If you're fascinated by type fonts and styles and have an aptitude for design, then a career in computer or digital typography may be right for you. Read on for more information about career possibilities, salary potential and educational options for computer typographers.
As a computer typographer, you'll select fonts, format text and layout the pages for a variety of print- and Web-based materials. You might work for a commercial printer, magazine, newspaper or other publishing company. Some computer typographers work as independent contractors. Knowledge of typography and layout skills might also qualify you for a position as a prepress technician, printing press operator or graphic designer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of graphic designers is expected to increase by 7% nationwide, or slower than average, between 2012 and 2022. Opportunities for printing workers in general, including prepress technicians, will decrease during the same 10-year period.
As reported by the BLS, in May 2012, graphic designers earned a mean annual wage of $48,730. As of May 2012, prepress technicians and printing press operators earned $39,020 and $36,090, respectively (www.bls.gov).
While some schools offer programs in computer typography and the use of composition equipment, training can typically be found through certificate and associate degree programs in computer graphics. Courses in computer typography can provide you with information about type styles, typesetting, design theory and graphic communications. Page layout and text formatting methods might also be covered, in addition to the history of typography and type. Individual programs may provide training in the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software.
You could also pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications Design, which would allow you to study typography through a cross-disciplinary approach. Core coursework can include training in drawing, design and illustration, along with topics in typography and typographic design. Similar courses may be found in an undergraduate program in publication design, which can include the study of computer graphics, editorial styling, graphic design and Web development.
At the graduate level, a Master of Science in Communications Design program can provide you with the opportunity to pursue advanced coursework in graphic design, media studies and typography. In general, your course of study may include topics in art history, digital design and visual communications. Most programs culminate in a master's thesis.