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There are few things less desirable than a summer vacation spent at the beach or strolling around Central Park. No one should be entitled to such torture, especially with the abundance of summer programs that can get one out of their creative vacuum and add to their capacity to appreciate culture. Here’s a line-up of five mind-expanding courses to take to brush up on your design, language, and filmmaking skills.

Design Writing and Research

SVA, New York City


June 6—17
Tuition: $2,250
To apply: Work sample, and statement of purpose

Participants will be introduced to a range of techniques for constructing compelling narratives about images, objects, and spaces. You will experiment with different research methods, writing formats, and complete several projects across media, including a collaboratively produced publication. Apply now.

About the instructor
Adam Harrison Levy
 is a writer and freelance documentary film producer and director. He specializes in the art of the interview. For the BBC he has conducted interviews with a wide range of actors, writers, musicians and film-makers including Meryl Streep, Philip Glass, and Paul Auster.

Information Design Course by Edward Tufte

New York Marriott Marquis, New York City


June 23
Tuition: $420

A design classic, this course on statistical graphics, charts, and tables is crafted to elevate your understanding of data visualization and teach you to use your ink efficiently to communicate as clearly as possible. Editing and improving graphics. The data-ink ratio. Time-series, relational graphics, data maps, multivariate designs. Detection of graphical deception: design variation vs. data variation. All that nerdy stuff. Apply now.

About the instructor
Edward Tufte is a statistician and artist, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science at Yale University. He wrote, designed, and self-published 4 classic books on data visualization. The New York Times described ET as the “Leonardo da Vinci of data,” and Business Week as the “Galileo of graphics.”

Mechanics of Typographic Space

Cooper Union, New York City

June 1—July 20
Tuition: $760

Typography has become the essential way of communicating language, but the mechanics involved in crafting elegant typography can sometimes seem mystifying. The key to good typography is an understanding of space. Through lectures, assignments, demonstrations and discussions this course will help build a strong grasp of the mechanics which make for good typography. Students will learn strategies in type selection, of mixing type, and an understanding of typographic grids. Apply now.

About the instructor
Alexander Tochilovsky is a graphic designer, typographer, curator and educator, with nearly 20 years of professional design experience, and 10 years experience teaching typography. He graduated with a BFA from The Cooper Union, and holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Filmmaking Intensive

New York Film Academy, New York City


July 16—August 8
Tuition: $3,300

The Four-Week Workshop provides students with a thorough introduction to the foundations of film craft. Many students find the one-month length fits conveniently into their yearly schedules. The workshop is a full-time program. Students must be prepared to make a serious commitment to its completion. Apply Now.

Book Design

RISD, Providence, RI


June 27—July 8
Tuition: $2,675

This course includes basic information about book typography, grids and structures, proportions, formats and binding. We review many excellent examples of book designs and their strategies. Apply Now.

About the instructor
Douglass Scott teaches graphic design, exhibition design, typography and graphic design history at the Rhode Island School of Design (since 1980) and teaches graphic design and design history at the Yale University School of Art (since 1984). Since 1978, Scott has given over 150 lectures on the history of design and printing, as well as his own work, at various colleges, universities, and symposia.

Still from Kill Your Darlings (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

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Designer & photographer based in New York City