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ART 53 — Calligraphy Design and Norse Runes

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Feb 1—Mar 8
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Feb 3
Unit: 1
Tuition: $365
Instructor(s): Ann Miller
Limit: 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Feb 1—Mar 8
6 weeks
Refund Date
Feb 3
1 Unit
Ann Miller
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
After 2,000 years, the geometric forms and rich symbolism of Elder Futhark runes still influence our daily lives—from Bluetooth to modern magic. In this course, we will cover an introductory history of Norse runes, including the Ogham alphabet, learning their names, meanings, phonetic equivalents, and importance in contemporary design.

Elder Futhark easily engages the visual artist with its angular construction and straightforward design as well as its sense of coded mystery. This course will offer a chance to explore diverse calligraphy methods, focusing on an important part of Anglo-Saxon cultural history that is relevant today. The Bluetooth logo, for instance, is based on the runes for H and B, which form a bindrune referring to Harald Bluetooth, the 10th-century king who unified Norway and Denmark.

Course activities will include constructing the 24 symbols of Elder Futhark; designing runes as word, monogram, or repeated pattern; and creating simple to complex full-page layered designs. Individual projects using ink, resist, and watercolor techniques, as well as a variety of pens and brushes, will build gradually toward creating original text art pages. This course is a unique opportunity to learn more deeply about ancient runes and how to use them, following a classic method for letter and font design to shape your artistic footprint in a fun and inspiring way.

This course is open to students of all experience levels. Students must purchase their own art supplies for this course, the cost of which will depend on students’ individual needs.


Ann Miller teaches calligraphy design at Academy of Art University and has developed 15 unique letterform workshops for San Francisco Center for the Book. She received an MA in art from Stanford. Her work can be viewed at pennib.com.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.