Type Program 2017

Our Typography Design Program has developed an enviable reputation, especially for design graduates who are wishing to gain typographic confidence and skill (the core of our profession).

The Program is unique and is the first course of its kind in Australia and therefore holds a prominent position within the Australian Design Education Framework.

The 2017 Type Program was completed in May, please check back here near the end of the year for the 2018 program or email

Course Overview

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


Learning in the Type program is holistic, offering a creative alternative that stretches beyond the confines of purely academic design education with its special focus on hands on technique. This opens up a valuable opportunity to experiment when you can move beyond the very limited abstract thinking of the head. Holistic learning at OSNS also enacts the heart and the hands (head heart and hands).

We value holistic thinking and revere the bodily wisdom of the heart and hands also. We prioritise a sound knowledge and practice of typographic methods, history, and a process of experimentation through hands on play and research to generate conceptual, culturally-aware and astounding designers. Students of our Typography Program know how to create sound Typography and lettering solutions that sparkle. They have a distinct spark which creates a life long ripple effect throughout their practice and collaborations with others.

The Students

Students are hand picked carefully for the program. Successful applicants are expected to work very hard, and they soon develop a strong and supportive kinship – a genuine respect and admiration for one another. As individuals, the students are highly creative, articulate and dedicated, which means the learning environment is inspiring and exciting to be in. 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.

Old School New School Type Program student Monique Morin 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.


Straight away during the first phase of the program you explore unchartered territory simultaneously learning how to work in font design software creating your first type system and handle the traditional analogue tools of brush and pen to create hand generated custom type and lettering with its unique form and rhythm.

From there you will continue to push conceptual ideas through these mediums to open new understandings of what Typography really is. You will take your discoveries and use them to synthesise exciting new typographic forms and projects. Some of these projects involve outcomes where typography defines identity and user experience.

How we teach

OSNS prides itself on an enquiry based learning model that supports collaboration, experimentation, critique, investigation and reflection. These are utilised to place the keen learner at the centre of his/her learning experience. All students are encouraged and advised to constantly question their projects and their own methodology. OSNS learners discover how asking the right questions steers their creative process in unique and interesting directions for conceptually exciting outcomes that are about more than stylistic considerations.

Inquiry based learning encourages students to reflect over process and thinking that challenges them to provide invaluable thinking skills, knowledge and understanding for dealing with future challenges. This ongoing collaborative process between teachers and students enables continual course modification and improvement for optimised learning.

Our Model involves:

  • Setting personal goals
  • Reflective writing on what you have learned
  • Understanding of expectations
  • Making learning connections
  • Risk taking and problem-solving

All students must make to enable speculation. In order to grasp typographic understanding, students create typography by hand in order to understand the correct construction of letterforms through the use of tool, line, shape and space. We see the computer screen as a prison that restricts designers, because it discourages thinking through making.

A withdrawal from the digital buzz enables students to quietly master the patience and concentration of practicing lettering styles such starting with brush Roman Capitals noted for their historic significance and the purity and integrity of letterform architecture. 
pointed pen, flat pen black letter, brush scripts. This knowledge begins to inform ideas and creative outputs, and enhance the understanding of digital typography – all learned through practice and the physical connection between ourselves and our work.

Our students don’t need to fear making mistakes because the emphasis is not to follow safe formulas to “get things right”, nor is it about feeling choked by the need to get good grades. The pressure to make design that looks consistent with online trends shuts creative doors with a bang! We support students to lead with their own original ideas, when they feel safe to openly explore and take responsibility for their own design decisions.

Our students have the confidence to flourish, and express their unique vision. Importantly, the learning structure supports their ability to talk effectively about what they do, to better collaborate with clients and other design professionals.

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!

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 designers with some experience, who are interested in learning more about how Typography works, and want to seek professional positions in Advertising agencies or working in teams with other designers as Typographic experts to design Custom Typeface and lettering solutions that spearhead unique and effective branding solutions. Typographic skill and the ability to create customised letterforms and typefaces is a skill for which there is much demand, and yet few opportunities to learn.

The program is a strong fit for anyone already working within the profession, or a passionate school leaver who is self disciplined with a mature outlook. A typographic appreciation and a desire to explore is mandatory as is the focus and dedication required to constantly be creative and produce weekly deliverables.

What's different at OSNS?


  • We use our hands a lot more.
  • You are taught traditional hand skills for your typography, starting with Penmanship.
  • We draw a lot more.
  • We share a lot more and work together as a group.
  • Everyone knows one another quite well.
  • There is a studio dog.
  • We often eat together.
  • It can be challenging learning how to work collaboratively, and being so open and honest.
  • There are no scores or grades, but lots of clear, detailed, structured verbal summative feedback, plus comprehensive, detailed written feedback at completion of Semester One and Two which operates like a structured performance review, meaning that you are expected to monitor your own learning process along key learning criteria, so that you are placed at the centre of your own learning journey.
  • You are expected to collaborate and participate by giving thoughtful feedback to others, as this helps you learn, and it teaches you to articulate your 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 enjoys a good working relationship with Commercial Type, whose typefaces and the story behind their creation often features as part of our curriculum. He 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

Start date – April 2018 (date to be advised)

Typography is the foundation of graphic design, and we bring the craft of typography back to design education when we help you build a typographic foundation the only way possible ! Working by hand! You will cast the doors of perception wide open and trial new processes and techniques in creating Type.

Starting simultaneously with calligraphy, the hand drawn letter and digital font design software new projects are introduced and students are encouraged to share and help one another as much as possible for a positive shared learning experience when we show you how to share and learn with the rest of the group.

All learning and projects have a clear direction, with clear goals. With a lot of demonstration, and handouts, students are encouraged to constantly think about and review their outcomes, and the whole studio process is dependent on work in class, and on delivery of outcomes by students, to enable reflective process and deep learning. The studio process involves a lot of making and guided peer discussion of learning outcomes. Students rapidly gain confidence in a safe and supported learning environment, where no one feels judged, and everyone is encouraged to speak their mind.

It’s all about setting out on new adventures, exploring new unchartered terrain, and in doing so taking on all that is new. For those with some manual experience, it is about refining skill sets up to a whole new and better level. Just as the old explorers gathered gold, and spices to create new cuisine, and build their empires, the retinue of knowledge and skills that you accumulate early will be utilised to help you to craft your own professional custom typeface.

In our fast paced digital age, we teach the importance of craft so that you are sensitive to sound typographic forms and construction. You will understand the valuable moments that tailored letterforms can create within the rhythm of a wordmark. You will grow to understand why all the old traditions of hand drawn letters and print are more valuable today than ever before via:

  • Slow typographic knowledge based on penmanship
  • Type Classifications & Families and how to use them
  • Type as Visual System
  • What makes a beautiful (or rational) font?
  • Typography and Critical Theory

During the final phase of the course students then use their toolbox of skills and findings to build their own professional custom Typeface. At this stage of the Coursework, students also work with special invited guest critics and designers to help them refine their typeface to the highest professional standard. They are also taught how to market their typeface, culminating in a final exhibition and review of student works with invited guest critics (to be announced at a later date).

In an era when everyone is a “brand”, what is a brand? Each student will need to think about the branding purpose of their type design project, and create an integrated identity system centred around its typographic theme to help promote their new font. This project places the student at the centre of their own learning experience, working on a fun practical project which enables an understanding of how notions of type as identity are central to what we do as typographers and type designers. Simultaneously, students will be refining the essentials of typographic detail and precision.

Upon Completion

You will have the following skills and knowledge:

  • Deliberate skill building method to continue with Lettering and Calligraphic Arts
  • Professional Hand Drawn Lettering technique
  • Roman Capitals proportion and rythym
  • Foundation Hand
  • History of Type Classification Systems and how they integrate into current Type and Lettering systems
  • Efficient letter vectoring practice
  • Type as Modular System
- Signwriting techniqe
  • Designing and constructing a modular typeface
  • Designing and constructing a a display typeface
  • Designing a Professional Typeface Specimen
- Use of Glyph font design and editing software
  • Exhibiting promoting and showcasing Typography
  • Giving and receving critical appraisal of Type and Lettering Design Projects

Class times

Monday to Friday 9.30 – 4.30


Laptop with adobe suite, digital camera (iphone is ok), A copy of “Glyph” type design software. This can be purchased through the school for a discounted price.


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 for international and interstate students will be conducted over Skype.

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