COOPERMADE: Typography Essentials

Typography Essentials

As one of the first art directors to work on a computer at Time Inc.’s Teletext Project and as a professor in the digital design program at The City College of New York, Ina Saltz A'72 knows better than most how typography has both shaped and been transformed by the digital revolution. But as a student of calligraphy, having studied with legendary Cooper professor Don Kunz, her passion for letterforms is rooted in the handmade. Her books reflect those wide-ranging experiences. There is her Body Type series, the first published in 2006, in which Saltz examines extraordinary examples of typographic tattoos and the people who wear them. There’s the chamfer-edged LCD font one man used for a single-word tattoo: EVOLVE. Another of Saltz’s subjects used Angincourt, a serifed font reminiscent of Medieval manuscripts, to put his feelings about his father in words: Le acepto y perdono (I accept and forgive him).
Saltz is a noted design writer who has contributed dozens of essays for publications on type. For her 2009 book, Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working With Type, she pulled back her lens for a wider view of typography, offering readers a compendium of her vast knowledge of type. Divided into four sections—the word, the letter, the paragraph, and the page—the book illustrates important strategies for designing with type by analyzing elements of award-winning published examples. Typography Essentials was updated and revised in 2019. Saltz also co-authored Typography, Referenced: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to the Language, History, and Practice of Typography, named one of the best eleven reference books of 2012 across all subject matter by the American Library Association.

Saltz taught at the prestigious Stanford Professional Publishing Course for fifteen years. She also continues to teach online, authoring and recording eight courses for LinkedIn Learning, a well-known platform for professional training; her courses have garnered almost three million views. She has been a generous sponsor of Cooper’s annual typography festival, Typographics.


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  • 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.