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Typography Fundamentals


Typography Fundamentals


Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Select the best typefaces for your design
  • Work efficiently with OpenType
  • Think and approach projects like a type designer
  • Identify and remedy common type crimes


Typography is an essential element of design: it should communicate your message effectively, and with purpose. Yet, even professional graphic designers can lack the “eye” and deeper understanding of type aesthetics.

In Typography Fundamentals, author, educator, and expert Ilene Strizver teaches you how to take full advantage of the power of type. You’ll learn not only the fundamentals of typographic design, but also how to “see” type through new eyes - all to make more sophisticated type choices that will open doors and set your work apart.

With your enrollment in Ilene’s class, you’ll also receive access to a webinar hosted by renowned designer Gerard Huerta.

Check out Ilene’s related course, Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning & Finessing.


This class is designed for creative professionals of all levels working with type, whether you are brand new, or just want to build on your existing knowledge and fill in the gaps. In-house design teams, web developers, motion graphic designers, recent graduates, freelancers and illustrators working with type: don’t miss your chance to learn from one of the most respected educators in the field.


Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio is a noted typographic educator, consultant, designer and writer. She specializes in all aspect of visual communication, from the aesthetic to the technical. Ilene has written and lectured extensively on type and typographic design to both students and professionals in the field. Ilene formerly was the Director of Typeface Development for International Typeface Corporation (ITC) where she developed more than 300 text and display typefaces with such respected and world-renowned type designers as Sumner Stone, Erik Spiekermann, Jill Bell, Jim Parkinson, Tim Donaldson, and the late Phill Grimshaw. She “cut her typographic teeth” by working on Upper and Lowercase (U&lc) and other type projects with such legendary icons as Ed Benguiat, Aaron Burns and Herb Lubalin. Her clients include Monotype Imaging Corporation, International Typeface Corporation (ITC), Adobe, Linotype, Time Inc., Whole Foods, Harlequin Books, Somerset Entertainment, Integrated Marketing, Parents Magazine, MeadWestvaco, Nationwide Insurance, Life is good, and Johnson & Johnson. Ilene authors the popular column TypeTalk for, as well as fy(t)i For Your Typographic Information and the Fontology series for Her book, Type Rules! The designer’s guide to professional typography, 4th edition has received numerous accolades from the type and design community. She publishes the popular FREE enewsletter, All Things Typographic, and conducts her widely acclaimed Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Ilene is an adjunct instructor at School of Visual Arts in NYC. Connect with Ilene online: | Book: Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography | Facebook | Twitter


  1. Bonus Video with Purchase: 'Custom Letterforms - Gerard Huerta'

    Join designer Gerard Huerta in a deep dive into his vast portfolio spanning decades of clients including Johnson & Johnson, Architectural Digest, IBM, Men’s Journal, Wired Magazine, Google Wallet, and Swiss Army. Gerard walks us through his graphic design process of logos, brand identities, magazine covers, movie posters, album covers, and concept projects, demonstrating typography at its purest: Gerard draws his own lettering rather than manipulate existing typefaces.

  2. Beginning of Typography

    How have graphic designers’ roles changed with the advent of digital technology? How can typographic design skills benefit you? Ilene introduces you to the power of typography and the skills you will learn in this course - whether you are a student, professional, making a career change, or strengthening your portfolio.

  3. Selecting the Right Type for the Job

    Type has the power to make or break a job - so how do you approach selecting the best typeface? What questions should you ask yourself and of a client? Whether you are working with the body text of an annual report, a book cover, or a travel brochure, Ilene breaks down the process of font exploration and key factors to consider when selecting the right type.

  4. Text vs. Display

    When considering typefaces for a business card or storefront, font-size is not the only factor. Typefaces are meticulously designed with specific uses in mind; all have personalities, and font exploration goes far beyond sans serif vs. serif. Ilene dives into the differences between text and display fonts, the differences between a typeface and a font, and when to consider hand-lettering rather than digital fonts.

  5. Type Hierarchy

    A wall of text can overwhelm your audience. How do you create type hierarchy to organize information in your design? You can rely on a font-family as a guide, but you shouldn’t be limited to presets - Ilene shares invaluable guidelines and tips on how to train your eye to see good combinations. She also shares resources on how to stay up-to-date with typeface design and new typefaces.

  6. OpenType Demystified

    OpenType - the brainchild and font developed by Adobe and Microsoft - why should you be familiar with it? Ilene demonstrates OpenType’s advantages and takes you into InDesign to see how to access extended character sets, different numeral styles, ligatures, and stylistic sets.

  7. Taking the Plunge with Type

    Ilene brings you deeper into the world of possibilities OpenType offers, demonstrating the power of glyph substitution. You will see the “intelligence” of OpenType fonts in action, automatically adjusting letter-spacing and x-height depending on the context within a word.

  8. Think Like a Type Designer

    Print out your typeface templates from the course materials for the next three lessons, as Ilene leads you in a fascinating activity and analysis of letter forms. You’ll participate in an activity as type designers do, breaking down the individual letter and intuiting what optically looks “right”.

  9. Breaking Down Typeface: Bodoni

    What are the characteristics and challenges of individual lowercase letters? Ilene continues to train you to develop your eye for typographic design in this study of the high contrast Bodoni typeface, encouraging you to go against your instincts and trust what optically looks right, rather than mechanical correctness.

  10. Breaking Down Typeface: Bodega Serif

    How does asymmetry solve typeface design challenges? In this last exercise, Ilene wraps up a geometric study of individual character needs, and how to design with them in mind. Fine-tune your typographic eye in lesson, and learn the secret to testing new typefaces.

  11. Are You a Type Criminal?

    Buckle up. In the last three lessons, Ilene teaches you the eleven most common type crimes, the history behind them, and how to fix them. Whether you are manuscript writing, proofreading, or designing, this is essential knowledge. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to quickly correct word spacing and the difference between “smart” and “dumb” quotes.

  12. Typography Misdemeanors - Part 1

    What’s the difference between a hyphen, en dash, and em dash? What’s wrong with all-caps? What are the challenges of swashes on capital letters? When is it appropriate to justify your type? Ilene resolves these questions and shows you how to correct more type “crimes”.

  13. Typography Misdemeanors - Part 2

    Ilene cautions against the last type crimes regarding improper type sizes, letter-spaced lowercase, and inappropriate styling.


a Creativelive Student

Ilene's courses on Typography are jam-packed with excellent information that will elevate the quality of your work in print. She knows what's current, but also what's important in long-time standards, and why. Just an incredible amount of information! you will enjoy watching, but you will want to purchase because of the sheer amount of useful content.

a Creativelive Student

This course is packed full of the answers to questions I've had at the back of my mind for a long time. Ilene teaches with great clarity, her material is well organised, and she teaches at a good pace - with a bit of humor to lighten it up. I found it really useful.


This course taught me very well about Typography. I knew almost nothing before taking it (I barely understood then the difference between Serif and Sans-Serif...). And now, I feel that I really understand a lot. It is a very good starter to learn when, how and why to use type. Plus, Ilene is a great teacher with a big sense of humor and a lot of experience in Typography. A must have for everyone who want to understand something about types and fonts.