TypeJuly - Cyrus Highsmith (Occupant Fonts)

Thinking with your hands

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Thinking with your hands


July 2022 (TBC)




Letters, stencils, sketchbook, rabbits, monsters, drawing, no laptops, contour, edge, shape, thinking hand


All levels are welcome.

Who can apply

Anyone can apply. Expertise limited mostly to the latin alphabet but students who want to explore additional writing systems are very welcome.

Knowledge/experience required

Lots of energy, an open mind, willingness to be present and participate.


Dates may be modified and courses may be canceled depending on the evolution of the pandemic.

Letters can be drawn in so many different ways. Cyrus Highsmith’s approach is based heavily on the importance of white space and sensitivity to shapes. It’s a method he applies to type design as well as image making of all kinds. For Highsmith, it’s a way of seeing the world. This workshop will be a messy, hands-on, and computer-free exploration of drawing, making, and thinking about letters.


The objective of this workshop is to create a memorable week of drawing letters and making art. It will culminate in a group exhibition of our work.


The school will supply the necessary drawing materials, though the participants are welcome to bring their own. It will be messy. No laptops necessary.

Each day will be 4 hours of working together on a group exhibition of sketches, drawings and prints. We will experiment and play with different ways of drawing and thinking about letters. Techniques may include stencils, screen printing, collage, painting. Participants should be ready for new experiences, experimentation, play, and failure.

Cyrus Highsmith is a letter drawer, teacher, author, and graphic artist. He teaches type design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He wrote and illustrated the acclaimed primer Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals. In 2015, he received the Gerrit Noordzij Prize for extraordinary contributions to the fields of type design, typography, and type education. In 2017, he became Creative Director for Latin Type Development at Morisawa USA. He goes to bed very early.

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