2022_1 | Strategy Studios

S2. Typography International: The ISTD Briefs

Stephen Banham


Studio Inquiry

Every year the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) creates design briefs for students to go up for international assessment in order to foster quality in typographic education and practice. This very special studio has been set up to offer budding typographers an opportunity to respond to these international briefs, rigorously exploring typographic research and design.


This studio course is not just about typographic craft, it is about typographic thinking. The studio require students to undertake research around the chosen ISTD brief, cumulating a deep body of knowledge. There will also be vigorous discussions each week across a range of philosophical and intellectual aspects of typography which students will be expected to contribute. 

Communication of knowledge

The focus of the studio is the relationship between typographic research, thinking and execution. It will involve the translation of research and strategy into ultimately finely crafted typographic form. Your chosen brief will require you to consider the target audience, appropriate outcomes and considerable design development. These will be discussed with both your tutor/s and in class discussions.


In this studio you will have a choice from three of the 2022 ISTD briefs – 'Shaping the World' (The Culture of Books), 'A Colourful Story' (The Power of Colour) or 'Typographic Research Unit' (Design Histories) – one of which will become your core brief. These will be researched, conceptualised and given typographic form throughout the 12 weeks of this course. This studio offers a great deal of creative freedom – for example, there is no set format as this will emerge from research, strategy and design development. It does however have to highly considered, crafted and take physical form. Evidence of process, such as developmental drawings, reference material and technical specifications, will be required.


There will be three assessment tasks, aligning with the parts of the ISTD brief –

1 Research & Strategy
2 Design Development and Final form.
3 SKO worth 30%.

Note: Your RMIT assessment has no bearing on the ISTD assessment should you be chosen to enter.



Studio Partner

The International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD)

Communities of Practice
Designing Experiences, Designing for Social Change, Designing Publications

Through its highly acclaimed Assessment scheme, ISTD engages with universities and institutions across the globe to raise the profile of typography in design education. Our goal is to give both tutors and students the opportunity to explore and develop typography as an inherent part of the design process and thus bring the typographic gesture to the forefront of their design education. Our practice is based upon the printed word but now embraces the gamut of media and technologies that we communicate with. Accordingly, we have progressively written our student project briefs for interpretation through a range of media. How and where we use the written word brings new issues, and also new opportunities to test our skills. First and foremost we are communicators skilfully utilising design to inform, persuade and delight. This makes each project a more demanding yet stimulating exercise.

About Stephen Banham

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