T-10. The History of Typography

Jill Gage Sasha Tochilovsky

Course Length: 30 hours 
Course Week: 4-9 August 2024 
Format: in person, Newberry Library in Chicago, IL 
Fee: $1,395

This course will provide a general overview of the history of typography and related letterforms in the West from the fifteenth century to the present day. It will cover description and identification of types, including moveable metal type, wood type, type for machine production, and digital type. The course will also aim to place type and lettering within historical, cultural, and political perspectives through a series of case studies that examine the creation, dissemination, and uses of type over the centuries. Topics will include specific printers, type designers, or foundries (e.g., Aldus, Granjon, Caslon, Ludlow); calligraphic influence, type design and language; type specimen books; and historical revivals. This course is intended for students with little or no experience in the history of typography. While the course does cover the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it largely does not overlap with T-60 The History of 19th- & 20th-Century Typography & Printing.

Taught at the Newberry Library, the course will take advantage of one of the best typographical collections in the world and will feature hands-on presentations of materials. Guest speakers, as well as a field trip to a printing studio, will provide students with a further understanding of how typography was (and continues to be) used to shape the way in which we look at books. In their personal statements, applicants should describe their interest in and experience with typography or letterforms (if any), along with how the course might fit into their current work.

Course History

Jill Gage & Sasha Tochilovsky co-teach this course in person.


  • Jill Gage
  • Sasha Tochilovsky

Jill Gage

Jill Gage has been the Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library since 2016. She holds a Ph.D. in English (University of London) and an M.S. in Library and Information Science (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

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Sasha Tochilovsky

Alexander Tochilovsky (he/him) is a graphic designer, typographer, curator, and teacher, with 20-plus years of professional design experience and 15-plus years of teaching. He graduated with a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union and holds an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He is currently Curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography. In 2009, he co-curated the exhibition Lubalin Now, and has since curated several other exhibitions including Appetite, Pharma, Type@Cooper, Image of the Studio, Thirty, Swiss Style Now, and We Dissent. Since 2007, he has taught typography and graphic design at the Cooper Union, Fordham University, City College, and SUNY Purchase. He also teaches the history of typeface design at Type@Cooper, the post-graduate certificate program he co-founded in 2010. He is Co-Director of the annual Typographics conference and created the Lubalin100.com and Flat File digital projects for the Lubalin Center.

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