KABK Master Course in Type and Media, Royal Academy of Art

WHILE THE LIST of famous type designers coming from The Hague is extensive, it wasn’t until 2002 that the institution formally renamed its postgraduate program (formerly Type Design and Typography) and incorporated digital media into type studies. Students in the program, who come from all over the world, are taught in English, and work in small groups where the student-to-faculty ratio is nearly 1:1. Though KABK emphasizes a range of approaches to learning type design, the basis of the program remains the theoretical model of designer Gerrit Noordzij, a superstar teacher at KABK in the 1980s. His theory, which explored the idea of joining traditional calligraphy to computer fonts, is a legacy carried on by his students who now work as KABK teachers. “By studying the effects of writing tools from which the modern typographic forms originate, the student gains understanding of the main parameters of type design (contrast, rhythm, proportion, weight),” says Jan Willem Stas, the course supervisor. “Noordzij’s method is by no means the only method of teaching type, but it is a succesful one.” 

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