ADS 560: Typographic Universe

Typographic Universe gives the Design student an introduction to the world of type design. The primary goal of the course is to practice how to think about type systematically with a focus on techniques and best practices for designing, drawing, and spacing type. The course uses Glyphs to create a series of digital studies with the final being a working font and promotional material.

Learning Outcomes:
_ Develop an understanding of the field of type design
_ Understand systematic procedures to build the design of a typeface
_ Understand aesthetic issues in the design of different glyphs
_ Understand the principles of spacing type
_ Mastery of the bezier curve(s)
_ Fluency in the Glyphs app
_ Solve design problems while working within specific limitations
_ Demonstrate independent problem solving

10 Rules for Teachers and Students by Sister Corita Kent and John Cage
Rule 1: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while.
Rule 2: General duties as a student - pull everything out of your teacher;
pull everything out of your fellow students.
Rule 3: General duties as a teacher - pull everything out of your students.
Rule 4: Consider everything an experiment.
Rule 5: Be Self Disciplined - this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them.
To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
Rule 6: Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
Rule 7: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something.
It is the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.
Rule 8: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.
Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.
Rule 10: “We are breaking all the rules, even our own rules and how do we do that?
By leaving plenty of room for X qualities.”

Helpful Hints:
Always Be Around.
Come or go to everything.
Always go to classes.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Look at movies carefully and often.
Save everything - it may come in handy later.

In order to get the most out of this class and grow as a designer, you will need to engage in the course work pro-actively with a serious attitude and a willingness to work beyond just doing what is asked. Work hard and challenge yourself, you learn by doing. Design is a very competitive profession, but it is also a very rewarding one and this course is taught with that mindset. Students are expected to work hard, every day, not just for good grades but for the growth that the work brings and the skill development that comes with it.

You will only get worthy work out of this course if you are curious, have self-initiative and dedicate time to it. What we will be doing is time consuming and time-suckling slow, sometimes frustrating and repetitive work! I hope you are ready to nerd out, be engaged, share, explore. If not please check with your advisor to find a course that is a better fit to your lifestyle.

Clear verbal skills are all important in communicating your ideas to clients and design team members. For all critiques, students are expected to come prepared to present their concepts, discuss how the form of their design supports their concept, and describe how they arrived at their ideas. Providing comment to your peers is a privilege. You will benefit from both giving and receiving feedback—you do not have to “like” another’s work, but you must provide insightful commentary in a courteous and productive manner. Students are required to turn their mobile phones to silent and refrain from surfing the web, checking or updating any social media, checking email, text messaging, etc. during class, lectures, and demos. You may use theses devices only during designated break times.

Lack of professionalism can effect lower your grade by one full letter grade.
__ attend class on time and stay throughout the whole class period
__ prepared for every class
__ participate in classroom discussions/crits
__ maintain a positive and open-minded attitude
__ demonstrate deliberate self-disciplined and timely work habits
__ progressively strive for and achieve the highest standards of quality .

For class we will use this website, slack, Google drive and zoom (when needed). Always save your pdfs as smallest size. Only the finals need to be saved at a higher resolution.

SUPPLIES (purchase anywhere you would like, Amazon, WonderFair, School Shop...)
— Sketch book or pads of paper
— Grid Paper
— Tracing paper
— Tape
— White out pen (fine a pen you will need it -- a lot)
__ Pilot Parallel Pens (optional)
— Eraser
— Scissors
__ Various sizes of black pens from fine to something like Sharpie Twin, King, Magnum, Biggie
__ 2 pencils (you can have more but at least 2)
__ triangle (can be small but 30/60/90 and 45/90 (if you only have 30/60/90 that is fine)
__ 6 inch ruler (if you have an longer one that is fine)
__ circle template (and any other ones you like)

We will be using the software Glyphs, it is in the school labs and/or you can purchase it at the student rate. Follow the directions to get the student rate.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD: the Glyphs Handbook and refer to it :)
PLEASE BOOKMARK: Glyphs tutorials

RECOMMENDED BOOKS (not required)
Designing Fonts: An introduction to Professional Type Design
Reading Letters
Type Design Theory
Designing Type
How to Create Typefaces from sketch to screen
Visual History of Type
The Anatomy of Type
Revival Type
The External Letter

It is important that you create your own imagery, or use imagery that belongs to the Public Domain, when you can’t create your own imagery make sure you attribute where you found the images -- add attribution to any Behance post you make that has imagery that you found on the internet. Do not think that just because you found it you can use it. This is not a matter of finders keepers :)

Sources for Pubic Domain Imagery (you need to take time to search)
Flickr Commons:
Bio Diversity Library:
Public Domain Review:
Library of Congress: on flikr library_of_congress/albums: or website
The New York Public Library:
The British Library:
National Archives:

maybe not copyright free but great archives:
Letterform Archive
The Peoples Archive

The first half of the semester is broken up into short directed exercises building to the creation of a full working typeface. The exercise introduces a bit of history, an approach to glyph construction, and practice in drawing correctly in the Glyphs app, they build upon each other to give you the skills needed to approach an original typeface. Each exercise or project will have a deliverable including process, pdf presentation, Glyphs file, font file, and a project overview document.

10% Lowercase: developing a system and learning glyphs: nclopdh
10% Capital Letter: construction and proportion
10% Ampersand and expand the system
15% Revival Exploration into..
15% Personality Exploration of...
25% Final Font
15% Final Promotional Material
*Please be collegial classmates and motivate each other to excellence every day. How can you help your classmate be the best designer they can be?

We are working digitally so don't be tempted to copy and paste any letters, punctuation, numbers, symbol, etc. You must draw original glyphs. Copying is not only misconduct it is illegal. Plagiarism of any kind will result in you failing the course and could result in your not graduating.

For each project Process, Product and Craft will together make up the final grade for each project.

Levels of Performance
A superior / excellent/ exceeds expectations
B very good
C satisfactory / meets expectations
D unsatisfactory / did not meet expectations
F unacceptable

To earn an "A" your process, product, and participation all have to exceed expectations. An "A" is not awarded for completing the project as asked. It is not a matter of checking off the boxes. You all can earn an "A". Earn it. Be Exceptional Every Day. If you come to class prepared and do what is asked that is the minimum expected effort which equals "satisfactory" " meets expectations" = the letter "C". Remember that a "B" is very good!

All projects and assignments are due on the date set by the instructor. Late projects will be penalized by lowering the project grade by one full letter grade for each day that it is late. After three days, late projects will no longer be accepted. Projects are due at the start of class.

Throughout the semester you are required to work a minimum of 9 hours of homework per week.

Students are required to attend class. Please be in class on time and remain for the entire period. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class period. Three late marks will equal one absence. A total of 3 absences will be allowed for any reason. On your 4th absence, your grade will drop by one full letter grade or you may be asked to withdraw from the course.

In the event of any absence, students are still responsible for obtaining all information and materials from the class period and completing all assignments on time. It is your sole responsibility to find out about any new work assigned during your absence.

If you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you should not go to any KU classroom or space. You should attend class remotely — do not go to school if you have symptoms, If you believe you have been exposed, or have been identified by health professionals as part of a contact investigation, you must isolate as directed by the CDC or KU policy.

Because of the fast-paced, project-based nature of studio curricula, absences as the result of a medical condition will count in the same way as non-medical absences. Excessive absence for any reason, as outlined in this policy, is irreparably detrimental to a student’s ability to succeed in our studio curriculum.

If any scheduled course meeting conflicts with mandated religious observance, the student must notify the instructor prior the day of the observance that the student will be absent.

Students who have a documented disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can register with the University Academic Support Center (UASC) if they would like to request accommodations. Requests for any accommodations should be filed through the UASC prior to the start of classes or very shortly thereafter. Requests for accommodations are most effective when submitted prior to beginning or immediately after beginning a class. More information regarding requests for accommodations is available at

Critique is one of the most valuable parts of formal design education. It is also one of the most difficult aspects of the design school experience. It is a collaborative activity that takes quite a bit of time to learn — both in terms of how to give feedback, and how to accept feedback. READ:

All work you hand in for this class must be made by you, over the course of this semester, exclusively for this class. All necessary and appropriate sanctions will be issued to all parties involved with plagiarizing any course work. Plagiarism is in violation of the University Senate Rules and Regulations and will not be tolerated, and may result in being disqualified from the review, failing the course, suspension from the department, or expulsion from the university.

The student conduct process exists to protect the rights of the community. The rights and privileges of the individual are components of a community. These rights are protected with vigilance equal to the enforcement of rules and procedures. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to community expectations and values the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this community.

The School of Architecture and Design Policy on Misconduct
Academic misconduct by a student shall include, but not be limited to, disruption of classes; threatening an instructor or fellow student in an academic setting; giving or receiving of unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of notebooks, themes, reports, or other assignments; knowingly misrepresenting the source of any academic work; unauthorized changing of grades; unauthorized use of university approvals or forging of signatures; falsification of research results; plagiarizing of another’s work; violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects; or otherwise acting dishonestly in research. The full policy of the School of Architecture & Design and the procedures of the Department of Design for processing allegations of academic misconduct are outlined at

If you believe you have been the target of racism or some other form of discrimination and harassment, (COVID-19 has no nationality, no ethnicity, no race, no gender) please report the incident to Institutional Opportunity & Access at or 785-864-6414. For additional support, you can also contact the Office of Diversity & Equity at or 785-864-4904.

Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and KU weapons policy. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:
— Must be under the constant control of the carrier.
— Must be out of view, concealed either on the body of the carrier, or backpack, purse, or bag that remains under the constant control of the carrier.
— Must be in a holster that covers the trigger area and secures any external hammer in an un-cocked position
— Must have the safety on, and have no round in the chamber.

Studio classes
These courses take place in spaces that will require students to leave belongings such as backpacks and purses away and unattended for the duration of class time. Students who choose to carry a concealed handgun in a purse, backpack, or bag must review and plan each day accordingly, and are responsible for making alternate arrangements as necessary. The university KU School of Architecture & Design’s lockers are not does not provide appropriate secured storage for concealed handguns.

Individuals who violate the KU weapons policy may be asked to leave campus with the weapon and may face disciplinary action under the appropriate university code of conduct.