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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

DESN2730 Principles of Typography

10 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Dr Paul Wilson

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module provides students with an introduction to typography and the idea of visible language: establishing the discipline as a diverse and fertile site for creative and critical visual/verbal discourse. It outlines historical and theoretical contexts, supplying and defining a broad understanding of type's role and function within our wider, literate society. It examines the interrelationships between theory and practice of and for visible language and is illustrated through discussion and analysis of the work of significant and notable individuals who have made a contribution to the discipline.

Taking its starting point as Johannes Gutenberg's invention of movable type in ca 1439, it will analyse the impact of typography in the (alphabetic) West and, whilst acknowledging formal preconceptions and definitions of typography, will also seek to locate it within broader debates and contexts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of typography's varied and changing contexts
- engage critically with key historical and theoretical developments of visible language
- coherently articulate themes and issues vital to a broader understanding of typography.


Through a series of lectures, students will be introduced to a number of individuals who can be seen to represent and embody a range of aspects, contexts and issues related to and defined by typography and visible language.

Concepts describing typography's development are reviewed and discussed: from the written to the printed word, with key theoretical frameworks outlined.

Particular attention is paid to the relationship between typography and development in language technologies.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours89.00
Total Contact hours11.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Directed reading, 22 hours
- Independent research, 32 hours
- Essay preparation, 35 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via the production of an interim essay plan. Students would be supplied with written feedback for this assignment which would enable the identification of issues within their approach and would clarify and define the essay's critical direction.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Written Work500 word essay plan10.00
Essay3,000 words90.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:35:03


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