Typeface design education from Cooper Union
Capitals ramirez

Capital Letter Breakdown
with Gen Ramírez

Capital letters are ancient wisdom in the modern age; a point where brush philosophy meets Béziers. They can adapt to any trend and come fresh from your font editor still reflecting their millennia-old sources. Understanding the origins of Roman capitals is essential for a successful type design. Awareness of the evolution of letter skeletons is established by an introduction to the letters in their natural environment and by writing them with the original tools: pen and brush.

In this two-day introductory workshop, students will explore the historical roots and anatomy of capital letters. Analyzing the stylistic properties and the structural elements of the Roman capitals gives us a deep understanding of the history and evolution of the Latin script. Importantly, it offers us solid resources to make well-founded creative decisions in the typeface design.

Students will construct letters by exploring their essential geometry and then gradually adding more complexity to their details. As drawings progress, students will have fun practicing variations of the model from the perspective of the legendary hands of Edward Catich, Rudolf Koch and Edward Johnston. And, for the bravest, enjoy experimenting freely with all features at will.

Finally, shifting to the world of mathematic curves to rationalize the practice sheets, organizing them systematically to work towards producing a beautiful and original digital alphabet.


Required Materials



  • 1/2" Flat Brush and any other flat brush you want to try. (We recommend W & N series 995)
  • Sumi Ink or tube of black gouache
  • pencil, eraser, sharpener
  • several sizes of black markers
  • drafting tape
  • 12" ruler (or bigger)
  • laptop or computer with any vector drawing application or font editor (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, Robofont, Glyphs, whatever you have.)
  • a reliable internet connection and the zoom app installed

All times are listed in Eastern US time. Please check to verify the local time at your location.


This class is intended for students in the Extended Program, and space is limited. If places are available, registration for this workshop will open up to the public. For updates and reminders about Type@Cooper offerings and events, please join our mailing list.

Registration is now closed

When:
Sat, February 24 – Sun, February 25, 2024

Number of sessions: 2

Where: Online


About Gen Ramírez

Genramirez 135x180
Gen Ramírez is a typeface designer, graphic designer, calligrapher and sign-painter from Guadalajara, Mexico. His strong interest and passion for brushes and letterforms developed since a young age as he was taught mastery of sign-painting in his father’s workshop. It later led him to graduate from TypeMedia at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague as well as completing both Type@Cooper Extended program in San Francisco and Condensed in New York. He teaches calligraphy, sign-painting, and type design workshops and leads Letrastica Festival, a conference in Guadalajara. With strong roots in an organic approach to letterforms, his work focuses on embracing both the analog and digital dimensions of design. He loves adding a dash of code in there to spice things up too! His work has been recognized by Latin American Typography Biennial in 2016 and 2018.