Go to the main content Arrow right icon
Werkplaats Typografie
Menu Werkplaats Typografie



Werkplaats Typografie facilitates graphic designers in building on the foundation of their skills and knowledge by means of self-directed research, challenging them to always keep asking and answering questions to contribute to society by means of design. This two-year ArtEZ Master's programme is an intentionally amorphous orbit of information, encouraging her participants to explore the work within their work and urging them to identify, grab and create opportunities.

Resilience and resourcefulness

At Werkplaats Typografie, theory and practice go hand in hand to prepare participants for a yet unknown future, as such helping them to develop a resilient and resourceful attitude. Profound reflection, self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship are at the core of the programme, urging designers to query; for there is no such thing as one right way.

  • Research is at the basis of what we do at Werkplaats Typografie, whether in the form of in-depth theoretical analysis through critical reflection, excursions and theses or through self-motivated research in applied art, on content and form, text and image and theory and practice. We believe it is up to the graphic designer as an artistic, intellectual and professional maker to articulate critical questions and to find answers – by means of design, and in close connection to the world outside the walls of the studio. The heart of the curriculum thus consists of individual trajectories and group-initiated research projects, enabling participants to explore their professional identity as a maker and define their position in the field.

  • Meeting the reality of working for external clients is an important part of the two-year Werkplaats Typografie programme. Questions from external parties are not necessarily the ones most designers would delve into of their own accord – but doing so proves to be valuable. During the course, participants get acquainted with the tension of operating within the context of frameworks and (practical) restrictions: technical frameworks, budgets, directives and guidelines. The challenge is to convert any request into a probing question – to consider assignments and jobs as opportunities to apply a personal way of working, and to answer questions in real practice.

  • Master students at Werkplaats Typografie provide possible answers to the questions raised by themselves or external partners. However, that which is eventually assessed will be the designed outcome themselves. Participants therefore work on their ability to translate ideas into work. Materialisation being inherent to the practice of graphic design automatically means that other art and design disciplines are embedded as well – all students are free to include, for example, performance or audio into their work – however graphic design remains the first language of the Werkplaats Typografie.

Curriculum: a freely adaptable framework

The curriculum of Werkplaats Typografie is designed to develop critical awareness, understanding and (design) approach in relation to (cultural) information and its distribution, in order to influence and criticize the current status in (graphic) design. Within it, theory and practice reinforce one another. Together the various curriculum components stimulate participants to explore and exchange different types of information through publishing, production, presentation and communication, or a combination of these.

The programme is set up as a open architecture: a structure in which participants take the lead, initiating projects themselves. Lectures, seminars, meetings, and readings are geared towards self-accountable and independently motivated work and research. Two key elements are central to the course: bringing in the outside world and reflecting on it, and the other way around, going public.

  • One of the core businesses of Werkplaats Typografie is to introduce the professional world into the programme. Guests from different artistic fields are regularly invited to visit the Werkplaats Typografie to review work, give presentations or supervise workshops. During the two years of the master’s programme, participants are encouraged and challenged to investigate the world around them and articulate the characteristics of their own work by regular visiting tutors, critics and guests.

  • Another important part of the programme consists of seeking connection with the reality of design practice: the programme urges students to step outside and introduce their work to the world. The Werkplaats Typografie is often invited to take part in national and international festivals, events or site-specific projects. By visiting museums and going abroad, participants immerse into various contexts, learning to work in different ways and testing their independent practice.

Perceiving at a Low Speed – end of year finals show 2015

Like-minded community of makers

The educational community of the Werkplaats Typografie is built around immense trust and shared responsibility for each other’s development. It continuously evolves and is amorphous by intention, providing space to various kindred spirits: students, alumni, teachers and guests, who not only work and exchange thoughts and perspectives, but also cook together at the workplace. Attention and interaction are geared towards the development of each involved individual: artistically, intellectually, professionally and as human beings, who, as makers and researchers of the future, critically reflect on our environments and networks.


The Werkplaats Typografie is housed in its own building: a former radio diffusion station in Arnhem built in 1937. Participants choose their own workplace in one of the various spaces. The Werkplaats Typografie has her own library, and a kitchen where communal lunches are prepared. Everyone has a key to the building and can use the facilities at any time. In 2020, the Werkplaats Typografie has found a second base for first year students in Het HEM: a new home for contemporary culture, situated in a former bullet factory in Zaandam.

  • Each participant brings their own computer and has access to buy affordable software via ArtEZ (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat). Every working place is connected to the internet, and both a colour laser printer, and a black and white printer. Other available equipment includes an A2 Risograph, scanners, projectors, sound recorders, and professional digital cameras.

  • In addition to the WT-building, participants can use the well-equipped workplaces at the ArtEZ buildings, including photography, screen printing and audio-visual workshops, and the central workshops for wood, metal and plastics. The Werkplaats Typografie has a small collection of books and magazines including typographic manuals, scholarly books, art catalogues and contemporary literature – and an open and digital archive including works made by all participants. Master students are also free to use the ArtEZ media center.


Werkplaats Typografie collaborates with leading designers, artists, curators and peers from various countries. We work together with various partners.

  • Since October 2020, Werkplaats Typografie has opened a unique second location in Het HEM in Zaandam. Due to corona restrictions, we were no longer able to house the growing group of Werkplaats Typografie students in our own building in Arnhem, a radio distribution center from 1938. In the spirit of our distinctive experimental approach, we made a virtue of necessity and searched for an interesting partner – one that would not only be able to house us, but also would be a partner in various other areas. Het HEM, house for contemporary culture in a former bullet factory from 1956, gave us a warm welcome.

    At Het HEM, multidisciplinary art programmes are being developed: programmes that cast a different light on the world around us. The central element herein is a playful and free approach to both making and experiencing art by diverse audiences. Since the reopening in April 2021, students of the Werkplaats Typografie are closely involved in various curated and cross-border programme components and the design of public-oriented communication tools.

  • Werkplaats Typografie proudly accepted the invitation of the renowned art exhibition Sonsbeek as its only visual partner in the exceptional new set-up for the multiannual sonsbeek20—> 24 programme. Bearing in mind the intentions and polyphonic contents of sonsbeek20—> 24 and this year's theme (Force Times Distance: On Labor and its Sonic Ecologies), we proposed a visual identity in which each graphic expression is designed by one or two Werkplaats Typografie designers. The developers had great freedom in interpreting the curatorial concept, leading to powerful design of each component. This way of working resulted in the graphic identity of sonsbeek20—> 24 being multiform: the total of all media is a collectively created representation of the voices and positions of the individual students who took part in creating.