TypeJuly - Mark van Wageningen (Novo Typo)

Type and color

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Type and color


July 2022 (TBC)




Chromatic, type, design


Students MA/BA Type design, Typography, Graphic Design, Editorial design.

Who can apply

Everyone with an obsessive interest in type design or typographic design.

Knowledge/experience required

Basic drawing skills and basic experience in Adobe Illustrator / InDesign / Photoshop and or Glyphs are desirable.


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

Why do type designers traditionally think in black and white? The world is colorful, the web is colorful, Hollywood does not produce any black-and-white movies anymore... Only type designers continue to think in these restrictive terms. Why?

Typographers today are living in the Golden Age of design. Let us open up our imagination and add some color in our letters. Readability and legibility are highly overrated approaches in modern typographic communication. Join us for a workshop of construction and deconstruction of the basic shapes of letters.


This workshop invites you to reconsider this traditional black and white approach in typographic design. ‘Less-Is-More’ modernism has become a hollow phrase which illustrates a conservative approach to typographic design. This workshop will start with deconstructing the basic shapes of a character and will end with the transformation from a static to a dynamic form. However, everything we will make will be in Full Color. Color is the new Bold!


Participants should bring their own laptop with Adobe Illustrator / InDesign / Photoshop and or Glyphs installed. The school will supply the necessary drawing materials, though the participants are welcome to bring their own.

First we start with sketching a systematic grid which can be used as a blueprint for a chromatic typeface. Can we deconstruct a typeface with color? What is the difference between high and low contrast in form and in color? Which colors do you choose? What are the basic color theories? How are font size and color contrast connected? What are the three parameters of a multicolored typeface design? As a graphic designer or typographer, your primary task is to organize information. Can color be a helpful tool in the editorial organization of text? Can we transform a letter from static to a dynamic image? Will color be the new Bold?

This workshop will have a strong focus on design-research, drawing, sketching and experimenting with color and type. As a result we will focus on construction and deconstruction within this concept and will not necessarily end with a completed and finished design product. It will be awesome!

Founder of Novo Typo, a (typo)graphic design studio and font foundry in Amsterdam. In January 2015, Mark started the Typewood project. Typewood is a research project about designing, deconstructing, and transforming multicolored digital typefaces into wooden type for letterpress.

Ziza, a corresponding project with lead type, followed in 2016. Both projects show the future of multicolored typeface design through the revitalization and deconstruction of typographic traditions. Mark wrote a number of books about chromatic type design such as the Novo Typo Color Book (2017) and Color and Type (Princeton Architectural Press, 2019). As a self-proclaimed ambassador of multicolored typography, van Wageningen lectures on polychromatic type design at a number of international design conferences and festivals.

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