Typography: Playing with Type

Typography - The detailed version











Choose one of the two attached fonts to trace. Trace the font until the tracing looks and feels natural to do. Glue or tape your tracings into your sketch book.

            Objective: This is a preliminary exercise that begins to develop your ability to craft typography and improve our ability understand and draw the unique intricacies of each letter.


The Kerning Game



Choose a letter from the alphabet. Use both upper and lowercase forms of this letter (real or invented font) and visually interpret it 70 ways. Consider cropping, touching, overlapping, intersecting, positive/negative space, composition, texture, scale, color, etc. You can use any kind of writing or drawing instrument for this but no computer.


Use the grid template provided


Objective: to encourage compositional play, risk-taking, and experimentation in form; and to test endurance and resourcefulness. The requirement of trying to find so many preliminary ideas can be exhausting. This is the critical point, when attention tends to wander and impatience begins to set in. By simply completing this demanding task, you will begin to believe in your own infinite possibilities.



Create your new project page titled Font DesignNow copy and paste the following as you will need to complete and correctly document these 7 steps on the your design process:

  1. Understand the Problem
  2. Research and Investigate
  3. Generate Possible Solutions
  4. Select AND DEVELOP Best Solution 
  5. Model and Prototype (Create)
  6. Test and Evaluate
  7. Produce


Create an Original Inspired Font Design

  • 2 Weeks (6 class Periods)
  • Understanding Bezier Curves/Pen will be important


Check out any of these:

36 Typography sites I've visited (Feel free to find your own that I could add)





1. Consider what the goal of a Font Design is (how and why?)

  • What is a  Font?
  • What will you be communicating?
  • What is the end responsibility for the assignment?

     Design Process STAGE 2: Research and Investigate

Always record every resource either as a cited source or a linked resource with documentation on your project page.

2. Research Lettering, Font or Type Design thoroughly

  • How do you go about designing a new font?
  • What techniques can be used to create a font?
    • Hand Lettering
    • Scanned elements
    • traced objects
    • digital rendering a refined sketch
    • Understanding Bezier Curves/Pen will often be important
  • Research a variety of font designs
  • Focus on what different fonts have been inspired by?

39 Typography sites I've looked through (Feel free to find your own that I could add)


     Design Process STAGE 3: Generate Possible Solutions

3. Brainstorm ideas for visual imagery representing elements of your topic -- Show your brainstorming as idea webs, clouds, lists, found imagery, small sketches of elements (at least 25 ideas, words, elements required)

  • Are there any nontraditional methods for creating a font you could use
  • Could you use patterns or textures in designs?
  • Will color or values matter?

4. Begin sketching design ideas for a range of letters (upper or lower case).

  • Explore design for all 3 styles in sketchbook:
    • Roman
    • Script
    • Display
  • Choose your style to pursue after research and sketching
    • probably start sketching with this l to construct your first capital letters. HL, which is the base for E, which is the base for F.  Have fun there, now the aDditional feature, the diagonals... Start with the V and the A at the same time. Then play with the N... and a first risky choice... the capital M.
  • Define direct inspiration or concept for your font
  • A-Z, 0-9, & at least 5 special characters or punctuation
  • optional upper or lower case (lower case usually has more character in a font)


     Design Process STAGE 4: Select and Develop Best Solution

5. Select the best solution

  • notate why you have chosen it
  • Finalize a new detailed sketch of best solutions
  • sketch the composition of entire design plan
  • Focus on possible color schemes
  • Document what Principles and Elements you will utilize
  • Carefully consider fonts to be used (beware of crazy display fonts, they are often cheesy!)
  • How will you create hierarchy of information? (Define what is most important and least important in the design)

      Design Process STAGE 5: Model and Prototype (Create)

6. Begin production of your design

  • Artwork must be exactly sized (???) with a resolution of 300ppi
  • Practice, develop or refine new skills you are exploring.
  • Remember Craftmanship matters. It shows you care!
  • All images and illustrations must be original and follow copyright laws
  • Remember to take in-progress screenshots for you project page-required


     Design Process STAGE 6: Test and Evaluate

7. Self-reflect on your design

  • self-reflect and carefully evaluate your successes and difficulties
  • How could you take it further?
  • Ask others for their opinions and document the suggestions whether you agree with them or not.
  • Refine or develop elements of the design that can be improved
  • Consider asking the Captain for a brief In-Progress Critique


     Design Process STAGE 7: Produce

8. Turn in the final .JPG and Print

  • Turn file into the captain's server
  • Get final printed and mounted
  • Finalize Project Page with full self-reflection
    • successes
    • struggles
    • improvements
    • what you learned
  • Fill our grade sheet



COMPLETE: You need a fully finished project page included all scanned sketchbook work with captions. Turn your your finished artwork to the Captain's Server. Finally Paste the URL to your project page below and you may then click complete.

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