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CCOG for ART 219B Spring 2023

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Course Number:
ART 219B
Course Title:
Hand Lettering: Special Tools
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Investigates a wide range of tools and techniques to explore several styles of hand lettering as a vehicle for artistic expression through the use of hand written text. Establishes a facility and understanding of the components of hand written scripts with a focus on unusual tools as the basis for creating letters. Recommended: (RD 115 and WR 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Evaluate hand lettering as a fine and graphic art using a basic vocabulary.
  • Communicate in critical conversations about the aesthetics of hand lettering, calligraphy and graphic design with an awareness of some of the cultural, social, technological and historical contexts in which hand lettering was developed.
  • Solve aesthetic and material problems to create works of hand lettering art that demonstrate a basic level of skill in scripts, layout and design with particular emphasis on tools and techniques.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Course Activities and Design

  • Classes will include lecture, demonstrations, videos, class projects, homework and a final project.
  • Explore multiple lettering styles using a variety of unique writing tools, some of which will be made by the student in class.
  •  Final projects will incorporate a variety of media, substrate and tool-oriented lettering styles.
  •  Class work and final project will provide direct somatic experience of typography to broaden students' understanding of lettering beyond computer technology.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in, and contribute to, class discussions and studio work sessions.
  • Develop conceptual ideas relating to hand lettering through the practice of creative research into tool choices and their application in finished works.
  • Write short paper(s) to address aspects of hand lettering form in terms of content, tool choice, self-assessment of work, self-reflection and critical responses.
  • The above are assessed on the basis of clarity of visual or written thought and ability to demonstrate basic understanding of how hand lettering and tool choices create meaning.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • The value of design in art-making
  • Relationship of tool choice to content


  • Layout/design strategies
  • Text and visual composition/comprehension
  • Unique properties of various scripts


  • Craft and expression
  • Personal expression and clarity
  •  Functions of different letterforms as content


  •  Use of a variety of traditional and non-traditional lettering tools and techniques
  • Recognize and demonstrate well-formed letters
  • Apply basic vocabulary for critical thinking and self-assessment
  • Discriminate between various writing styles and their application to content