Global Writing Systems: A Typographic Survey (Part 1)

Global Type

Cost: $220.00

Instructor(s): Kamal Mansour

REGISTER ONLINE (Registration opens May 2, 2022)

6 Online Sessions. This class will take place online using Zoom. You will need a computer or device and we recommend downloading the Zoom app. 

Wednesdays, June 22–July 27, 2022

12:00PM to 1:00PM 

“Type is how we dress our words before sending them out on the street.”

Typographic text is found nearly everywhere in the world. What was once written by hand, now appears in typographic garb. Written forms took centuries to develop. Because of their prevalence, we’ve grown accustomed to them. Around the globe, various writing systems have adapted in distinct ways to the constraints of typography. Each one has a story to tell. 

Join us for a series of lectures as we explore the typographic stories of some of the most often encountered global writing systems: Latin, Perso-Arabic, Devanagari, Japanese & Chinese, Thai & Burmese. Which languages do they serve? How did they come to take their various forms? What is the logic behind each one? The final lecture will focus on the role of Unicode & OpenType in enabling digital devices to display text in so many languages and scripts? 

By taking a long view of the development of typographic form, you will gain insights into what is familiar, all while learning of other cultures and the intricacies of their scripts. You will also come to understand which digital technologies act as an invisible scaffold that holds up our interconnected world.

Curious about digital typography around the world? Do you need to learn more about working with type in multi-script settings? Native reader or not, typeface designers, graphic designers, typographers, lettering artists, and language enthusiasts will find this class useful and informative.

Required Materials

  • A device with reliable internet and Zoom app

This class will be limited to 18 students. A Zoom link will be shared with enrolled students a day or two before the first session.

Save the date: Wed., Jun. 22, 12:00PM

Course Code: TFDGWS1

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.