Type Design with Troy Leinster


Sat 13th March, 2021


Online Event

Type Design Workshop

A ten-week exploration of the systems and processes of making a typeface.

About this Event

Learning the skill of typeface design is not only a great addition to a graphic designers skillset, but also a rewarding way to express yourself through the work you create. A hands-on experience will train your eye to see space, proportion, and weight—enhancing lettering projects, logo design, and custom type.

Join Troy Leinster for a ten-week exploration of the systems and processes of making a text or display typeface. During the course you will be introduced to different contrast models, idea generation techniques, sketching methods, and how to use a font editor to draw and space your font. Upon completing the course you will have a good understanding of the key elements of typeface design and be on your way to completing your first typeface. Bring your own font editor, or we'll provide you with a full one year license to RoboFont.

Your learning process will include:

  • Ten weekly 3-hour interactive online group sessions which will introduce key concepts and include work time and live feedback.
  • Homework between sessions, completing assigned explorative tasks and working through project specific reviews.
  • Weekly one-on-one reviews with Troy.

Beginners with a good knowledge of Bézier drawing tools are welcome, as are more experienced designers, and those interested in developing a type portfolio for application to further type design studies. This course is content rich and we recommend you allocate an additional 3 hours of project time per week to gain the most from your experience. Due to the interactive nature of the course, it will be limited to 16 students.


  • Experience using Bézier drawing tools, ie: Adobe Illustrator

Required Materials:

  • Black calligraphy ink
  • Pointed nib, and Broad nib (3mm)
  • Nib holder
  • A3 or A4 bleed-proof marker paper
  • Black Sharpie
  • White out correction pen

Required Software:

  • Mac OS X 10.10+
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Zoom

B&W laser printer is recommended for printing work sheets and templates


Sat, March 13 – Sat, May 22, 2021 (Excluding Easter Saturday) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm (AEDT)


Members: $1020
Public: $1275

AGDA Member Discount

AGDA Members receive 20% discount.
Click here to access the AGDA Member Discount code.

A Reserved Ticket

A free ticket has been reserved for an enrolled graphic design student of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher on institution letterhead to be considered.
Submit letter to [email protected]

Ben Kirk - Senior Designer, Melbourne, Australia.
I would highly encourage anyone interested in learning type design to do this class. It taught me the skills and concepts needed to be accepted into the [email protected] Condensed Program where I will be able to further my type education. I found Troy’s teaching style and professional experience in the field extremely beneficial. In fact, I got so much out of it that I took his class twice. The first time around I was able to get a good introduction to type design and start my first ever type project. The second time, I was able to deepen my understanding of these principles and apply those techniques to a new typeface. Troy is an expert and if you’re thinking about a career in Type Design, or have any interest in it at all, take this class.

Kevin Smith - Product Design at Facebook, New York, NY.
It is rare to find someone who is an accomplished typeface designer and an exceptional teacher at the same time. Simply because someone is knowledgeable about a subject doesn’t mean they will be successful in a classroom. Craft and instruction are two different skills. Troy is one of those truly unique people who have both. Working in one of the most well-known and respected foundries in the world, Troy delivers type theory, fun, and an extensive amount of on-the-job experience to the classroom. Cooper Union is very lucky to have him teaching. I am fortunate to have had the chance to be Troy’s student. Through the work I did in his course, I dared to apply and be excepted to [email protected] and graduate in 2020.

Lacey Hamann - Graphic Design Student, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This course was the perfect experience to get started designing type. I am a student, and the plan is to create a typeface for my upcoming undergraduate thesis. I was hoping to get some knowledge under my belt before the approaching semester. This class certainly achieved that goal– and more. I am most grateful for the weekly individual feedback from Troy. Every refinement he suggested elevated my type proof, and with every mistake, I learned how to advance my type skills. Bonus: the last project is developing a type specimen, which I can now add to my portfolio for graduation!

Jesse Reed - Order / Standards Manual / Standards / Chip Slip Brooklyn, NY.
My background in brand / identity design has always kept me interested and envious of the process involved to design type. I often use, modify, or commission custom typefaces for my clients, but I wanted to personally investigate the act of creation—if not to put into practice myself, at the very least appreciate the skill and craft that’s required. Troy’s class started from the basics, but quickly and methodically got us into a technical space of seeing our sketches becoming a working reality. My experience was therapeutic, informative, and immensely gratifying.

Michelle Webster - Design / UX / Development / Typography Minneapolis, MN.
I had high expectations for Principles of Typeface Design, and the class exceeded them! The material was well-paced, with a logical sequence. The assignments were challenging and exciting to take on. I learned so much from the one-on-one reviews of my type with my instructor, Troy Leinster. Initially, I wondered how a hands-on topic like type design would fare in an online format. However, I felt fully supported as I worked through the challenges of my type, without being pushed in any particular direction. Support for technical questions and advice on troublesome letterforms was readily available from Troy and the very excellent, knowledgeable teaching assistants between classes. For me, there were three key takeaways. I made a font I’m very proud of. I now feel confident in my general understanding of how type is made, from concept to construction. I have a good grasp of font making software. Overall, Principles of Typeface Design was one of the best educational experiences I’ve had, in a classroom or online.

Jaamal Benjamin - Graphic Designer, New York, NY.
Troy’s Principles of Typeface Design Workshop was the greatest introduction to Type Design. I attended Troy’s workshop with no prior knowledge of typeface design. Now, I help students develop their own typefaces as a teaching assistant at the Cooper Union. I was very inspired by projects of advanced students in the workshop, particularly one who had taken Troy’s workshop a couple of times. So, I signed up for the workshop again. Troy’s Principles of Typeface Design Workshop provided the practice, the support and the foundation to my journey in Type Design. Thanks to the help of Troy and his team, I’m currently a student in the [email protected] Extended Program.
Portrait of Troy Leinster

Troy Leinster

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Troy Leinster is an Australian typeface designer working in New York City. He holds a Masters Degree in Typeface Design from the Type & Media program at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, and is a graduate of the [email protected] Program at Cooper Union in New York.

Over the past 7 years, Troy has been a full time typeface designer at Hoefler&Co in NYC, his projects have included retail typefaces such as the Ringside superfamily, Peristyle, Isotope, Operator Mono, Cesium, and Decimal. Troy has accumulated over ten years of typeface design experience, and is in his fifth year teaching the Principles of Typeface Design course at Cooper Union in New York.

Prior to studying typeface design, Troy owned and operated a design studio in Brisbane after graduating with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design & Advertising from CATC. His business operated from 1996-2009, with notable clients such as Lion Nathan Australia, working on promotional activities and packaging for Becks, Heineken, Tooheys, XXXX, and Hahn.