Practica

Learn type design,
together.

Applications for the Spring 2022 edition are closed.

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Immerse yourself in the world of type design while surrounded by the support of industry professionals and a community of like-minded typophiles. Practica’s 14-week, live, online program is for designers who already have the beginnings of a typeface but want to build it out into a multiweight family. Students will work towards creating two compatible masters that are ready to interpolate into a larger family.

As our name suggests, we’re focused on the practical side of type design. Our mission is to help students learn the fundamental principles of drawing typefaces, realize their ideas efficiently, and submerse themselves in the craft of typeface design. But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring theory. A well-built typeface is only that. How do we make a typeface sing (a feat by any measure)? How do we make it useful, and how are typefaces connected to the cultures from which they rise?

Through lectures, feedback sessions, and Q&A sessions, we’ll explore these topics and dive into type design as a living, evolving discipline. By the end, you’ll be ready to tackle more complex projects with more confidence, and will have a better understanding of contemporary type design practice.

Testimonials

Practica’s constructive environment truly champions practical learning and experimentation for type designers of all backgrounds. Through a welcoming community of peers, visiting type designers, and industry experts, your design lens will be opened to new perspectives and ways of learning. Thank you Nicole and Sol!

Andrew Bogard, Graphic designer

Being part of the Practica Program was an amazing experience and a perfect complement to my type design education. I’ve learned a lot with the superb instructors Nicole and Sol, that are generous in sharing their knowledge. We also had a great team of visiting lecturers that were carefully chosen and made this experience unique.

Filipe Negrão, Graphic designer and professor

I joined Practica being a display font addict. I came out just as addicted but able to handle a text version‚ and a system, and more than one style. And on top of that: I learned how to cry, drink wine, and break everything I draw while keeping my masters compatible 💅

Fer Cozzi, Type designer

Nicole and Sol are incredible teachers, leading thoughtful and engaging lectures as well as honest and valuable critiques. They are kind and you can tell they want to see everyone succeed. The group of visiting experts are top-notch type thinkers that opened the door to their process and work in an intimate way. But best of all was the cohort of fellow type designers who came to learn from this circle of experts. I really enjoyed the course, learned a ton, and improved my sense of typography, drafting, tools, and process. Thank you Nicole and Sol!

Mike Swartz, Creative director

Topics

  • Evaluating typefaces using objective and subjective standards.
  • Discovering how function and use impact design decisions.
  • Understanding the type design palette.
  • Structuring multiweight families.
  • Creating new weights or styles through interpolation.
  • Developing a more efficient type design process.
  • Expanding character sets and designing diacritics.
  • Keeping yourself motivated throughout development.
  • Gaining control over your glyphs’ Bézier curves and cleaning up your font files.

Structure & Schedule

Classes are held twice a week. Tuesdays will be primarily group or one-on-one feedback sessions with a few hands-on workshops in the beginning. Lectures will be held on Thursdays along with three open sessions — two Q&A and one student-organized class.

The Q&A session is a flexible class for students to ask questions or for instructors to give short presentations on topics of interest to students but not covered elsewhere. In the previous editions, we discussed font export tools and strategies, variable fonts, licensing and starting your own foundry, structuring client-driven projects, coding OpenType features, working with reference material and old specimens, and more.

The final Thursday session will be organized by the students with support from the lead instructors. As a group, students will decide the topic for that class and arrange speakers (the last edition chose to have a visiting lecturer discuss italics). A budget will be provided to pay any speaker(s) if needed.

Tuesdays / 6 — 8:30pm GMT * Thursdays / 6 — 7:30pm GMT *
Feb 24 Intro/Lecture
Mar 1/3 Project introductions Lecture
March 8/10 Feedback session Lecture
March 15/17 Feedback session Lecture
March 22/24 Feedback session Lecture
March 29/31 File review Case study v
April 5/7 Feedback session Q&A session
April 12/14 No class No class
April 19/21 Feedback session Lecture
April 26/28 Feedback session Lecture v
May 3/4 Feedback session v Lecture
May 10/12 Feedback session Q&A session
May 17/19 Feedback session Lecture v
May 24/26 Feedback session v Lecture v
May 31/Jun 2 Feedback session Student-organized session
Jun 7 Final presentation
v Indicates visiting lecturer or critic.
* 10a San Francisco / 12pm Chicago / 3pm Buenos Aires / 7pm Berlin / Convert
Please note that Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins in March. We always base the start of class on 12pm Chicago time, but your start time may change when America enters DST or based on your country’s DST practices.
The schedule is subject to modifications.

All sessions are held live via Zoom. For those unable to attend in real time, lectures will be recorded. The feedback sessions, on the other hand, must be attended live in order to benefit fully from them. This gives you some flexibility to work the program into your own schedule, but also the opportunity to connect with fellow students.

Lastly, lead instructors will be available to meet with students outside of class for those needing one-on-one support. There are more than fifty-five course hours for the entire program, not including office hours.

Check out the FAQ page for answers to questions you may have.

Instructors

Nicole Dotin

Lead Instructor
Process Type Foundry

Sol Matas

Lead Instructor
Hungry Type Society

Thierry Blancpain

Visiting Lecturer
Grilli Type

Minjoo Ham

Visiting Lecturer
Hypertype

Cyrus Highsmith

Visiting Critic
Occupant Fonts

Aleksandra Samuļenkova

Visiting Lecturer
Type Designer

Sara Soskolne

Visiting Lecturer
Hoefler & Co

What’s included

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