Slow Typography Masterclass

In an era when the choice of over 40,000 fonts readily available to choose from often seems equally ridiculous as a trip to the supermarket (which is often just as overwhelming and unnecessarily time consuming), I could see the value in Spelbrink's thinking about typography in its historical context as a pure workhorse for language. 

  • Date & time

  • Location

    Old School New School
  • Cost

    Two day Workshop: $400

Build it well, slowly, properly and solid, is the Slow Typography thinking of Niko Spelbrink which was particularly appealing. 

Spelbrink says that "there was a time when typography relied on the combined knowledge of designers, compositors and their proofreaders. They were highly literate professionals. Generations of professionals employed defined styles, standards and routines to guide the quality of their product. Pride and fulfilment generated highly legible text as quickly as possible." 

Often today, type is seen as a stylistic device to shout and grab attention with little attention paid to the process of actually reading text. Fast seems to be equal to good even if this means losing qualities that make experiences unique. "As a typographer, you are a creator, and creators don't follow rules, they make tools" says Spelbrink.

Students at Old School New School's Slow Type Masterclass soon understood thatt Spelbrink is a softly spoken classicist who knows how to be emphatic without flashy shouting. Herfst complemented Spelbrink with his structural thinking, and sound knowledge of type as a writing system, and technical savvy.

The Workshop centred around the word Slow, and also incorporated the slow aspect of Slow Food, with a slow lunch spent in our sunny north facing winter room. A slow lunch is a valuable aspect of learning at Old School New School when food is a natural conduit for conversation and learning.

Students worked through the Slow Typography Masterclass and investigated and created the typefaces of their choice. Through deep observation and discussion of their own work and that of other students, new understandings emerged to imprint gestalt on their minds. 

Spellbrink is a true modernist who decries useless ornamentation. He started his career as a compositer of metal fonts and has an immense body of knowledge regarding fonts, stress, ink coverage, curves, unit systems, font colour, measurement, optical illusions, how to check diagonal angles, typographic taxonomy and glyphs which never failed to impress. 

Students who uploaded their type construction onto the online learning platform also had the opportunity to engage in lengthy and deep discussion regarding aesthetic, practical and contextual understandings of their own font construction.

Students are yet to complete the last part of the Masterclass and will receive written feedback on their project work. 


Two day Workshop: $400