EcTd 2019 class


Expert class Type design

The Expert class Type design course comprises ten lessons in the auditorium of the Museum Plantin-Moretus over a period of roughly three quarters of a year. The purpose of the course is to facilitate students’ exploration and analyzation of the historical and technical (production) aspects of type and typography, to teach them how to design type into detail, to help them to develop an in-depth insight in the process of digital font production, and to support them to gain control over related software.

An important aspect of the course is the direct exchange of knowledge and experience between the students. This exchange is stimulated by a type-revival project on which the students have to work together. The revival is always based on unique historical material from the renowned collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. Besides taking part in the revival project, each student personally has to design a new typeface, whether completely from scratch or being a revival that, for example, is also based on material from the museum’s collection. The course culminates in an exhibition that yearly takes place at the Museum Plantin-Moretus, or occasionally at an exquisite location elsewhere in Belgium or the Netherlands.

This course is taught by type designer, font producer, software developer, and Senior Lecturer Dr. Frank E. Blokland.

Read further >

Open day 2020

Open Day: June 27, 2020

The institute's open day will take place on Saturday 27 June 2020 and this is the perfect opportunity to inform you about the range of courses on offer. There is a teacher and a student present to answer all your pressing questions, you can view some of the teaching materials and the graduation work of our practicals. We will show you how we continued the lessons during the lockdown through remote learning.

This year's edition will be held in three sessions with four participants each. You can also participate in the sessions via Zoom.

Lecturers: Johan Van Looveren will be present in the classroom. Dr. Frank E. Blokland will answer questions via Zoom.

Enthusiastic? Register with an email to and we will make an appointment with you.

Antwerp Summer University

Save the date: Typography summer school 2021

Summer school with Dr. Frank E. Blokland, Dr. Wouter Soudan, Jan Dries, Joost Depuydt, Dr. Goran Proot, Thomas Milo, Walda Verbaenen and Patrick Goossens.

From 23 to 27 August 2021, the Plantin Institute of Typography and the University of Antwerp organize  an international summer school on ‘critical approaches to typography’.  The detailed program and application form will be available at

As you know the rise of desktop  publishing in the second half of the 1980s changed the graphic  landscape completely. Within a decade the highly specialized métiers of the typesetter and typographer were merged in that of the  computerized graphic designer, irrespective of whether macOS, Windows,  or Linux is used. Together with these operating systems came an  increasing number of fonts and today everyone is a typesetter by  definition. However, not everyone is automatically a typographer too,  because typography requires specialist knowledge and insight. New  terms as ‘macro-’ and ‘micro-typography’ have become popular nowadays,  but they are only synonyms for typesetting and typography respectively.

All present-day graphic designers are ‘macro-typographers’, but not too many are also ‘micro-typographers’. Hence, not all of them will be  able to give the answers to questions about, for example, what forms  the basis for the patterning in type, or on what exactly typographic  conventions are based. In the meantime digital typefaces are becoming  more and more advanced and sophisticated. After all, OpenType Layout  features will mostly automatically insert and adjust all kind of  detailed (and technically complex) matters, such as ligature  substitutions, the application of contextual alternates, related  positioning of diacritics, et cetera. For this, in the past the  typographer had to write detailed instructions for the typesetter.  However, to be able to judge and consequently handle the advanced  digital outcomes, a deep understanding of what exactly typography  comprises, remains required.

During the Typography Summer Course at the University of Antwerp, the  fundamental aspects of typography are researched. Since the end of the  1990s Dr. Frank E. Blokland, our senior lecturer, is deeply involved in the development of high-end font tools. Some of these tools,  like OTMaster, will be used at the course for a more detailed look at  digital-font technology. However, one does not have to be technically  savvy at all for this. Furthermore, not only technical but also  optical aspects will be investigated, as well as the (historical)  origin of typefaces, the type designers in question, and in case of  revivals, the (interpretation of the) style periods in which the  original typefaces were made.

In collaboration with the University of Antwerp and the Museum Plantin-Moretus

Antwerp Summer University