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Type West at Letterform Archive

Established in 2015, Letterform Archive is a San Francisco nonprofit center for inspiration, education, and community. As a library and museum, we preserve over 100,000 artifacts of calligraphy, lettering, typography, and graphic design, and provide radical access to the collection through exhibitions, publications, hands-on tours, and the Online Archive.

About Type West

Type West is an educational program offered by Letterform Archive consisting of a Postgraduate Certificate Program in Type Design, public workshops in letter arts, and a free lecture series. Learn more.

Thank You from the In-Person Cohort

Dear Type West Post Baccalaureate Program,

The Type West In-Person Class of 2023 wants to express our utmost gratitude for the transformative and unique experience provided by the Letterform Archive. This immersive program not only amplified our understanding of typography but also kindled a scholarly fondness for the art involved in creating type. We delved deep into the intricacies and techniques of type design and the essential significance of our extensive type history.

The seasoned teachers quickly became not just mentors, but friends who wanted nothing more than to see us unconditionally succeed. Firstly, a huge thanks to Grendl Löfkvist for sharing her extensive wealth of knowledge of type history and always with such exuberance, helping to steady our shaky hands when using nibs, and for showing us the beauty in blacklettering, Grendl’s absolute fave. An enormous thank you to Maria Doreuli, our type captain. Her commitment to nurturing a spirited learning environment that equipped us with effective skills and know-how but has also gifted wonder and creativity. It has been such an honor to have studied under Maria. Rod Cavazos in the first semester always offered incredible feedback with a smile that reassured us we were, in fact, progressing. Thanks to Christoper Slye for both term two and three who always offered up impeccable feedback and was there tapping our shoulders a bit from behind to steer us back in the proper direction. And Lucas Sharp in term three, with his outwardly relaxed approach to type design paired with an acute proficiency. And to Rob Saunders and Stephen Coles for stepping in when needed and really digging deep into the archives. The countless resources that not only exposed us to creative context and diverse perspectives, but to put it plainly, some really cool stuff.

The hands-on experiences from the workshop guest instructors became its own entity at times. From what seemed to be branching off from our normal trajectory of type history and design to painting blindly using a crude, self-constructed soda can shiv with Cyrus Highsmith — how incredibly enlightening. Or the practical approach of carving letterforms out of stone with chisels and mallets under the supervision of famed stone carver and letterer (plus all around awesome guy), Nick Benson. Or throwing so many questions about kerning, python scripting, and vertical metrics at Colin Ford on a weekend it seemed like he was performing on a game show. And a huge thanks to Aleksandra Samuļenkova for sharing the importance of proper diacritics as an invaluable stepping stone in our future type design endeavors.

And special thanks to our amazing TAs, Zofia Bugajewska, Ryan Farola, and Habib Placencia Adissi, who were continually available to offer up help or advice and beaming with the knowledge we needed. They always treated us as equals and were incredibly eager to share their own experiences with us when they were students of Type West. At times of doubt their enthusiasm always reassured us as to why we were doing all of this.

As students we learned how to give a collaborative pat on each other’s back during the highs, and to graciously offer unbiased counsel during our creative lows. Those qualities alone struck a perfect balance of comradery. We not only absorbed new practical skills but opened up our horizons just a bit more. We became a vibrant community with team spirit. We became Type Designers, together.

In conclusion, we are honored for this exceptional experience. The program’s emphasis on both tradition and innovation are unparalleled. We carry forth the knowledge and enthusiasm acquired from Type West.


Type West In-Person 2023

Thank You from the Online Cohort

Throughout 2023, students from various countries came together in front of their screens for a deep dive into the realm of type design. The year brought about new friends, a journey of learning, and collaboration, and the privilege of gaining insights from exceptionally talented designers who willingly shared their wealth of knowledge.

Big thanks to our family, friends and pets who supported us throughout the whole year of learning type. We love you!

Thanks to Letterform Archive and its staff for creating this program and helping us navigate this year. The Archive’s wealth of resources allowed us to benefit even from a distance, and we were in awe of every show-and-tell and special find in the archive’s online collection.

The diverse workshops led by Aline Kaori, Rob Saunders, Anna Khorash, Cyrus Highsmith, Colin M. Ford, and Aleksandra Samuļenkova were fantastic additions to our learning experience and truly outstanding. We were regularly exposed to so much incredible knowledge, skill and specialized topics that we couldn’t have tapped into otherwise. We are truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from such exceptionally talented designers who generously shared everything with us and answered all our questions beyond class.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to our type history teachers: Ewan Clayton, Briar Levit, and Kamal Mansour. The way they approached history with thoughtfulness and passion sparked our eagerness to learn more, equipping us to weave this knowledge into our projects.

A big thank you to our TAs throughout all terms: Estefanía Leyva, Tamara Segura, Carine Vadet-Perrot, Bree Rice, and Bert Zhang. A special shoutout goes to Chris Skillern, who was with us all year.

Fer Cozzi, thank you immensely for your dedication to education and type, your time, and your energy. Your guidance during the first term, teaching us the fundamentals of type, and returning for the last term with the tough love we needed to build our families are deeply appreciated. We loved all your presentations, critiques, one-on-ones, the best office hours, and all the amazing guests you invited. We couldn’t have done this without you!

Kel Troughton, a big thank you for being there for us throughout the second term and rejoining us for the final day of term three. Your support has been invaluable, providing us guidance while we were starting with our type families. We truly appreciate the effort you put into opening our files and checking our drawings and spacing. Your enthusiasm about type has not gone unnoticed and your dedication is a testament to the community we’re now part of.

Lastly, a huge thank you to Graham Bradley. Your support, guidance, and thoughtful responses to our questions were instrumental in not just maintaining our motivation but also pushing our progress throughout the entire year. Your insights on being a professional type designer have truly made a lasting impact on us. We can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia for the story times, the conversations we had during office hours, and simply not meeting you every Monday anymore.

The online cohort of Type West 2023 wants to express heartfelt gratitude to everyone who supported us throughout the year. The type community is truly the best.

A special thanks to all the type professionals who generously provided critiques through Type Crit Crew or other connections and aren’t explicitly mentioned. Your support was generous and amazing!

Congratulations to the entire Type West Class of 2023! :’]