thinking with type
letter text  


This site was designed as a classroom companion to the book Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, and Students. The site summarizes some of the practical information included in the book; it does not include the essays or the examples of historic and contemporary design that make up an important part of the book.

The pages were designed so that they can be projected in a classroom setting and used as the basis for lectures and demonstrations. You can click through a group of pages in sequence using the ”next topic” button, or build your own path through the material.

Ellen Lupton

This awesome game tests your knowledge of letterspacing.
> thedesignencyclopedia
Use the encyclopedia to find information, or help build the site with your students!
> typeinvadersl
Another game for zapping dumb quotes.
> Cooper Black / Film by Chesire Dave
Awesome short film; more to come by Mr. Dave
> Russian Avant-Garde Books
Beautiful site produced by MoMA; lets you turn pages of avant-garde books.
> Design films by Hillman Curtis
These lovingly made films are great to share with your students.
> The Art of the Title Sequence, with clips. Wow!


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Adapt this syllabus for your own courses.
> sample Type I syllabus (pdf)
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This basic overview of type history is accompanied by a print-friendly lecture notes. You can view/present the lecture in html, or download a PDF file.
> Type History Lecture (html)
> Type History Lecture (PDF)
> Type History Lecture notes (print-friendly html)
> NEW! Type History Lecture in Spanish (PDF) , contributed by Laura Meseguer
> NEW! History of the Alphabet (PDF) , created by Judy Ross

Other lectures
> Tables of Contents (sample solutions from past and present)
> see also Contents, slide show on Design Observer
> Word Lecture (PDF)

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Build your students' typographic thinking with these classic projects.
> Word project
> Text project
> Grid project
> Poster project
> NEW: Type Specimen project
> NEW: Self-Published Calendar Project

Challenge and amuse your students with these quizzes and activities.
> Design Literacy: The Game Show (PowerPoint)
(Teachers: e-mail Ellen if you want a version with the answers.)
> Typography Quiz (pdf, contributed by Marian Bantjes)
(Teachers: e-mail Ellen if you want a version with the answers.)

I've been adding these PDFs to the site to facilitate classroom discussion. Print them out for your students, or show them on screen. I find these documents useful because I can enlarge them on screen, unlike the html Web pages.
> Type Families PDF
> Writing with Scala PDF (sample type specimen)
> Alignment PDF (justified, flush left, flush right, centered)
NY Times PDF (all manners of alignment on a single page)
> Caps and Numerals PDF (small caps and numerals in context)
> In Praise of Minor Differences: Portrait of Three Garamonds

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Desk copies are available for educators from
> Order book from Princeton Architectural press