Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design - learn more

Online Basic Typography Course

Typography I

Typography is what sets designers apart from other artists. In visual communication, typography must be integrated (every last loop, bowl, and descender) into a total design. In this online basic typography course, you'll explore the anatomy of the letterform. Working with a design pro, you'll learn how to classify typefaces and use them creatively. Understanding the fundamentals of typography will give your work power, eloquence, and beauty.

Basic typography course image 

Typography studies by student Marie Roy, Italy

Learn the fundamentals of letterforms and typefaces

Instructor-Led Course

Feedback from design professionals

Creative Projects

Stretch your skills, grow your portfolio

Learn at Your Own Pace

Self-paced and scheduled programs available

Course Outline

1 - The Language of the Letterform

Did you know that letters have shoulders, arms, and ears? In Lesson One, you'll jump right into the fundamentals, looking at the historical origins of typography and learning to identify the component parts of letterforms. You'll explore the applications of typography through case studies on two professional typographers: one designs type, and the other designs with type. You'll also look at contemporary typefaces and their uses.

Project - Type Research

2 - Type Classification

Lesson Two embarks on a trip through the 12 ATypI categories of typeface. Serif or sans serif? Venetian or Glyphic? You'll learn how to identify a typeface by its defining characteristics, and choose the right "face" for your project.

Project - Page design

3 - Quirky and Loving It

Lesson Three explores the theatrical aspect of the display typography used in posters, advertisements, and online. You'll take a look at the emotion, drama, or whimsy a display typeface can bring to a project, looking at the work of leading designers over the years.

Project - Famous type

Course Outcomes

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Develop an understanding of the basic terminology of typography and the historical origins of typographical terms and concepts.
  • Identify classic and contemporary typefaces and their use by modern designers.
  • Analyze a letterform, identifying its distinctive features and anatomical elements.
  • Develop a basic proficiency in identifying and classifying type by looking for the main features in a typeface.
  • Identify the 12 ATypI categories of typeface by their characteristic elements.
  • Use type categories and characteristics to select typefaces and structure text on a page.
  • Select and manipulate type to depict a concept or mood.
  • Develop an understanding of the applications of display typography and expressive applications of typography in print and on screen.
  • Create a type composition that represents a theme typographically.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled and self-paced enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree or certificate program.

Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTuition
Degree course
1.5-credit course, 7 weeks
Jan, Apr, Aug$200$510/credit
Vocational course
30 hour course, 3 months access
Enroll today, start tomorrow$50$619
* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content.

Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop or equivalent programs.
  • Basic experience in the above software.
  • Basic drawing materials (pencil, paper) and ability to scan or photograph sketches.

Who’s Teaching

Course developed by Brian Slawson

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.

Chat with our knowledgeable admissions staff to select course and program options.

Complete your registration entirely online.

Related Programs

Did you know? You can take this course as part of an award-winning certificate or degree program.