Typographic Lecture Series


Derek Chan. The Critics, brochure cover.

Derek Chan. The Critics, inside front cover.

Derek Chan. The Critics, interior spread.

Derek Chan. The Critics, order form.

Derek Chan. The Critics, back cover.

Duration: 3 weeks
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Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Design a typographic brochure for a public lecture series. Please propose two different series—we will make the final selection in class.
Each proposal should be written on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11” paper.
Please include: Title + subtitle (for example: BARK! Great Writers on the World’s Oldest Friendship)
Names of the six speakers who will be featured
Brief biographies (100-250 words) for each speaker
1-2 sentence quote (from a critic or review) or short excerpt for each speaker
Speakers may be designers, filmmakers, critics, poets, fiction writers, journalists, dramatists, etc. Speakers should be living and able to travel. I encourage you to choose speakers who are significant in our society—award winning authors, international/domestic politicians, social activists, etc.

Brochure Requirements:

  • The brochure explains and promotes your lecture series to the general public.
  • The brochure is mailed to potential ticket buyers 2-3 months prior to the first event.
  • The brochure is also available at various local venues (bookstores, coffeeshops, etc.)
  • The brochure includes all of the information listed below: General explanation of/introduction to the lecture series (you may add a subtitle if you wish)
  • Dates/place/time for each lecture in the series
  • Speaker bios (minimum 6 speakers; you may also invite pairs—six groups of two, for example)
  • General event/ticketing information + order form

Part 1: Format
Your brochure will be an 8-page self-cover.
The page size may range between 7 x 10" (minimum) to 9 x 12" (maximum).
(We will have an in-class exercise with press size sheets to explore format restrictions.)
The brochure may be designed in 1-color, 2-color, 3-color or 4-color (full color).

Part 2: Organization + Content
Once the page size + page count of your brochure has been determined, create a general thumbnail flowchart, indicating content for each page. This flowchart ensures that the brochure is clearly organized, and that you have adequate space for all the required content. When creating your flowchart, consider how the content can logically be organized and grouped. When you are satisfied with your flowchart, determine a grid structure/typographic palette that Is sensible for the page size and binding method (the program will be saddle-stitched). Specifics on grid structure will be covered in class.

Front Cover:
Must include the title of the lecture series and the speaker names. I strongly encourage you to use “type as image” on the cover.

Speaker Bios/Dates:
The speaker area should include each speaker’s name, bio, lecture date/place/time, and, if you wish, a quote and/or written excerpt. Additional editorial illustration/photography can be included (you must research these images on your own, and these photographs/illustrations must have appropriate resolution). However, keep in mind that this is meant to be a typographic brochure.

Event info/Order Form:
The order form must allow for either the purchase of the entire series (at a discount) or individual tickets. The order form should be functional (the average person should be able to fill in the information with minimal effort). Required text for the order form has been posted on the course website.

Back Cover/address area:
Must include a return address, non-profit organization postage mark, title/subtitle of the series and, if you wish, speaker names.

Learning Objectives

  • To learn how to compose an effective multi-page, grid-based typographic document.
  • To explore hierarchy and legibility within a typographic composition.
  • To explore the creation of typographic images (type as image).


Final Submission: Each brochure spread should be mounted full size on appropriately sized matte black board. The core of the board should be solid black. Consider 15 x 20" black boards unless you’re working with an unusual size. You must also turn in a full-size comp of the brochure, and a PDF file of your brochure (embed all images at the highest possible resolution).


This is an older assignment that I assigned prior to the widespread adoption of mobile phones. I still think it's a useful print typographic exercise, but clearly this kind of information would now need to be accessible online. It could be interesting to ask students to make typographic animations for the entire series and/or each speaker. 

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