This two-year study program, initiated in 1992, offers an applied arts degree specializing in typography. It claims its place within the functional design arena in France. Within the vast field of typography and typographic teaching, the originality of this degree program lies in this specific choice of the functional aspects of typography. “Functional”, in this case, meaning to design for use.
Far from ignoring the artistic and expressive side of contemporary typography, the attention is brought to the role of letters as writing systems and their applications. It is seen as a writing system of signs with a formal organization which goes beyond the written word, a carrier of codes or languages within a technological or social context. It is why the students are encouraged to see writing as a design subject, in order to understand the fundamental principals of these codes which precede their use.
Students join the program after having a minimum of 2-3 years of graphic design training. The cursus is based on the marriage of 3 basic elements of typography:
Hand writing, or calligraphy
This element we consider as the sketching phase and may be seen in comparison to the production of a final image.
Typography manipulated within space, the space of a page, a three dimensional space, or more and more,
the space of time.
Typographic letter design
The drawing of letterforms or figures. Understanding these abstract forms, which together should develop a legible code.
This formal approach, is complemented by a series of courses involving semantics, history, litterature, language, drawing, printing and artistic expression and of course training for the programs and numeric languages necessary.
At the end of the two year cursus, a diploma subject is presented to an international jury of typographers and graphic designers. A great number of themes are touched, either experimental or applied to specific needs within the field of informational typography. To have a clearer idea of our direction, here are a few examples among the subjects which the students have treated in the past:
- Typeface design for specific publications (for independant publishers, multiple language documents);
- Typeface design specific to language needs or non-latin alphabets or writing systems (Greek, Cyrillic, Bambara, Creole, Hebrew, Armenian, Arabic);
- Typeface design for complex codes (mathematical languages, musical composition, choreography);
- Typeface design and applied typography, (telephone directories, cartography);
- Interface applications (website design, flight control screens);
- Sign systems for complex networks (public transport, maps and signs).