Presentation

ECAL is introducing a new master’s degree in Type Design as from the 2016 academic year. Unique in Switzerland, this two-year programme gives graduate students with a Bachelor in Graphic Design an opportunity to develop projects in the long term. This training provides privileged access to one of the flagship disciplines in Swiss graphic design, relying on ECAL’s expertise in this field as the first Swiss school to have integrated digital typography as part of its curriculum.

With the support of renowned professionals and academics, students explore fields ranging from corporate typography to experimental research, focusing on creativity. They work on techniques specific to typeface design (calligraphy, work on curves, construction, digital drawing), including the development of multi script font families. They acquire and develop a sharp and thoughtful eye, technical and methodological skills and an ability to produce quality digital fonts with efficiency and rigour (mastering, scripting) as part of courses and workshops where their projects are assessed and commented by experts invited for conferences and individual interviews. Finally, they attend lectures and research sessions around concepts ranging from the prospective to the historical, including aesthetic and legal aspects, which are given concrete form through dissertations, online or paper publications and even exhibitions.

The skills and projects developed throughout the curriculum serve to produce a portfolio that meets the highest standards. At the end of their curriculum, having acquired a solid typographical culture, students will have the  opportunity to apply their skills either as part of a company or in a self-employed capacity.

Language

English

Qualification issued

Master of Arts HES-SO in Design, major in Type Design

Yearly fees (materials included)

CHF 1 925.-

Length

4 semesters

Credits

120 ECTS

Useful links

Admissions Contact ECAL Typefaces

Equipments & infrastructures

Open Space MA Type Design Printshop Digital printshop

Learning Objectives

First year
Laura Zsófia Csocsán , Samira Schneuwly - Semester project, 2021
Julia Born - Visit in Zurich
Radim Peško - Workshop
Alexandre Lescieux - Semester project, 2020
Sascha Bente - Semester project, 2020
Individual reviews with Jan Horčik
Individual reviews with Larissa Kasper
Kai Bernau - Tools makes shapes, class

1/8

  • Work on transposition from one medium to another, from the communication of ideas to sensations (e.g., transposition of a piece of music into typography).
  • Question type design processes according to the tools used, whether analogue or digital.
  • Contextualise letter drawing in its history.
  • Work in a group with the aim of creating a functional typeface based on specifications provided by a client.
  • Include typography in the wider context of graphic design (Editorial Design).
  • Develop research on writing that none of the students are able to read with a guest lecturer throughout the 2nd semester.
  • Enhance your knowledge through lectures given by lecturers from the MA in Type Design or guest lecturers (history of graphic design and typography, technical issues, design problems and presentations of their work by lecturers).
  • Write a Master’s thesis based on the knowledge acquired throughout the course and in line with the professional field.
  • Benefit from technical assistance to learn and solve technical issues that arise in type design.
  • Take part in weeks of workshops supervised by practitioners from all over the world with the aim of carrying out collective or personal projects.
Second year
Anne Seseke - Diploma 2021
Diploma Jury 2020
Chiachi Chao - Diploma 2021
Sophie Wietlisbach - Diploma 2020

1/4

  • Develop three self-initiated projects (type design, use of typography in an editorial context and free project); for each project, the student chooses a teacher who will monitor the project.
  • Write a Master’s thesis based on the knowledge acquired throughout the course and in line with the professional field.
  • Put into practice the know-how acquired in a graduation work.

Projects

This section contains a selection of emblematic or recent projects related to the disciplines taught in the Master's degree.
See all projects

Studio projects

Max Fett

TYPE DESIGN

Max Fett

Studio project by Weichi He

MaxFett is a free interpretation of the typeface Fette Grotesk, widely distributed as a single cut among former German type foundries under different names. Fette Grotesque, Breite fette grotesque, Fette Steinschrift, Zeitung-Grotesque, Ganz fette Groteske. This interpretation of the source by Herrlinger & Schmidt from 1881 is taking a contemporary approach on heavy squarish grotesks.

Typetitle, projet de semestre par Quentin Coulombier

TYPE DESIGN

Typetitle, projet de semestre par Quentin Coulombier

Studio project with Kai Bernau

Typetitle is a condensed typeface designed for newspaper headlines which was inspired by American wooden type models.

Inside-Out semester project by Dávid Molnár

TYPE DESIGN

Inside-Out semester project by Dávid Molnár

Studio project with Radim Peško

Didot Vafflard semester project by Dávid Molnár

TYPE DESIGN

Didot Vafflard semester project by Dávid Molnár

Studio project with François Rappo

Tools make shapes. Semester Project by Malte Bentzen et Kaj Lehmann

TYPE DESIGN

Tools make shapes. Semester Project by Malte Bentzen et Kaj Lehmann

Studio project with Kai Bernau

Modern Gothic, Semester Project by Malte Bentzen

TYPE DESIGN

Modern Gothic, Semester Project by Malte Bentzen

Studio project with François Rappo

Diploma projects

Lucile Billot – Parallax LCG

TYPE DESIGN

Lucile Billot – Parallax LCG

Diploma project by Lucile Billot

Mention Excellent Prix HES-SO This multi-script typeface family covers Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, balanced to be typeset side by side in a homogeneous way. Designed for text purposes, it includes several weights and italics for each script, and the sharpness of the drawing (its “digitality”) is made to match contemporary writings. *The hand, the pencil; then the broad pen, the nodes, the handles.* Reflected in the shapes is a tension between a tool-based approach (through instrokes/outstrokes and calligraphic features) and an outline-based one. The calligraphic “frontline” (as G. Noordzij calls it) sometimes breaks and each contour, each line, is thought of as an autonomous shape. Both approaches play a crisp choreography, resulting in a scalable typeface that works at several sizes.

Chiachi Chao – Kleisch

TYPE DESIGN

Chiachi Chao – Kleisch

Diploma project by Chiachi Chao

Bi-scriptual type design is a challenge for graphic designers, even more so in a world of cross-cultural exchange. Kleisch is a Latin serif typeface designed to work with Chinese Ming-style fonts. It is a synthesis of baroque and neo-classical typography, as the types of Nicholas Kis, Christoffel van Dijck or Johann Michael Fleischmann have a similar stroke construction to CJK (Chinese-Korean-Japanese) Ming-style typefaces. Kleisch does not match with a specific font. However, as a variable font, it offers adjustable axes (weight and contrast) to adapt with different Ming typefaces.

Nicolas Bernklau – Strength in Fragility

TYPE DESIGN

Nicolas Bernklau – Strength in Fragility

Diploma project by Nicolas Bernklau

Strength in Fragility i s a dialogue between fashion (Anna Deller-Yee, RCA) and type design (Nicolas Bernklau, ECAL). To find the intersections of the two design fields, shapes are explored and brought to life: from 2D to 3D, shape to object, printable to wearable. A publication showcases a common shape pool made up of type letterings as a foundation for the development of fashion silhouettes, woven materials and prints around themes of individuality, strength and vulnerability. To enhance the feeling of the project, the accompanying sans serif typeface family Resial was designed. Resial balances the functionality of condensed Swiss/German typefaces from the early 20th century and idiosyncrasies found while researching Latin typefaces in the Japanese graphic context.

Benedetta Bovani – Acquerino

TYPE DESIGN

Benedetta Bovani – Acquerino

Diploma project by Benedetta Bovani

Mention Très bien Acquerino is a family project that revolves around the Acquerino Nature Reserve in Tuscany, Italy. Growing up near the place, the idea for this project was born out of the curiosity and affection that both me and my brother have for it. We felt the need to create something that reflected our thoughts and emotions about such a place while at the same time letting people know about it. Bringing together our knowledge, memories and skills we designed two books. The first book is a travel guide that aims to inform the reader about the reserve: from the flora to the fauna, hiking itineraries and nearby villages. The second one is an album where we collected words and photographs that reflect on the value of nature and of memory. Two specific typefaces were also designed for the books.

Paul Christ – Microcosm of Proportion

TYPE DESIGN

Paul Christ – Microcosm of Proportion

Diploma project by Paul Christ

“Cosmos, noun. The universe, especially when it is thought of as an ordered system.” Inspired by spiritual movements such as the Theosophical Society or the vegetarian colony of Monte Verità, this project explores the influence of geometry, numbers and systems on the arts and design. The result is a book consisting of three parts that reflect the development of the project. It begins with the presentation of the research material and continues with a practical exploration of geometrical figures and their proportions. The third chapter applies my insights on the development of a proportional system which forms the base of the typeface family used throughout the book.

Maël Bächtold – Milkshake

TYPE DESIGN

Maël Bächtold – Milkshake

Diploma project by Maël Bächtold

Milkshake is a typeface family which was initiated by anemoia (nostalgia felt for a period in the past that was not lived) for the 70s. The music, the freedom, the vibes, and mostly the aesthetics in terms of type and graphic design of that period strongly influenced the direction of the project. Milkshake is divided into two sub-families. The first one, Milkshake Display is the spine of the project: its voluptuous curves and generous drops combined with sharp edges give it a dynamic look while its alternates and swashes exaggerate its flow and funkiness. To add a contemporary touch and versatility, the family is complemented by text cuts, which are much calmer, friendlier and more stable, suited for longer lines in small sizes.

Simona Alina Andone – Leisure Time

TYPE DESIGN

Simona Alina Andone – Leisure Time

Diploma project by Simona Alina Andone

Free time. Did it exist in the past? Does it still exist? What implication does it have for society? Nowadays, the distinction between leisure and work is more subtle, calling into question the true meaning and importance of free time. The topic was widely discussed during the 13th Triennale di Milano in 1964. Through the appropriation of archival iconography and a fictional dialogue with essays from 1964 and nowadays, the editorial project aims to highlight the ambiguity between past and present in their connection to free time. Cordusio is a typeface family designed as part of the editorial project. Inspired by 1960s Italian type design, with an added contemporary touch, it is available in Display and Text, with slanted italic for both cuts.

Marcel Saidov – Semantik

TYPE DESIGN

Marcel Saidov – Semantik

Diploma project by Marcel Saidov

Mention Très bien Semantik is a typeface family which resulted from research into typefaces for telephone directories and which revisits the “heavy-top” emphasis to increase legibility. Semantik is loosely based on Ladislas Mandel’s Nordica and Colorado, as well as Roger Excoffon’s Antique Olive . The project explores the technical aspects and stylistic elements of typefaces for telephone directories in a screen-based environment, improving legibility in the contexts of both continuous reading on screen and reading while scrolling. The typeface adapts to various screen environments as a variable font with a responsive axis, and adjusts to the dimensions of your computer or mobile device. Semantik contains in total 30 separate styles and includes five weights and italics for desktop, mobile and list versions.

Alberto Malossi – Beaujon

TYPE DESIGN

Alberto Malossi – Beaujon

Diploma project by Alberto Malossi

Beaujon is a typeface family consisting of five weights and five corresponding italics. Primarily designed for contemporary text setting, its origins can be traced to Pierre Simon Fournier’s contrast model (1764) and landmark Dutch baroque types, such as the ones by Nicholas Kis (1690). Beaujon leverages its influences liberally and quite unsystematically, striving to build tension among rather organic gestures and an intrinsically digital construction. This essential discrepancy gives Beaujon a peculiar effervescence in both running text and larger, more flamboyant display usage.

Anne Seseke – Machine like Man

TYPE DESIGN

Anne Seseke – Machine like Man

Diploma project by Anne Seseke

This publication focuses on the link between humans and machines through the lens of the keyboard – a visual story of the evolution of the keyboard over the years, alongside its user. The curated text and images, playing on scales, give us insight into this discreet object which has become an essential part of our  daily lives: the architecture of the keys, the act of typing, the choreography of the hands, the notion of pocket-size and handheld objects, and the constant evolution of our idea of the office. The content is supported by a bespoke font, inspired by early computer printing techniques. I played with a dot matrix grid to create a more human typeface, resulting in a family of four styles: MLM Dot, Vector, Pixel and Italic.

Antonio D’Elisiis – Hierax Antiqua

TYPE DESIGN

Antonio D’Elisiis – Hierax Antiqua

Diploma project by Antonio D’Elisiis

Hierax Antiqua is a contemporary typeface family composed of 24 styles with text and display cut, suitable for editorial publication and identity projects. The typeface is inspired by an ancient book printed in Venice around 1750, with various punches cut in different periods (1550 – 1780). Hence the aim of the project is to capture the spirit of Renaissance and Baroque types by analysing the works of Nicolas Jenson, Francesco Griffo, Claude Garamont, Pierre Haultin, Robert Granjon, Hendrik van den Keere, Christoffel van Dijck, Nicholas Kis, Simon de Colines, Guillaume Le Bé, Pierre-Simon Fournier le Jeune and Giambattista Bodoni. Hierax Antiqua aims to crystallise this era with an added contemporary feel through rigorous digital design.

Romain Tronchin – Supertifo

TYPE DESIGN

Romain Tronchin – Supertifo

Diploma project by Romain Tronchin

Supertifo is a typeface family of five styles inspired by the lettering on the banners of ultras. Born at the beginning of the 1970s in the Years of Lead in Italy, ultras were inspired by communist groups to support their club with banners, chants and smoke bombs, taking this passion to the extreme. At the same time, a group of scientists called the Club of Rome published an alarming report about the future of the planet. This report did not have the expected impact and 50 years later the situation is more than worrying. What would have happened if the Club of Rome had been supported by a group of ultras, like a football club?

Workshops

Yearbook

TYPE DESIGN

Yearbook

Workshop with Nejc Prah

In October 2021, the Master Type Design welcomed Nejc Prah for a one-week workshop. Being in a masters program is a special time, both personally and professionally. To keep a memory of it, the students were invited to create a Yearbook. First years and second years were assigned into pairs and asked to make a contribution about their partner. Drawings, collages, letterings, doodles, patterns, 3D-modelling, … Experimentations and explorations were encouraged. It resulted into a colourful and joyous publication, displaying a diversity of characters and approaches. After a collaborative effort for the production on the last day, each student got a copy, as a memory.

Böcklin Zoo

TYPE DESIGN

Böcklin Zoo

Workshop with Karl Nawrot

Workshop with Karl Nawrot. Handpainted compositions inspired by the typeface Arnold Böcklin from Schriftgiesserei Otto Weisert (1904).

All Over

TYPE DESIGN

All Over

Workshop with MATD, Job Wouters (Letman)

Workshop with Dutch designer Job Wouters.

Indentity Of The Zone

TYPE DESIGN

Indentity Of The Zone

Workshop with Jan Horčík, MATD

Patches from workshop with Jan Horčík.

Workshop with studio NORM

TYPE DESIGN

Workshop with studio NORM

Workshop with Dimitri Bruni (NORM), Manuel Krebs (NORM)

Workshop with Zürich based studio NORM on the theory, the design and the use of stencil typefaces.

Workshop with Thibault Brevet

TYPE DESIGN

Workshop with Thibault Brevet

Workshop with Thibault Brevet

Workshop with Thibault Brevet.

Type Poster Workshop with Dafi Kühne

TYPE DESIGN

Type Poster Workshop with Dafi Kühne

Workshop with Dafi Kühne, MATD

Atlas of Letterforms, workshop with Radim Peško

TYPE DESIGN

Atlas of Letterforms, workshop with Radim Peško

Workshop with MATD, Radim Peško

Sign Painting Workshop with Alaric Garner

TYPE DESIGN

Sign Painting Workshop with Alaric Garner

Workshop with Alaric Garnier, MATD

Programme

This section lists the detailed modules and courses for each semester of the programme.

Semester 1 2 3 4

Type Design I
9 ECTS
  • Characters
  • Type (hi)stories
  • Custom Type
Typography I
6 ECTS
  • Tools makes shapes

  • Type in use workshop
  • Type lectures 
Pré-Memoire I
5 ECTS
  • MA Thesis preparation

Transversal Workshop I
3 ECTS
  • 5 days workshop
Training in research I
3 ECTS
  • Introductory course on design research
  • Interdisciplinary workshop
Cross lectures I
4 ECTS
  • Cycle of lectures
Type Design II
9 ECTS
  • Type hi(stories)
  • Non Legitur
  • Translation
Typography II
6 ECTS
  • Optical sizes
  • Type in use
  • Type lectures
Pré-Memoire II
5 ECTS
  • MA Thesis preparation
Transversal workshop II
3 ECTS
  • 5 days workshop
Training in research II – Experimentation
3 ECTS
  • 3-day week with lecturers

  •  
Cross Lectures II
4 ECTS
  • Cycle of lectures
Type Design III
5 ECTS
  • Self-initiated project
Typography III
5 ECTS
  • Self-initiated project
Open project
5 ECTS
  • Self-initiated project
Pré-memoire III
6 ECTS
  • MA Thesis preparation
Transversal workshop III
3 ECTS
  • 5-days workshop
Training to research III — Application
3 ECTS
  • Presentations and interdisciplinary workshop
  • Junior Research Conference
Cross lectures III
3 ECTS
  • Cycle of lectures
Master's practical project
21 ECTS
  • Development of a major personal project
Master's thesis
9 ECTS
  • Theoretical Master’s thesis

Find all the programme documents below

Alumni

Jacopo Aztori
Federico Paviani
Florence Meunier
Luca Pellegrini
Kim Sohee
Davide Tomatis
Rani Yasmine Putri
Career Opportunities

Type designer, Graphic designer, Motion designer, Art director, Creative director, Publisher, Illustrator, Web designer, Teacher…

Other alumni

(BA Graphic Design and MA Type Design) Leonardo Azzolini (Omnigroup), Ondřej Báchor, Sascha Bente, Harry Bloch (Studio Harris Blondman), Chaumont & Zaerpour, Guillaume Chuard, Matthias Clottu, Emmanuel Crivelli, Marietta Eugster, Eurostandard, Matthew Fenton, Louisa Gagliardi, Gavillet & Cie, Eliott Grunewald, Noémie Gygax, Weichi He, Robert Huber, Larissa Kasper (Kasper-Florio), Sean Ervan Kuhnke, Kaj Lehmann, Simon Mager (Omnigroup), Maximage, Adeline Mollard, Olga Prader, Aurèle Sack, Teo Schifferli, Haakon Spencer, Florence Tétier, Chi-Long Trieu, Nicole Udry…

Staff

Head

Matthieu Cortat

Assistants

Nicolas Bernklau
Raphaela Häfliger

ECAL Typefaces Manager

Malte Bentzen Bredstrup

Professors

Kai Bernau
Julia Born
Matthieu Cortat
Wayne Daly
Roland Früh
Anniina Koivu
Marie Lusa
Radim Peško
Alice Savoie
Chi­-Long Trieu

Lecturers

George Anton Kiraz
Gerry Leonidas
Hrant Papazian
Irene Vlachou

Visiting Lecturers

Sahar Afshar
Khajag Apelian
Roberto Arista
Etienne Aubert­-Bonn
Leonardo Azzolini (Omnigroup)
Stuart Bailey
Alexandru Balgiu
Chiara Barbieri
Paul Barnes
Sofie Beier
Selina Bernet
Bianca Berning
Eleni Beveratou
Alex Blattmann
Thibault Brevet
Mirko Borsche
Johannes Breyer (Dinamo)
Dimitri Bruni (NORM)
Matthew Carter
Nadine Chahine
Mathieu Christe
Pippo Ciorra
Bart De Baets
Sara de Bondt
Lizá Defossez Ramalho (R2Design)
Maria Doreuli
Gary Fogelson
Tom Foley
Alaric Garnier
Gilles Gavillet (Optimo)
Emilio Gentile
Tanya George
Eliott Grunewald
Fabian Harb (Dinamo)
Jonathan Hares
Leila Hekmat
Franz Hoffman
Jan Horčík
Robert Huber
Thomas Huot­-Marchand
Larissa Kasper (Kasper-Florio)
Ueli Kaufmann
Simone Koller (Studio NOI)
Manuel Krebs (NORM)
Matthias Kreutzer
Dafi Kühne
Indra Kupferschmid
‍Phil Lubliner (Other Means)
Louis Lüthi
Bruno Maag
Simon Mager (Omnigroup)
Amir Mahdi Moslehi
Robin Mientjes
Yoann Minet
John Morgan
Reto Moser (Grilli Type)
Sandrine Nugue
Mitch Paone (DIA Studio)
Michele Patanè
Julie Peeters
Edwin Pickstone
Jonathan Pierini
Krista Radoeva
Mohamed Rafed
Artur Rebelo (R2Design)
David Rudnick
Aurèle Sack
Kristyan Sarkis
Jens Schildt
Isabel Seiffert (Offshore)
Wissam Shawkat
Izet Sheshivari
Fred Smeijers
Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès
Adam Szymczyk
David Jonathan Ross
Régis Tosetti
Nora Turato
Richard Turley
Linda van Deursen
Carlo Vinti
Ryan Waller (Other Means)
Job Wouters
Pascal Zoghbi

ECAL Typefaces

ECAL Typefaces has, since 2016, been the first online type foundry based within a university. Its initial remit was to respond to frequent requests to acquire the typefaces seen in ECAL corporate communications, such as posters, invitation cards and catalogues. The foundry is now fully embedded in the ECAL Master’s Degree in Type Design (MATD), and also features work from the ECAL Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. All fonts have been designed by students.

Go to ECAL Typefaces Website

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