An Innovative New Way To Dig Deeper Into The Study Of Type Design | The Practica Program

Whilst there are a growing number of online type design courses at the fingertips of young designers, many of these courses don’t extend the study of type design beyond introductory level. Luckily, the talented folks over at Practica (@practicatype) have spotted a gap in the market. The type designers behind this woman-owned business, Nicole Dotin (Process Type Foundry) and Sol Matas (Hungry Type Society), have developed an incredible, fully online type design program which will see students beginning with a typeface they’ve already started, developing and refining it, and eventually expanding it into a larger family… Practica students will not only be able to leave with a developed multi-weight family, but will also form meaningful connections with creative peers whilst experiencing a transformative new space in the study of type design.

The Practica Program will take shape as a 14-week online course starting in January 2021, taking place via live sessions on Zoom. The program aims to take – as the name suggests – a practical approach to the in-depth study of type design. Through lectures and feedback sessions, students will explore topics such as working efficiently in Glyphs; structuring multi-weight families; expanding character sets and designing diacritics; exploring the business side of type design like licensing, distribution and career paths; and so much more. ‘At the end of the program, students will have a two-master typeface that is ready to interpolate into a full typeface family’, Practica add. 

Critique of Pulque Typeface by Karla Pasten on the October 30, 2020 Alphacrit held as a part of the ATypI 2020 All Over conference exploring the study of type design.
Typeface is Pulque by Karla Pasten.
Critiqued by Alice Savoie and Roxane Gataud during the October 30 2020 Alphacrit, held as a part of the ATypI 2020 All Over conference. Nicole Dotin and Sol Matas organized and hosted this Alphacrit.

‘Our mission is to help students learn the fundamental principles of drawing typefaces, realise their ideas efficiently, and create technically sound fonts. 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 a typeface useful, and how can research and theory inform our work?’ 

Critique of Consti typeface by Guillermo González at the October 30, 2020 Alphacrit, held as a part of the ATypI 2020 All Over conference exploring the study of type design.
Typeface is Consti by Guillermo González.
Critiqued by Alice Savoie and Roxane Gataud during the October 30, 2020 Alphacrit, held as a part of the ATypI 2020 All Over conference. Nicole Dotin and Sol Matas organized and hosted this Alphacrit.

Students on the program will benefit from a talented pool of professional type designers who will offer their perspectives, constructive criticism and feedback. The course is led by Practica founders Nicole Dotin and Sol Matas, and visiting instructors include Maria Doreuli (Contrast Foundry), Bas Jacobs (Underware), David Jonathan Ross (DJR), Aleksandra Samuļenkova (Type Designer), Alice Savoie (Researcher and Type Designer), Rainer Eric Scheichelbauer (Glyphs), and Sara Soskolne (Hoefler & Co). The course leaders will also be setting aside time each week for one-to-one feedback sessions.

Typeface is Aidé by Fer Cozzi.
Sara Solkolne is giving her feedback during the April 4, 2020 Alphacrit via Zoom. Sol Matas hosted this session.
Typeface is Aidé by Fer Cozzi.
Sara Solkolne is giving her feedback during the April 4, 2020 Alphacrit via Zoom. Sol Matas hosted this session.

The fees for Practica’s extensive program will be set on a sliding scale which operates on an honour system, meaning students will be deciding which price tier they can afford. ‘Our hope is to offer reduced tuition to some students that might otherwise take the form of something like scholarships or financial aid’, Practica expand. ‘But instead of us defining criteria that conform to our own definition of “need” (maybe we get it right, maybe we don’t), we want you, the student, to make that determination. It’s your choice, on your terms.’ This experimental, confidential, honour-based system means students who can afford it are encouraged to take up the higher tiers, in the hopes that it will make the course more accessible to those without the same resources – whilst allowing Practica’s unique educational approach to remain sustainable.

Typeface by Keya Vadgama, which was untitled at the time. Nicole Dotin is giving her feedback during the April 4, 2020 Alphacrit via Zoom. Sol Matas hosted this session.
Typeface by Keya Vadgama, which was untitled at the time. Nicole Dotin is giving her feedback during the April 4, 2020 Alphacrit via Zoom. Sol Matas hosted this session.

All sessions will be held in English and lectures will be recorded, meaning they will be accessible at any time. The application deadline is the 7th of December 2020, and the program will begin on the 19th of January 2021… The Practica Program offers such a valuable deep-dive into the practical, useful study of type design and offers a unique opportunity to connect with creatives in similar stages of development – all alongside gaining support from talented, highly skilled professionals from the type design industry. To find out more about the program and how to apply, get in touch with Practica

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