New typeface design program at Cooper Union

Cooper Union's new typeface design program, organized in conjunction with the Type Directors Club was just recently announced. It is currently a certificate program offered through Cooper's continuing education department. The new website has all the info on curriculum, faculty bios, and application details:
http://coopertype.org/

While there have been many type design workshops and classes offered in North America before, this is the first program of its kind to take place on the continent. Having moved to New York not too long ago myself, I must say I can't think of a better city to hold such a program in – if for nothing else than to have access to such a vast pool of talented type folks living in the area.

Furthermore, Cooper Union and the Type Directors Club couldn't be much better organizations to have involved. Among other things, Cooper has made typography a priority with their Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, and the TDC's annual typeface awards are among the most notable in the industry. Plus it goes without saying that both have long typographic histories that include some of the greats of American type, lettering, and design.

The course list and roster of people involved for the first term alone is quite impressive (not to mention surprisingly diverse), and I'm sure the second and third terms will be just as good. More information will be posted on the site as it becomes available.

I apologize for shamelessly tooting the horn of a project I'm obviously involved with, but I'm really excited about it and thought some of you might be as well. As always, I'm appreciative of any feedback – critical or otherwise – and am happy to answer any questions.

blank's picture

Despite their commitment, it might take some students a few days longer longer to realize that the crossbar on "f" usually lines up with the x-height...

Anyone who can’t get through Leslie Cabarga’s tutorial on drawing a geometric sans from stroked paths in two weeks really shouldn’t be in a type design program!

TBiddy's picture

I think finding out what you don't want to do as a designer may be more important than finding out what you want to do.

Oh my Lord, yes.

Nick/James: I think the only way this can be settled is through...dun...dun...dun...

An Iron Type Designer competition! Students complete a 256 character font in a week. Go!

(Being facetious of course.) :)

typerror's picture

No sense in that when JP can do it all and do it so fast :-)

Thomas Phinney's picture

I'm on the side of having people do something that will keep them motivated.

It's been a long time since I taught this stuff. When I last did, I had folks working on a revival of Radiant. But if I had it to do over again, I'd let them pick their own project at least to a significant degree. Maybe steering them away from circus lettering and script faces. :)

T

.00's picture

And James, I certainly hope Type@Cooper won't detract from your SVA CE enrollment. I expect the difference in time commitment makes your class far more feasible for some students. Let's hope there's room for both!

Well Jesse I hope you are right. SVA has posted my type design course for registration for the upcoming Fall semester

k.l.'s picture

Hi Jesse, a bit belated: Very impressive! I particularly like that it is not about how to draw type alone but about type design in context as the variety of contributors suggests. This could be a great experience for participants.

cdiedwardo's picture

The 4 Type@Cooper guest lectures are open to the public:
Turning Lead into Gold: 19th-Century American Type Foundries & Their Specimen Books by Stephen O. Saxe;
Type Design & Production, The Revolutionary Years by Mike Daines;
The Guardian Egyptian by Christian Schwartz,
Round Pegs in Square Holes: Developing Type for Screen-based Media by Roger Black are open to the public.

Program participants will have priority in reserving places in elective weekend workshops with Ken Barber and Mark Jamra
but any remaining places in these workshops are available to the public.

You must register by phone for these events. 212-353-4195
Admission for the lectures is $20, the workshops are $300, TDC 20% discount applies.

dezcom's picture

Hi Cara! Best wishes for a great class!

ChrisL

cdiedwardo's picture

Thanks Chris!

typedef's picture

Sounds like a great course.

Is there a similar course in the Boston area?

Thanks.

William Berkson's picture

Cara, will the schedule of these events open to the public be posted on the Cooper Union website, or a facebook page?

Nick Sherman's picture

William, everything under "Electives" and "Guest Lectures" on the Curriculum page is what will be open to the public, space-permitting.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> will the schedule of these events open to the public be posted on the Cooper Union website, or a facebook page?

Hi William. According to http://coopertype.org/curriculum/,

Turning Lead into Gold: 19th-Century American Type Foundries & Their Specimen Books by Stephen O. Saxe;
Monday, October 18
6:30 pm

Type Design & Production, The Revolutionary Years by Mike Daines;
Monday, November 1
6:30 pm

The Guardian Egyptian by Christian Schwartz,
Monday, November 15
6:30 pm

Round Pegs in Square Holes: Developing Type for Screen-based Media by Roger Black
Monday, November 29
6:30 pm

cdiedwardo's picture

Concerning foreign students and visas, here is what I can say.

No one needs to have a special visa to apply to or attend Type@Cooper, immigration status is not a factor at all.

Cooper Union cannot help to get a student visa to study (which is good news and a little bit bad news) because the program doesn't require enough contact hours to qualify. This is only bad if you come from a country who's citizens must jump through hoops to get a tourist visa to the US. It's good because thanks to Homeland Security, schools now have to charge enormous fees to foreign students to offset the expense of doing the ten years of follow-up paperwork per student.

I am told that there are quite a few Brazilians who have come repeatedly to do the Architecture Certificate program in Green Building courses here at Cooper. They have all come on tourist visas.

The only difficulty is that a tourist visa limits you to a certain number of months visit. Still, the fees that get charged to foreign students are more than just about any round trip airfare in the world.

cdiedwardo's picture

Bill,
Cristobal correctly lists the fall lectures. These will be held in an auditorium that can accommodate a lot of people.

The elective workshops will have limited enrollment, and priority will be given to those in the program as an optional course in addition to the core, but included in the price of the program. We expect there will be a few open places in these workshops for people outside the program.

In the fall 2 weekend workshops are planned; Drawn Letters with Ken Barber, and Experiment and Expression in letterform design with Mark Jamra.

Richard Lipton and John Downer have agreed to teach lettering/design workshops in the spring. We are still working out the details of a few more electives for spring on the technical end of font production. I imagine we can open those up to more people.

FYI, Cooper Union Continuing Education's website is set up in such a way that makes it impossible to list these options and allow people to enroll directly through the site. If you are interested in signing up to attend anything at Type@Cooper (other than applying for the whole program) you need to call them during office hours 10 am—6pm. The number's on the website.

cdiedwardo's picture

Reminder: The deadline for this fall's Type@Cooper is midnight tomorrow,
August 31st.

We will run the program again next year with a more generous lead time.
I know this was short notice for many, especially those of you who expressed
interest from afar.

If I've confused you about the international student explanation that I posted a few days ago let me clarify that there is no extra fee for international students and Cooper doesn't require any particular immigration status or visa.

Sara Soskolne's picture

Hi folks: a bit late to this thread, I also want to wish the Type@Cooper program the best of luck and heartily agree that it’s about time this kind of comprehensive type education is offered on this side of the Atlantic!

For those looking for something a little lighter on the time commitment scale, due to the demand for my summer SVA CE workshop Turning Letters Into Type, I’m also scheduled to teach a semester-long version of it on Monday nights in both the Fall and Spring semesters (with more intensives planned for next summer as well, if as James M. points out there are enough students to go around). I believe the difference between my class and James’ is that mine is taught in a computer lab with TypeTool available to each student — for now, until SVA upgrades to FontLab for a more advanced version of the class — so it’s digitally hands-on as well as lecture/critique in format.

The fall class starts Sept. 20, and registration is available here.

NYC-area typophiles are suddenly spoiled for choice in 2010 — let's all hope they take advantage of it!

dezcom's picture

Sara,

You get the prize for "Best Job Title" Glyph Masseuse

Chris ;-)

.00's picture

I believe the difference between my class and James’ is that mine is taught in a computer lab with TypeTool available to each student

There is that difference, the other difference is your course costs almost than twice as much as my course.

.00's picture

So this is the thing that doesn't make sense to me.

Sara's course is being offered in a computer lab with access to TypeTool for $900 for the 12 week semester.

My course is being offered in a classroom for $470 for a 12 week semester.

Given that most design students probably have access to a laptop, a student could by TypeTool for $99 and put it on their laptop and bring it to class, and save a whole bunch of money.

SVA is charging an additional $430 for computer access to TypeTool. Really?

Smoke'em if you got'em.

Sara Soskolne's picture

Chris: it has been so long since I entered that I had completely forgotten about it!

James: agreed, I asked SVA about this as soon as I saw the disparity in fees assuming it was an error, but apparently that's how they price these things. I wasn't even aware there was another type design class being offered simultaneously with mine until I saw this thread, so I guess they're not too concerned about either the potential redundancy or the price difference. Institutions do work in mysterious ways, it seems...

blank's picture

I think this is an excellent example of how much more cost-effective it is for students to have their own computers than for schools to set up labs.

dezcom's picture

"this is an excellent example of how much more cost-effective it is for students to have their own computers than for schools to set up labs."

Or an example of how desperate schools are to get more income.

blank's picture

Or an example of how desperate schools are to get more income.

Computer labs are money pits for schools. The costs of space, hardware, software, printers, toner, networking, cooling, staff, etc. get really ridiculous in schools, especially when vandalism and theft get factored in. They’d probably do much better by just demanding that all students provide their own.

dezcom's picture

Taking 2 computer lab included courses at CU would pay for the cost of a laptop.

.00's picture

All Continuing Ed programs are essentially about making money. SVA books two type design classes hope one or both will fill. If they don't fill, no sweat, the class is cancelled and they try again next semester.

Cooper creates a Certificate Program to bolster its bottom line. Make sense for a university that doesn't charge tuition for its undergraduate program to generate some revenue somewhere. At least that is how it was explained to me when I sat in on meetings when Cooper approached the TDC to get involved.

blank's picture

All Continuing Ed programs are essentially about making money.

I get that—I’m just pointing out that charging more for the computer lab doesn’t mean that the class is any more profitable!

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> They’d probably do much better by just demanding that all students provide their own.

Admittedly, that can work in the United States, where the students (or the parents) can afford it. But not every school in the world can demand to their students to buy a laptop. And we must not forget that it is not only about buying the computer, but about licensing the required software. But, on the other hand, I see your point and I agree: it is not efficient for the university to provide computers for the students that can have (and actually have) their own laptops.

dezcom's picture

In many colleges in the USA, laptops are required just like text books--and this is for all majors. There is a sort of quiet, behind-the-scenes thing that happens where students who show a great financial need, are given loaners by either the school or charitable minded corporate sponsors. I remember, what seemed to me to be an incredible financial burden in 1962, when I had to come up with the money to buy a Yashica-D for a freshman photography class at CMU. At least I was not in engineering where they not only had to buy a slide rule but books of log tables.

Thomas Phinney's picture

"Admittedly, that can work in the United States, where the students (or the parents) can afford it. But not every school in the world can demand to their students to buy a laptop. And we must not forget that it is not only about buying the computer, but about licensing the required software."

Thing is, the price difference is $430. Cost for a basic but functional Windows laptop with 4 GB of RAM: $400. TypeTool is $100. Total, $500. So, it's hard to justify the course-in-the-lab pricing from a student perspective, really. (Not that I'm denying all the expenses the school has in running the lab, which add up.)

Cheers,

T

cdiedwardo's picture

>Computer labs are money pits for schools. The costs of space, hardware, software, printers, toner, networking, cooling, staff...

This is quite accurate. There is a trade off of luxury and efficiency vs. cost effectiveness.

Running a type design class in a computer lab allows students to scan and print and to use other applications to test a font in a layout), reliable access the Internet, and file sharing. Access to networked printers allows students to inspect their work on high quality print outs quickly and throughout class time and to get ready for critiques on the fly. Of course, there is a cost for this luxury.

Obviously, many serious design students already own a laptop and if money is an issue would better spend those funds on a laptop and legal licensing of software so they can obsess over BCPs at home.

For Type@Cooper, we're doing something in-between...we'll have dedicated equipment and AV support without the full lab environment.

dezcom's picture

Good thinking, Cara. There was no better learning environment than when your whole class was working at night on an assignment and you could interact with each other. Today, with all the isolation, there is not enough peer interaction.

cdiedwardo's picture

Ken Barber's "The Drawn Letter" elective workshop is going to be repeated on November 6th and 7th and places are available for anyone outside the program to sign up. Ken has graciously agreed to come back to do a repeat performance in November since so many people expressed interest in the October dates. This workshop will be some mix of hand drawing and digitizing (optional).

"This workshop will investigate recent historical approaches to lettering, in addition to exploring various production techniques. Participants will refer to familiar typographic models and helpful specimens as they create their own hand-drawn wordmarks"

For a full course description look at coopertype.org. To register you can go to http://cooperunion.augusoft.net/index.cfm?method=ClassListing.ClassListi... or call the Continuing Education office if you're a TDC member to get your 20% discount: (212) 353-4195

The lecture series begins on October 18th at 6:30 pm in the Rose Auditorium in the New Academic Building at 41 Cooper Square.
Stephen Saxe will talk about design and production of 19th Century American Type. You can register online or by phone.

cdiedwardo's picture

Monday, November 1st Mike Daines will give a lecture called "Type Design and Production, the Revolutionary Years" at 6:30 pm in the Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square. For full description: http://coopertype.org/curriculum/

Mike Daines is founder of Baseline magazine, Applied Graphics Limited, he co-founded Applied Arabic, an Arabic type design licensing company, and The Foundry, an early digital typefoundry.

Register to attend at 212-353-4195. This event is open to the general public.

Hannes Famira's picture

@Cara, thanks for keeping this thread updated. I really wish I lived closer. So many of these lectures sound super interesting!

Hannes Famira's picture

I just published a blog post about my awesome summer in the Type@Cooper Condensed certificate program at the Cooper Union in New York City http://www.kombinat-typefounders.com/store/news/article/cooperType_condensed_2012

Kevin Paolozzi's picture

Hannes – it was a pleasure studying along side you for the duration of the course. It was both captivating and a privilege to have access into your wisdom. Definitely a fine group of people with diverse backgrounds for this past summer's condensed program.

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