Type 1 Syllabus — Fall 2023

Tue / Thu 10:55–1:25 pm
Room: FA320

Becca Lofchie
Email: rlofchi@calstatela.edu
Pronouns: she, her

Office Hour
10:15–10:45 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays
In room FA 357
If you want to meet at a different time just email me!

About this class
This class is an introduction to Typography. We will approach the topic from multiple directions:
history and precedents
methods and standards
tools and making
By the end of the course, you should be able to use typography with craft,
control, coherence and clear intent.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
• Select appropriate type for a project and clearly articulate the rationale
• Properly compose display and text type for optimal legibility
• Use type expressively to convey an idea
• Manipulate typographic hierarchy with ease
• Develop typographic design sketches that clearly communicate intention
• Present concepts and finished work in a professional manner
• Articulate the historical foundations of typography
• Use correct terminology in reference to all aspects of typographic design
• Identify and classify commonly used typefaces, according to historical period and by contemporary usage

This class meets in-person, face-to-face. There is no substitution for your physical presence. Instruction, workshops and critiques will all happen during class time.

As with all things in life, the more you put into this class the more you will get out of it. Furthermore, the more you put into this class the more your classmates will get out of it.

There will be an attendance sheet for every class. Please sign-in and put the time of your arrival. Do not sign on behalf of anyone else.

You are allowed three absences before your attendance begins to negatively impact your grade. Regular tardiness will also impact your grade.

If you are going to be absent for any reason please let me know. I do not
distinguish between excused and unexcused absence. You do not need to share the reason for your absence with me. A simple “I will be missing class today,” is sufficient.

If you are late or miss a class, your are responsible for finding out what material you missed. You can speak to your classmates or to me, or come to my office hour.

1. Do the assignments and the readings on time
2. Carefully consider and fulfill the stated goals of each assignment
3. Attend class. Show up on time and stay for the duration.
4. Participate generously and courteously in class discussions and critiques
5. Ask questions when you have them, and sign-up for office hours
6. Look at design online and in books even when not explicitly assigned
7. Give feedback to your classmates with kindness and tact. Receive feedback with gratitude and openness


Please let us know any accommodations you have in the first week of the semester so we can plan for whatever comes up. In addition to official accommodations, we realize that things come up in all of our lives. If you are experiencing difficulties of any kind with getting the work done, coming to class on time, collaborating with your colleagues, or attending class, please let me know sooner rather than later so I can help ensure you are able to get as much out of the class as you can.

I’m not your parent or your prison guard! My job is to help you learn regardless of your circumstances.

You are graded on completion of the assignments. If you complete all the
assignments and show up to class on time you will get an A. The grading policy is meant to encourage experimentation and risk taking.

School is the time to step into the unknown, make things that might fail,
and try things you have never tried before. If you like everything you make this semester, you probably aren’t pushing yourself hard enough.

If I think you have missed too many classes or if I consider an assignment incomplete, I will email you and let you know. You will then have another opportunity to complete the assignment. Conversely, if you do not hear from me, you can assume your assignments are complete and thus you are on track to get an A in the course.

Getting the most out of Class
Grades are a great motivator for some, but not everyone. The reality is, if you work as a designer after you graduate, no one will ever look at your grades. What’s important is the WORK, and not just the final product, but how you get there. We’re going to talk a lot in this class about design process, but the key is making stuff, tons of it. That’s true regardless of how much natural talent you come into this class with. It’s true of the designers who have been working professionally for many years, and the one’s you read about design history, and the one’s you follow on Instagram.

There will be times in this class when you ask yourself, why are we being asked to make 2 or 10 or 50 versions of something when we could just make 1? And the answer is because, that’s what designing looks like! We usually only see the final product, not all the drafts and false starts—but it’s all that other unseen stuff that makes the final outcome what it is.

An important think you’re learn in the class is how to work fast, how to share work that isn’t perfect, and how to push the limits of your ability and taste.

Required Technology and Materials
Macintosh Laptop Computer (This is a department requirement and something you will need as a designer). Specifically you will need a laptop that you can bring to class with an up-to date Adobe Creative Cloud, specifically Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Affordable subscriptions to Creative Cloud are available through your CalState LA dashboard.

If you do not currently have access to a laptop, you can borrow one from the department. If you have not done so already, must please take care of this in the first week or you risk following behind. If you have / prefer a PC and have one with Adobe on it, you are welcome to use it, but please be aware that my familiarity is with Mac, and that is how I will be doing demos, and it will be your responsibility to make the translation between platforms. Also be aware that there is certain software, not so much for this class, but for Type 3 that only runs on Mac (e.g. Glyphs). 

Digital Camera and a way to get photos from it to your computer (phone camera is fine). Make sure to set your camera up so that it is taking photos as jpegs, (Not HEIC or multi-burst) and that you are able to easily transfer photos to your computer so that you can work on them.

External Hard Drive (or cloud storage) to back up your work. Always keep at least one up-to-date backup of your work (and ideally of your entire computer hard drive).

Access to a printer. Most projects in this class will require printed deliverables. There are printers on campus in the library that you can use, or you can go to a place like Staples or a local print shop. If you don’t already have one, I recommend investing in an inexpensive laser printer like the Brother HL-L2350DW. You can find them for around $120 (for a refurb) to $150 for a new one. As a designer, this is something you’ll use for years to come, in this class and beyond. It prints black and white only and 8.5 x 11in. max size, but you can tile larger things. We won’t be doing a lot of color printing in this class, and in my experience it’s not necessary or economical to own a color printer.

A way to trim printed work: Either a paper cutter, or a straightedge + X-Acto blade + cutting mat. If you are using a straightedge to trim work, I recommend investing in one with a non-slip bottom or a safety edge. You will also need working writing utensils, a sketchbook and a ruler.

We will communicate outside of class using email and Canvas. If you have questions about homework or how to do something, please post your question to the class’s Canvas Discussion. If you know the answer to a classmate's question, feel free to answer it! Often you all will be working on homework after I've logged off for the day. If you have a personal question you can email me! rlofchi@calstatela.edu

It’s impossible to learn how to write without first learning how to read. And you cannot sing without ever having heard a song. Likewise, to become a designer you have to look at design (a lot of it!). I will be sharing many online resources. I recommend using Pinterest or Instagram to look at and save things.

You are expected to supplement what I show you in class with the plentiful free and cheap tutorials online. Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning and Youtube all have tons of high-quality material that will allow you to go deeper on your own time. I am always available to answer questions, but I recommend asking Google first!

There can be a thin line between plagiary and inspiration. Ideas don’t come out of thin air, and it is inevitable that you will pull from what already exists. If you are not sure which side of the line you are on, share your influences and inspiration with me and with the class. Similarly, if you use an AI-generator for any of your work, please share that information with me.

If you are forced to isolate or miss class for an extended period of time, you will automatically get extensions on whatever projects we’re working on. If you need additional accommodations just let me know.

About your instructor
I am a graphic designer and artist specializing in book design. I discovered graphic design through my art practice. After undergrad I worked for a couple design studios and as a freelance designer, learning on the job. After 7 years I went back to school to get my MFA at CalArts. Since graduating I’ve taught design at a number of schools, including CalArts, OTIS, Pomona College and Cal State Long Beach.

When I’m not teaching I run a design studio. You can see a lot of my work here: beccalofchie.com