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

Stefan Fitze – Remo & Rhea

TYPE DESIGN

Stefan Fitze – Remo & Rhea

Diploma project with Alice Savoie, Matthieu Cortat

Remo & Rhea is a typeface family based on the proportions of Roman square capitals as found in the inscription on the tomb of the children of Sextus Pompeius Justus (2nd century AD) on the Via Appia in Rome. Linked by their common origin – an apocryphal sketch of the development of Roman Type – Remo Sans and Rhea Serif intrinsically evolved into a set of two emancipated yet related typefaces, expanding the notion of the traditional type family. Consisting of a sans serif (Remo) and a serif typeface (Rhea) with a typewriter complement, the family is explicitly built for text-heavy and typographically complex environments, offering a wide range of possibilities for contemporary typesetting.

Alexandre Lescieux – Radiolar

TYPE DESIGN

Alexandre Lescieux – Radiolar

Diploma project with Alice Savoie, Matthieu Cortat

Radiolar was inspired by Heinrich Jost’s Jost Mediaeval (1927), which marked a turning point in typography, as geometrically constructed sans serif typefaces started appearing, namely Erbar (1926), Kabel (1927), and Futura, which was published under Jost’s own direction by Bauer. Jost Antiqua seems to be the first serif typeface to go down this utopian path of elementary typography. How does one synthesise the geometric and the organic in typography? Radiolar, named after the spherical marine micro-organisms whose skeletons are made up of highly detailed spicules, attempts to answer this question. Its forms have the intense warmth of calligraphy and the utopia of rationality through geometry, oscillating between complexity and simplicity.

Karima Deghayli – Yameen and Meel

TYPE DESIGN

Karima Deghayli – Yameen and Meel

Diploma project with Alice Savoie, Irene Vlachou

As the world becomes increasingly connected, the need for multiscript type families grows significantly. Yameen is a variable multiscript typeface covering Arabic and Latin. Designed for text, its weights range from regular to bold. The Arabic was inspired by Naskh calligraphy, retaining in its outlines the character of the Qalam. The Latin forms present the same sharp aesthetic taken from the parallel pen offering a calligraphic interpretation of old-style typefaces. Preserving both scripts’ authenticity, Yameen is designed for harmonious bilingual typesetting. Meel is an Arabic display font inspired by various sources: from vintage music albums to vernacular Beirut type. Exploring the Ruqaa style, its boldness excels in large sizes and its flowing character merges the tool and the digital.

Amélie Gallay – Phaedon

TYPE DESIGN

Amélie Gallay – Phaedon

Diploma project with Matthieu Cortat, Alice Savoie

Phaedon is an elegant typeface family based on Ancien Romain, an Elzevir metal type issued by the French type foundry Deberny & Cie around 1880–1890. Driven by the desire to keep the nobility and fragility of the original, Phaedon’s lighter weights are a faithful reinterpretation of Ancien Romain while the bolder weights are personal interpretations. A text style compliments the family. With its four display weights, matching italics, and a text style, Phaedon is intended for contemporary use and stands out with its highly contrasted, slightly condensed and delicate attributes.

Sergei Rasskazov – Entro

TYPE DESIGN

Sergei Rasskazov – Entro

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Entro: A font family for posters and web that combines modern digital technologies and pays tribute to traditional analogue letterpress wood type techniques. Entro Press: A wood type modular system for Letterpress that brings variable features from digital to analogue. Entro Text: A font with soft rounded shapes in variable format, from light to black, for texts and captions. Latin, Cyrillic and Greek supported. Entro Brutal: Geometric typeface without optical compensations that gives brutal charm to text. Entro Py: A series of experimental variable fonts inspired by the specificities of entropy, handcrafted and code-generated with Python.

Laura Zsófia Csocsán – Neureal

TYPE DESIGN

Laura Zsófia Csocsán – Neureal

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Marie Lusa

The book Neureal features an exploration of AI software that was tested on a series of images. Glitches and the software’s “residues” expose the neural filter’s activity, which colourises black and white photographs. The visual material highlights different scenarios in relation to our technology-influenced, everyday lives, shown in contrast with images of flowers and nature. They ultimately construct an alternate reality created by the programme. Neureal Display is a reverse-contrast sans, accompanied by a Mono version designed for small sizes. Initial drawings based on visual distortions were extrapolated, generating new ideas with mathematical calculations. The final typeface consists of these revised and redrawn shapes as a result of this back-and-forth experimentation with the software.

Joana Siniavskaja – Parallel I-IV

TYPE DESIGN

Joana Siniavskaja – Parallel I-IV

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Parallel I–IV is a text typeface composed of four cuts – text, italic, cursive italic and a back slant. Primarily drawn for print application, the family contains an optically corrected screen cut. The typeface provides the possibility to create a typographical hierarchy using a single weight, pointing to new ways of highlighting in print and web environments. The project came from a desire to design a dynamic typeface with strong character in long running text both in screen and print mediums. While creating unique shapes for contemporary use, the design is inspired by Transitional typefaces with a look at various Baroque and Modern typefaces. Remaining functional in small sizes, the typeface retains its qualities throughout the cuts and is suitable for title sizes as well.

Samira Schneuwly – Lyga

TYPE DESIGN

Samira Schneuwly – Lyga

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Lyga is a restrained and balanced serif typeface family with heavily angled italics to emphasise individual words, short paragraphs or brief headlines. Designed as a utilitarian text font, it is well suited for small sizes where its even and harmonious text colour comes into effect. Lyga draws from a source originally designed as a lead typeface in the late 19th century. Elzévir Turlot was found in the Caractères de Labeurs de l’Imprimerie A. Rey specimen and was carefully interpreted in order to create a design that supports present-day text settings, while retaining the spirit and charm of its original appearance. Lyga comes in six weights with corresponding italics.

Sam Fagnart – Mirai Toshi

TYPE DESIGN

Sam Fagnart – Mirai Toshi

Diploma project with Irene Vlachou, Alice Savoie

Inspired by archival documents and the graphic design culture of the late 60s and early 70s, Mirai Toshi (The City of the Future) is a visual experimentation in type design which gave birth to two typefaces, Nisego and Metago. Stemming from the module-driven architecture of the Metabolist movement, Metago is a display typeface with a pixel-like quality, but whose strokes and elements are linked together in a heavily constructed yet organic structure. Alongside it stands Nisego, designed with the 70s Japanese Grotesk typefaces in mind, with its rationalised yet calligraphic shapes. The Latin version of Nisego consists of three text cuts, with matching italics, complemented by six all-purpose cuts, from the versatile Medium to the more display-oriented Black.

Raphaela Häfliger – Aligna

TYPE DESIGN

Raphaela Häfliger – Aligna

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Aligna is a typeface that aims to improve the typographic composition of web pages. Thanks to a combination of variable axes, it fills up the white space without recognising it. It balances the two pitfalls that are distorted characters and irregular composition and provides a regular text grey. Aligna can be combined with an algorithm that distributes the blank space of the line. During research for this project, a parametric font was created to evaluate the respective influence of different aspects of type design. Aligna gathers and combines the ideal value for each element combined on one variable font axis.

Charly Derouault – Europa

TYPE DESIGN

Charly Derouault – Europa

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Europa is a multi-script typeface that builds on the history of European Grotesque typography. Its forms are inherited from Akzidenz Grotesk but developed through a more subtle contrast. The typeface is stable, contemporary. Applied to a utopian project, i.e., the creation of a new pan-European motorway network born under the agreement of all the countries on the continent, the three scripts which compose Europa were drawn jointly, the design of each script significantly influencing the design of the others. Envisaged as an additional or alternative solution to the European motorway signage, the typographic system is completed by a less contrasted, more condensed and rationalised signage body.

Dominik Bissem – Rivale

TYPE DESIGN

Dominik Bissem – Rivale

Diploma project with Kai Bernau, Alice Savoie

Rivale Serif and Rivale Grotesk are the main typefaces in this family. Both styles are designed to be used at the same time, while retaining their own character. The structure is not mathematically based on the same skeleton, the optical impression stands in the foreground and reflects the concept of the system: as homogeneous as necessary and as independent as possible. Throughout the design process both styles constantly influenced one another, and the system grew organically. Serif and Grotesk come in five weights – light, regular, medium, bold, and dark – with matching italics. The presentation attempts to show the typefaces in a realistic terrain and contrasts them with the author’s own paintings.

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
Vincent de Boer
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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