Expressive Lettering & Design

Learn the principles of lettering and design from rough idea to concept sketch to digital design

Program Highlights

Understand visual storytelling through lettering.
Explore the basics of calligraphy and learn how historical forms relate to contemporary lettering.
Gain experience creating and refining a visual concept through sketching and design development.
Use drawing tools in Adobe Illustrator to transform a concept sketch to a finished digital file

Residential Tuition:


Session 2:
July 14, 2024 July 26, 2024


Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly SLO - San Luis Obispo, CA


  • "My experience was unforgettable. I enjoyed all the activities, classes, and friends I met. With that being said, Summer Springboard really served as an eye opener for me. SSB has taught me what college will be like, from home sickness to adapting to new environments. In all this was an unforgettable experience and I have no regrets coming..."

    Michael T.

  • "This experience was very rewarding. I gained a lot of independence and really learned a lot, I would definitely to this program again."

    Julia J.

  • "I enjoyed getting a taste of the college experience and meeting new people. Both the mentors and the students were very friendly."

    Mia M.

Course Overview

Are you interested in learning the basics of lettering? Have you seen gorgeous lettering on social media, in ad campaigns, or on clothing and thought “I’d love to be able to do that!”? Would you like to create original designs that feature custom lettering in your own unique style? This course will introduce students to the basic principles of lettering and design. Through hands-on activities, students will dive into the wonderful world of expressive lettering. Exploration of letterforms will happen via observation, calligraphic mark making, sketching, and digital drawing. Students will learn how to transform a rough idea into a refined concept sketch and turn that sketch into a digital drawing that can be used in a wide range of applications.

Meet your instructor

Charmaine Martinez, MFA

Expressive Lettering & Design Cal Poly SLO

Charmaine Martinez teaches graphic design, typography, and book arts in the Department of Art and Design at Cal Poly. She received a BFA in graphic design from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Learn more

Topics you'll explore

Course Structure

There are nine 3-hour class sessions over the two-week course. During week one, students have class from 9am-12pm, Monday - Friday. During week two, students have class from 9am-12pm Monday through Thursday. Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to additional academic time (excursions, speakers).

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Summer Springboard Pre-College Summer Program