Introduction to Typography Course

Introduction to Typography

Typography, as an art form, has been around for centuries and, while seemingly ubiquitous to contemporary life, it plays a particularly essential role in graphic design. In this course, students are introduced to letterforms and their application in visual communication. Through the study of typography as form, and exploring visual principles affecting organization and the access of information, students are introduced to the use of the typographic grid and issues of hierarchy and legibility. Projects are informed through readings and lectures that address the historical evolution of typefaces, classification as a rational system and their application as a basis for graphic design. By focusing on the structures of voice, context and narrative, as well as the use of macro and micro typographic fundamentals, students create a portfolio of unique and meaningful expressive typographic compositions.

Students exhibit their work at Open Studios held 4–6 pm on the final day of class.

Student laptop required with the following specifications and English language software loaded: latest version MacOS (preferred) or Windows, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. Students in SIGDS courses pay for their own printing and can expect to spend $75 or more depending on the course and desired outcomes.

Course #1301
Mark Laughlin

Schedule 1
June 22–July 2, 2020
9 am–4:30 pm

Tuition $2,975
Tuition for RISD Alumni and Students $2,380

3 Credits


Mark Laughlin

Mark Laughlin is a designer with experience as former partner at Laughlin/Winkler Design, where he worked extensively in identity and brand development for established firms and dynamic startups alike, to establish story, create an imprint and guide perception. His teaching experience includes lecturer at Montserrat College of Art and The Art Institute of Boston. He currently serves as a senior critic in the Graphic Design department at Rhode Island School of Design and as a critic at Northeastern University. After receiving a BFA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth he pursued graduate studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland. Laughlin's teaching philosophy emphasizes the fundamental value of graphic language and design principles to bring clarity to communication and concept development.