Fonts.com has put together a Fontology curriculum of all things font, broken down in four levels.
Statement from their website: “We realize that students of typography need a strong foundation of knowledge to build a career on, and that professional graphic communicators never stop learning. To that end, we have created the following curriculum to provide a gateway to typographic information and guidance.
The content will help any graphic communicator become a better typographer. It is a guide in the use of type – for students, educators and professional designers. Its guidelines reflect current style, technology, and professional practice presented in a straightforward manner.
Fontology is structured as a workbook and includes a collection of course assets for design educators, a self-education tool for students and a reference source for professional graphic designers. The curriculum is divided into four levels. Levels are divided into three or more modules, each containing several sections. Many sections are available now with new additions on the way.”
Level 1: A Typographic Foundation
A tour of the ground floor where the basics of typeface structure are explored and the beginnings of typographic communication is outlined.
Learn the backstory on the Latin alphabet, take a look at great typography of the last centuries and find out how type was set before it was bits and bytes.
As in any profession, there are basic foundational tools that need to be understood and appreciated before they can be used well. This module will introduce you to the tools we call typefaces.
A type family is a range of typeface designs that are variations of one basic style of alphabet. There are hundreds – maybe thousands – of typeface families. This module will provide information and insight into the most important.
Level 2: Practical Typography
From hardcopy to digital: rules, guidelines and suggestions for creating excellent typographic communication. How to choose the best typefaces, make the best choices for typographic arrangement and create typographic communication that is appropriate to audience and media.
From how to best emphasize copy to determining the optimum line length, this module covers the important aspects of basic text typography. The value of tight, even word spacing and the best way to indicate paragraphs are just two of the many topics covered.
Big type behaves differently than little type. Things like “optical alignment” and “typographic mood” take on new meaning. The sections that make up this module provide a solid foundation for creating good display typography.
The best typography for a hard copy brochure may not be ideal for the Web. Typography for the screen requires a modified set of rules from what many may be familiar with. This module will explore those rules and explain the differences.
Much of what good typography is about is making the right choices. This module will provide the answers for choosing the best typeface for text and display applications, determining whether a project calls for a serif or sans serif typeface, picking from myriad of script typefaces, and many more typographic decisions.
When you think of type, what colors come to mind? Black type on white paper, right? It’s true that much of our daily contact with type is in books, newspapers and magazines, in which text is predominantly set in black ink on white (or light-colored) paper. Black type against a light background is the easiest combination to read. It’s also the least expensive to print. But don’t assume color and type don’t mix; on the contrary, color used well can add focus and energy to your message.
Level 3: Numbers, Signs & Symbols
Guidelines for the correct use of numbers, diacriticals, signs and symbols. The many characters with specific purposes are identified, analyzed, and their uses clarified.
Old style, proportional and tabular numbers will be demonstrated and explained. Fractions and superior and inferior figures will be examined. If it has to do with the typographic handling of numbers, it will be in this module.
Everything from accented characters to Zapf Dingbats is addressed in this module. You’ll learn how and when to use bullets and boxes, where and when to punctuate and the virtues of ligatures. This module is about all the important typographic characters – that are not single letters or numbers.
Level 4: Designers and Details
Guidelines for raising utilitarian graphic communication to fine typography, the fundamentals of type technology, and introductions to the most influential personalities in the typographic community.
“Good typography” is the minimum acceptable solution; “fine typography” is what we aspire to. It includes things like hanging punctuation, using small capitals and creating “invisible” rags. Sections in this module provide the basis for the best typographic design.
Type technology includes machine set metal type, phototype, type for mobile devices and font formats such as OpenType. Typography has always been tied to technology – even Gutenberg’s type was based on a technological breakthrough. This module provides insight into the technology of type from 1450 to tomorrow.
This module provides a link between the past and the present provides some insight into the vitality, dedication, charm – and even fragility – of the makers of our typographic world.