Cooper Union’s Foundation Building

Cooper Union’s Foundation Building

Most of the Typographics programming will take place at Cooper Union, in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Founded as a tuition-free college by philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, the school is the alma mater of many noteworthy typographers and lettering artists including Herb Lubalin, Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, and Lou Dorfsman. Cooper is home of the Type@Cooper typeface design program as well as the Herb Lubalin Study Center, an archive of modern graphic design.

The Great Hall at Cooper Union

The Great Hall at Cooper Union

The Typographics lectures will be held in the historic Great Hall, inside Cooper’s Foundation Building at 7 East 7th Street. Since 1859, the Great Hall with its 859 seats has been a venue for a wide variety of historical speakers, including US presidents from Lincoln and Grant to Clinton and Obama.

Conference workshops will take place across the street at 41 Cooper Square. Completed in 2009, the building designed by Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis is one of the most unusual buildings in the East Village, with a unique modernist façade.

Here’s a map of Cooper Square, with the Foundation Building to the north and 41 Cooper Square to the east:

Where to stay

Hotels with discounts

  • Hotel On Rivington: Sleek modern design, skyline views, most rooms and suites feature unique appointments such as balconies, deep soaking tubs, steam showers and/or floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Typographics attendees are offered a preferred rate of $285.00 plus tax per night for reservations between June 8th to 18th, 2015. Preferred rates will only be available until May 8th, 2015. For the preferred reservation rate use this discount link.
  • The Ludlow Hotel: Weathered and comfortable, covered garden for outdoor dining and cocktails. Typographics attendees are offered a preferred rate of $235 plus tax per night for the Studio Queen and $275 plus tax per night for the Studio King. There are a limited number of rooms available at these rates, so make your reservations sooner than later. Reservations must be booked directly with the reservations team. Email reservations@​ and mention the special “Typographics Conference” rate.

Other suggestions

  • The Type Directors Club Switchboard: A good place to ask other designers about housing (or couch surfing).
  • Airbnb: Homesharing website with plenty of options in NYC. Can be very affordable if you split a multi-room apartment with a group of people.
  • Ace Hotel: Designer friendly, dimly lit, shabby chic.
  • The Standard, East Village: Not cheap but very nice. Right next door to Cooper Union.

What to do

New York is one of the largest centers of graphic design and typography in the world. A home to several hundred design studios, it offers many options for typographic tourism. Here are just a few local suggestions.

Graphic Design

  • The Herb Lubalin Study Center: An archive of modern graphic design, with a collection of original work by many eminent graphic designers as well as books, posters, magazines, and type-related ephemera. Open by appointment.
  • The Type Directors Club: The leading international organization dedicated to typography, regularly hosting lectures and other events.
  • AIGANY: Organizes frequent design events and exhibitions.

Books & Printing

  • Printed Matter: Organizer of the NY Art Book Fair. Both a bookstore and non-profit organization promoting publications made by artists.
  • The Strand: Giant independent bookstore first opened in 1927, with “18 miles of books”. It’s not unusual to find rare design books here for cheap.
  • Bowne & Co. Stationers: A 19th-century-style letterpress shop and gift store operated by the South Street Seaport Museum. New York’s oldest operating business under the same name and home to one of the largest collections of ornamental letterpress type in the US.
  • The Arm letterpress studio: A public access letterpress shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Offers classes and press rental.
  • Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library: Free and open to the public, houses one of the most impressive collections of type specimen books in the world. (Tip: Browse their catalog online and make a list of things you want to see before going.)
  • The Morgan Library & Museum: World-renowned library with a large collection of early printing and and illuminated manuscripts. During the Typographics conference it will host an exhibition dedicated to William Caxton.
  • The Grolier Club: The oldest bibliophile club in North America and home to a vast library of books about printing and typography. Regularly hosts public events and exhibitions, can be visited by non-member researchers by appointment.



  • Coney Island: Filled with colorful sign painting, amusement rides, and hot dogs.
  • West 45th Street, Theatre District: Despite the mobs of tourists, this is perhaps the highest concentration of signs with lightbulb lettering in the city.
  • Green-Wood Cemetery: One of the first rural cemeteries in America, filled with interesting examples of stonecarved lettering. A giant cemetery and final resting place for many notable people like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Bernstein, and Cooper Union founder Peter Cooper.
  • New York Neon: A wonderful source for finding neon signs around the city. Also has a great companion blog.
  • C-Rock: Gigantic 60-foot tall letter C painted on a cliff just across the Harlem River from the northern tip of Manhattan. Also a popular spot to jump into the Harlem River. You’ll see it if you take a Circle Line boat tour.