Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
GD 114
Course Title:
Introductory Typography
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the letterform as a design element. Focuses on using typography as the primary visual in graphic design exploration. Includes font classification, composition, vocabulary and production techniques. Emphasizes hand-rendered techniques. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores.

Addendum to Course Description

A grade of a "B" or better is required for placement into the second year of the program.

Intended Outcomes for the course

 Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Utilize the form of the letter as a design element in professional layouts.
  • Alter existing letterforms to create original design for unique client solutions.
  • Use defining characteristics of various typefaces to appropriately communicate a client€™s message.
  • Apply typographic vocabulary when discussing, analyzing or presenting graphic design layouts.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Design and produce layouts using specific typographic concepts and techniques.
History of typography quiz.
Letter parts terminology quiz.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Typographic Design

Type Alteration
Hierarchy and Eyeflow

Non-digital exploration
Design process
Typographic vocabulary


  • Use the design process: thumbs, roughs and comprehensives.
  • Work with type as a design element.
  • Select appropriate type styles.
  • Use correct typographic terminology.
  • Find opportunities for letter form alteration.
  • Precisely sketch, render and ink.
  • Use the copy machine as a design tool.
  • Work with rulers, templates and French curves.
  • Create accurate layouts, including bleeds.
  • Pay attention to minute details.
  • Present designs to a group.