OSNS 2018 Type Design Program

The OSNS Type Design Program commences Monday April 19. Jump through here to see the amazingness of our 2017 Type Design Program Grad show for the OSNS  five-week full-time course in Type Design and Lettering. The only one of its kind in Australia, this program provides specialized typographic skills to set you aside from the crowd.  It’s worth noting that thanks to their typographic expertise, Type Designers enjoy an autonomy that Communication Designers dream of having.   OSNS Type Design Program Graduates are in demand for their typographic expertise, creating book titles, poster titles, logos, and bespoke typefaces for to spearhead branding success.  Places in the OSNS Type Design Program are highly contested thanks to the unique exploration of the roots of digital typography through skilled analog technique it provides. Taking the Program is a wise investment for those seeking a rewarding design career.
The ability to create quality custom Typography is the essential foundation for a successful future in Communication Design and Branding strategy, and only OSNS teachers have the unique skills and expertise to teach this craft the only way possible, by stepping you away from the computer to study the art of slow typography.  Slow Type is the mechanics of writing, for all typography is essentially writing. Humankind has been writing for thousands of years, and we have only been using “type” or prefabricated mechanical letters to write more efficiently for larger audiences for the previous five hundred years.  So understanding the nexus between writing by hand, lettering, and type design is groundbreaking, and a core understanding that is essential for every typographer or type designer



Course Overview

School founder and lecturer, Veronica Grow provides an overview of the school and the Type Program.


Upon Course Completion, you will have acquired  the following skills and knowledge:

  • Professional Hand Drawn Lettering technique
  • Roman Capitals and Modern Letter proportion and rhythm
  • History of Type Classification Systems and how they integrate into current Type and Lettering systems
  • Type as Modular System
- Signwriting technique
  • Deliberate skill building method for continual ongoing development of  Lettering and Calligraphic Arts after course completion.
  • Design of a Professional Typeface Specimen
- Use of Glyph font design and editing software
  • Exhibiting promoting and showcasing Typography
  • Giving and receiving critical appraisal of Type and Lettering Design Projects

The Students

Students are handpicked carefully for the program for their communication design experience, and also their hand skills. They also need to be proficient at vectorizing in adobe illustrator. Successful applicants will need the stamina to draw and design all day, for five consecutive days.  Within the program, students quickly develop a strong and supportive kinship – a genuine respect and admiration for one another. As individuals, Type Program students are highly creative, articulate and dedicated, which means the learning environment is inspiring and exciting to be in as it makes a difference when everyone loves to contribute, and everyone feels supported and valued for what they have to offer.

Old School New School Type Program student Casey Schuurman shares her experiences.

Our Space

OSNS Typography as Design Program resides in Melbourne’s unique Arts Hub: Abbotsford Convent. With a focus on creativity, culture and learning the Convent is now home to over 100 artist studios and offices for small businesses, a radio station, eateries, an open air cinema, food and craft markets, two galleries and an extensive program of events and venues.

The School’s stunning dream studio (affectionately known as the Lettercraft Lab) is a converted barn loft that was once a working laundry for the Convent. The space is hydronically heated in winter, has exposed brick walls, soaring cathedral ceilings and is bathed in beautiful light from its gabled rooftop windows.


During the first week of the program, students study the Roman Letter which is the foundation of our writing system. They work using the flat brush, to understand serif construction, proportion, and modulation. This helps them to understand subsequent writing systems and also related typeface classifications.  A knowledge of the development of different tools, materials, and printing technologies, as well as the world wide web, has drastically impacted the way we read and write since the Roman era, and in order to be letter form literate, students need to understand this from a practical perspective rather than a theoretical perspective.

In week two students learn font design software and work conceptually to resolve four different type and lettering problems. Over the next two weeks, their best solution is then developed f into a fully professional typeface. In week 5 students design the type specimen for their new font, culminating in an end of program critique and exhibition. It is envisaged that strong typefaces developed during the program will be sold in the OSNS Type Shop, which provides a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their own professional profile and become part of a typographic community.


How we teach

There are no scores and grades when OSNS prides itself on an inquiry-based learning model that supports collaboration, experimentation, critique, investigation, and reflection. Enquiry-based learning places the keen learner at the center of his/her learning experience. All students are encouraged and advised to constantly question their projects and their own methodology.  Inquiry-based learning encourages students to reflect over process and thinking that challenges them to provide invaluable thinking skills, knowledge to deal with future challenges. This ongoing collaborative process between teachers and students enables continual course modification and improvement for optimised learning.

A withdrawal from the digital buzz enables students to quietly master the patience and concentration of practicing lettering styles. This knowledge informs ideas and creative outputs, to enhance the understanding of digital typography – all learned through practice and the physical connection between ourselves and our work.

What we do each lesson

New content is delivered nearly every day, and students collaboratively review their previous project work using a specially devised framework, or guide. Our time in the studio is intense and highly structured, and students are expected to produce deliverables of work-in-progress to enable them to learn from the process of sharing and feedback. At times, students work collaboratively in teams to review work in progress, giving and receiving valuable feedback – students learn as much from their peers as their teacher. New projects are initiated as the course progresses which are increasingly complex. Students are expected to take responsibly for their own project decisions, and work unsupervised and revise work that is not yet up to speed.

Mid way through the course longer projects are introduced that apply the knowledge and skills introduced earlier in the course.

The learning environment

The learning environment is friendly and structured, yet informal. In an intimate and supportive environment, students feel comfortable voicing opinions and asking questions that they would otherwise feel embarrassed to share in a large lecture theatre. The sharing of ideas and opinions enhances the learning experience. Being situated in a dream studio space in the tranquility of the Abbotsford Convent surrounded by nature and the cows and sheep of the Collingwood Children’s farm is a welcome escape bonus!
Situated in ten hectares of rural paddocks and bushland, Historica Abbotsford Convent is truly a special and amazing place, being so close to the CBD, and avant-guard Collingwood, Fitzroy, and Northcote.  With fresh crisp mornings, Autumn at the Convent feels magical when oak leaves are turning, and the smell of smoke is in the air.

Course Materials

These take the form of hand outs, clearly structured written briefs with goals and objectives, feedback sheets, readings, videos, and an online forum. The School has an amazing collection of vintage mid century hand lettering books which are invaluable and unique source of typographic reference.

Who is the program for?

The program is for experienced communication designers or communication design graduations who want to understand how Typography works,  in order to seek professional positions in Advertising agencies, Branding Studios, Digital Design, and Publication Design as Typographic experts.

Typographic skill and the ability to create customised letterforms and typefaces is a skill for which there is a great demand, and yet surprisingly there are few opportunities to learn. Professional Type Designers Typographic experts usually work for and with other Communication Designers, and therefore enjoy greater autonomy and respect than general Communication Designers. Project work they undertake varies alot, and is always interesting.


What's different at OSNS?


  • Students learn about typography starting with “writing”
  • We work together as a group and sharing is facilitated via our educational expertise.
  • We are open and honest.
  • There are no scores or grades. Instead, clear, detailed, structured verbal summative feedback works as a structured performance review, meaning that students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and monitor their learning process along provided key learning criteria.
  • Students are expected to collaborate and participate by giving thoughtful feedback to others, which teaches students to articulate their thinking.


Guest lecturers

Dan Milne

In 2009 Dan completed a Masters in Type Design at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Netherlands. Dan has created custom and retail typefaces for hi profile global foundries such as  House Industries and Commercial Type and has collaborated with local Australian designers to produce typefaces for institutions including MUMA and MADA. Dan practises type design under the name of TypeLab and has extensive experience devising and delivering type design programs at OSNS and Monash University. He is an excellent teacher who is very thorough and approachable. He has also mentored and taught some excellent type designers, such as Melbourne  Type Designer  Vincent Chen from Matter of Sorts . He is currently collaborating  with Commercial Type, to redesign all the typefaces for the Italian Newspaper “La Republicca.  Dan is well known for designing the Typeface Tasman, a sturdy, rational, economical type family for news, designed to withstand difficult printing conditions. The typeface features hybrid old-style figures and compact capital letters

Course outline

Week 1 _ Letterform Literacy – Type DNA Writing and Drawing letterforms

Week 2 _ Lettering & Type Design – concepts, principles, software

Week 3 _ Type cooker exercises, type design workshops

Week 4 _ Custom typeface design, type design workshops

Week 5 _ Custom typeface design and Specimen Design

Final Presentation and Graduate Exhibition usually takes place on the Monday evening of week 6.

Daily Schedule

9.00—10.00 Writing by hand & Letterform Literacy. Deliberate Practice.

10.00—1.00 Learning new skills and critique of current work

2.00—5.00 Practice. application of new information and feedback.

Daily Morning Deliberate Practice Sessions

These sessions are about your continual observation and adjustment to refine your technique in creating words and text by hand. Your efforts should demonstrate your problem solving via attempts to correct your personal technique, using specific given drills where necessary.


All applications must be received no later than Midnight February 16, 2018

Send digital applications to info@newschoolfordesignandtypography.com 

Succesful applicants will be notified via telephone and/or email and requested to attend an interview at the OSNS Lettercraft Lab to assess their suitability for the course. Interviews with international and interstate students will be conducted over Skype.

We will be contacting A list applicants on Monday, February 19 (or before) for interviews, and all offers that we make to study in the program need to be accepted via an upfront course fee payment no later than Friday 23 February to secure a highly contested place in this program.

The Program will commence on Monday, April 16 at 9.00 am, and the fi nal teaching day will be on Friday May 18. Final project review, and graduation exhibition will be on Monday  May 21, at 7.00pm

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