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ART 53 — Calligraphy Design and Norse Runes

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Nov 15
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Unit: 1
Tuition: $465
Instructor(s): Ann Miller
Limit: 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 27—Nov 15
8 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
1 Unit
Ann Miller
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
After 2,000 years, the geometric forms and rich symbolism of the Elder Futhark runes continue to influence our daily lives—from Bluetooth to modern magic. We will cover the history of Norse runes, including Elder and Younger Futhark, Anglo-Saxon runes, and the Ogham alphabet, learning their names, meanings, phonetic equivalents, structures, and importance in contemporary design. Elder Futhark easily engages the visual artist with its angular and straightforward construction and sense of coded mystery. This course will offer an opportunity to explore diverse calligraphy methods while focusing on Celtic, Germanic, and Scandinavian cultural history 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 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 hand-lettered design projects using ink, resist, and watercolor techniques, as well as a wide variety of pens and brushes, will guide the student to build gradually toward creating original artwork. This course is a unique opportunity to delve more deeply into ancient runes and how to use them, following basic design principles and a classic grid method that will help shape your artistic footprint in a fun, engaging, 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 is a fine artist, calligrapher, and designer working with figure drawing, painting, calligraphy, and illustration. She received a BA and an MA in art from Stanford, studying fine art with Nathan Oliveira and Richard Diebenkorn, and she founded M2 Design. She has developed courses as an adjunct instructor for the San Francisco Academy of Art and created 15 book arts workshops for the San Francisco Center for the Book, exploring diverse areas such as Afrikan scripts, Antique Secretary Hand, Bone script, Graffiti forms, and Cola Pen gestural writing. Her work has been published in Letter Arts Review, Alphabet, and The Art of Language and can be viewed at pennib.com.

Textbooks for this course:

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