Online Basic Typography Course

4221: Fundamentals of Typography

Learn the fundamentals of letterforms and typefaces

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.

Graphic Design | 30 hours | Next Start:
July 1, 2024
Nico Hicks type design Student work by Nico Hicks.
Visit the Student Gallery.

About This Course

Project-Based Learning

Creative and practical projects explore type research, type classification, page layout, and expressive typography.

What Skills Will I Develop?

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.
What Software and Supplies Do I 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.

Course Instructor(s)

The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course Outline

    1. The Language of the Letterform

      Did you know that letters have shoulders, arms, and ears? In the first lecture, 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.

    2. Type Classification

      This week, we will embark 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.

    3. Quirky and Loving It

      Our final lecture 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do The Courses Work?

Our Professional Certificate courses are project-based and instructor-led. In each course you’ll complete a series of lectures and projects designed to stretch your creative skills. The courses are delivered on a flexible schedule with no set-logins or Zoom meetings. You can study when you want, provided you complete your program by the assigned deadline.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our industry-leading faculty of creative professionals. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work. View our Student Gallery for featured student projects

When Can I Start?

You can enroll in this course on an individual basis or as part of a Professional Certificate program. Professional Certificate programs start every month on the first of the month. With rolling admissions, you can start as soon as you complete Orientation.

Explore Professional Certificate Programs: Graphic Design | Web Design | Multimedia | Digital Arts | Marketing Design | Fine Arts

How Do I Register?

To register for a Professional Certificate program, complete our program application. To register for this course on an individual basis, please contact our admissions team at An Admissions Advisor will contact you to setup your enrollment.

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $50
Total Course Price $669

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment.

Is Sessions College Accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).