Making COMD 1127: Type and Media Writing-Intensive


Lyubava Kroll

Integrating Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) principles into COMD 1127: Type & Media has been a transformative experience, emphasizing the deep connections between writing and typography.

Type & Media presented a unique opportunity to teach students, for whom this is their first exposure to typography, that the study of letterforms goes hand-in-hand with writing and communication. Typography is not simply about arranging letters on a page, it’s about conveying meaning, tone, and information effectively. Writing, similarly, is about clear communication. Together, these skills are essential for effective design.

The Role of Writing in Design Education

Designers frequently interact with clients and collaborators who do not have a design background. Writing helps designers articulate their ideas clearly and persuasively. Designers must be able to explain their design choices and elaborate on complex visual concepts. When teaching Type & Media, I strive to ensure that freshmen students not only master the technical aspects of typography but also develop their ability to express ideas effectively through writing.

Writing-intensive courses enable students to research, organize, and synthesize information, which is highly integral to the design process. These courses also enhance critical thinking and creativity. Through various writing assignments, students gain experience in finding, evaluating, organizing, and communicating information, essential skills in both design and in broader professional contexts.

Course Modifications and Scaffolded Assignments

For the WAC Faculty Writing-Intensive Certification, I revised the syllabus of COMD 1127: Type & Media to include more scaffolded assignments. This approach ensures that students gradually build their skills and confidence and are well-prepared to advance to further design classes. The assignments are designed to lead into formal projects, altogether providing a foundation of knowledge and practice.

Informal Writing Exercises:

Design Critiques and Personal Reflections: Students engage in informal writing exercises where they react, critique, and analyze typefaces used in various media and reflect on their effectiveness. This helps students articulate their design choices and preferences, enhancing their critical thinking skills.

Process Work & Documentation: Students document their design process for each project, including workflow, challenges, and solutions. This reflective practice is essential for continuous learning and improvement. By the end of the semester, students compile a formal portfolio that includes process work and final projects, supported by a strong written narrative.

Formal Writing Assignments:

Research Essay: Students write a research paper on influential typographers and their work, analyzing the historical and contemporary impact of those design typefaces. These assignments deepen students’ understanding of typography and help them present their findings coherently.

Essay and Presentation: Analytical essay and presentation on important typographic principles and famous designers help students articulate their insights and analyses effectively.

Writing Integration

Incorporating writing-intensive elements into the Type & Media course leads to several key outcomes:

Articulation of Design Concepts: Students learn to articulate their design concepts and decisions using appropriate terminology. This skill is crucial for professional communication with clients, fellow designers, and other stakeholders.

Critical Analysis and Reflection: Writing assignments foster critical analysis of type designs and media applications. Reflective writing helps students evaluate their work and others’, deepening their understanding of typographic principles.

Professional Documentation: Producing detailed reports and documentation prepares students for real-world scenarios where clear communication of design processes and outcomes is essential.

Engagement in Reflective Practice: Design critiques and reflections encourage continuous learning and self-assessment. Students develop a habit of critically analyzing their own work, which is vital for professional growth.


The WAC Writing-Intensive process was immensely beneficial. Working with the WAC Fellow provided practical suggestions for improving writing assignments, especially for design students. The real-time workshops were a great way to connect with fellows as well as other participants.


Integrating WAC principles into COMD 1127: Type & Media has highlighted the intrinsic connection between typography and writing. By emphasizing writing-intensive components, students develop critical thinking, reflective practices, and effective communication skills. These competencies are essential for their success as professional communication designers. The experience has underscored the importance of writing in design education, preparing students for diverse professional opportunities where clear and effective communication is crucial.

With the development of AI, the design field is changing rapidly and, consequently, writing skills are especially important and applicable to adapting with the evolving profession. Writing should not be viewed as merely an additional skill for designers but rather as a fundamental component of the design process, one that enhances designers’ ability to communicate and succeed in their careers. This course revision has reinforced that understanding, benefiting both students and the broader field of design education.


Syllabus: 2024 Fall COMD 1127 – course outline

Informal and formal writing assignments: Informal and Formal Writing Assignments

Grading criteria: Grading Criteria for Type Hero