Spring 2022 ︎︎︎ SUNY Purchase College ︎︎︎ (DES3440) Typographic Investigations

Project: Make a dang font
(Rite Quick)


This class will be a mix of a bunch of things, re-contextualizing your existing skills and knowledge, learning new technology, and applying that technological knowledge to a new domain. That’s complex, so in the interest of demystifying it let’s try to separate some stuff out and go a little quickly. Also people never learn the programs and sometimes just do the final project in Illustrator and copypasta it into another program and that’s kind of lame.

All you gotta do is go in your program (Glyphs mini or FontForge), make the letters A-Z in a case of your choice, export it, show all the letters and write a pangram.


    • Gain familiarity with and demystify a new program (whichever one is relevant to your OS).
    • Get the sensation of making a whole font
    • Separate the technological from the technical and conceptual.

Final submission

    • An .OTF font file
    • An 11 in. x 17 in. .PDF (printed for class) “specimen” showing all letters A-Z in the case of your choice.
    • An 11 in. x 17in. .PDF (printed for class) showing a pangram of your choice


    • Your specimen must show all letters that you’ve created (at least A-Z in upper or lower case)

Grading Rubric

This assignment is pass/fail; meaning you will get 100/A+ if you simply follow the requirements above. You will lose points (10 points or one full letter grade), if it is uploaded late, and an additional 10 points per week it is late.


    • Time ︎︎︎ I would not rush this and have a keen awareness of your relationship to the time it takes to complete letters and the whole alphabet and how long you thought it would take initially. This is basically a microcosm of the final project, so keep that in mind. 
    • Address spacing ︎︎︎If you don’t get to, or don’t fully understand how adjusting the sidebearings works, at the very, very, utter least, adjust the kerning on the pangram you create.
    • Readability is still a thing ︎︎︎If you have an itch to do something freaky we’ll have time for that but you know, make the letters readable.
    • Copypasta with care ︎︎︎You may notice from intuition or experience as you’re doing this that many letters share similar shapes. Copying parts of letters is fine and a part of type design. There are generally “traditional” or “preferred” groups of letters that share shapes but for now do what works for the letters you make. This LinkedIn Learning tutorial is good at showing how robust a small group of shapes can become.
    • Don’t work alphabetically ︎︎︎ Depending on the letters you want to draw, start with say, letters that are mostly straight, letters that are mostly angled, letters that are mostly round, etc. 
    • Have an idea ︎︎︎Have a place that you start, evening if it isn’t fully fleshed out. This LinkedIn Learning course does a good job at showing how to start from a source (his child’s handwriting) and turning that into a more discrete, defined system of letters.

Relevant Dates

    • 02/01/2022 ︎︎︎Introduction!

    • 02/08/2022 ︎︎︎Review