forged documents through type, font technology, and maximizing font quality.

Thomas’ first released typeface, Hypatia Sans, is an Adobe Original with over 3,000 glyphs in each style that covers Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. Thomas is currently working on a new typeface, Cristoforo, with similarly extensive coverage that started life on Kickstarter.

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. He shortly went to work at Adobe (1997-2008, lastly as product manager for Fonts and Typography), when he also acquired an MBA from UC Berkeley. He currently 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 AmericanAirlines, 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