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TYPEFACE -

The Art of Letters

SEASON 5 | PROJECT 4/35  |  01.04.24

MODULE:  Drawing

GRADE LEVELS:  1 - 6

DURATION:  1 Hour

MATERIALS:  Paper, Pencil, Eraser, Black Pen, Colors (ink pens, colored pencils, crayons, Ruler

CLICK ICON TO DOWNLOAD PROJECT GUIDE PDF

Video Editing by Jorge Davies, Graphics by Melissa Sabol

JOURNAL PROMPTS

Journal Prompt #1.heic
  • Word Illustrations. Choose a word that describes YOU! What kind of font best expresses this word? Pick a few words and try them out on the page. Add color and see if that changes the feeling of the word.​

  • Typography Picture. Use words to create a picture. It can be a landscape, a self portrait, or something more abstract. Write words in different colors, sizes, and fonts to create the image. If you’re still practicing how to write, just use your name!

Journal Prompt #2 IMG_3364.JPG
Journal Prompt #2 IMG_3365.JPG
Journal prompt #1 (1).heic

Typography is the design and appearance of written letters. It can be found everywhere – in books, art, movies, cereal boxes, t-shirts, etc. Typography is used to create an impression on the viewer and strengthen a message. The way letters appear can drastically shape the mood and appearance of words. Using typography techniques, students will explore how to express themselves using their name and different typefaces. This project allows an opportunity for students to reflect their individuality and demonstrate the way they see themselves through the design of letters and words.

Overview

OVERVIEW

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

Gives a foundational understanding of typography and design

Learn how design can affect viewers’ perceptions

​Encourages exploration of words and letters through different styles of writing

An opportunity for self-expression through words and letters

Builds on spacial awareness as students decide how and where to place letters on a page in relation to one another

Experimentation with different colors and patterns and how they work to reflect a certain feeling

Encourages experimentation with font styles for impact

Material

MATERIALS

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Eraser

  • Black Pen

  • Colors (ink pens, colored pencils, crayons)

  • Ruler

INSTRUCTIONS

Instructons

1.  Warm-Up:  

We are going to start by writing our name in three different typeface categories:

Sans Serif - stick letter with no feet

Serif - stick letter with feet

Script  - curly

2.  Brainstorm:

What do you want your Typeface to say about you? What is your style? What is your personality?

Basic Typefaces-03.png

Other things to consider...

  • Will you use capital letters or lowercase letters or a combination of both?

  • Are the letters tall or short?

  • Are the letters big or small?

  • How big are the spaces between the letters? 

  • And...Where will you place these letters on the page?

Think about placement...

If you want to center your name on the paper, find the middle of the paper, either eyeball it or fold in half. Count how many letters are in your name. If it’s an odd number put the middle letter in the center, if it’s even, draw half of the letters on one side and half of the letters on the other...working your way from inside to outside. If it’s ART, R will be in the center, A to the left and T to the right.

3.  Draw Your Name as a Decorative Typeface:

Create Skeleton:  Sketch out stick letters of where you’d like to see the letters of your name.

This is called the skeleton.

Typography_mas-04.png

Option 1 - Block Letters: Trace a hard edge all around the stick letter, then erase the skeleton centers.  And then try one or more of these embellishments...

Typography_mas-05.png
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Block with Serif:  Draw a block letter, add feet and connect with the edge with a half circle, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter.

Typography_mas-07.png

Block with Shapes (horns/wings/triangles/stars):  Draw a block letter, add shapes on to end points, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter.

Typography_mas-08.png

Block with Shadow:  Draw a block letter, imagine the sun is coming from one direction and create a dark strip on the opposite side of the letter. Do this for each piece of the letter, erase skeleton, trace the letter.

Typography_mas-09.png

Block with Pattern (cross-hatch):  Draw a block letter, erase unnecessary lines, add a crosshatch, trace exterior line. 

Option 2 -  Bubble Letters:  Draw a smooth, rounded racetrack all around stick letter, then erase the skeleton centers.  And then try one or more of these embellishments...

Typography_mas-10.png
Typography_mas-11.png

Bubble with Shapes (drips):  Draw a bubble letter, add shapes on to parts of the bubble, erase the unnecessary lines, trace the letter

Typography_mas-12.png

Bubble with Shadow:  Draw a bubble letter, find midpoint and draw a thick line shadow on the left side of each piece, erase unnecessary lines, trace the letter. 

Typography_mas-13.png

Block with Pattern  Draw a bubble letter, add in-line stripes. Trace the lines

Outline and Color:  Trace your lines and outline in black ink. Erase any remaining pencil lines. And finally add lots of color! 

TIPS & TRICKS

Tips

Draw your skeleton lightly so that it’s easy to erase.

Have a good eraser

A ruler can help you line up your typeface.

EXPERIMENT

Experiment

Try taking three of your qualities or personality traits, and using your full name, turn each one into a typeface for your First, Middle, and Last name.

Do you have a pet? Pick something about your pet, and try a typeface that describes your animal friend, using their name.

Artists to Know

ARTISTS TO KNOW

Joan Brossa
Joan Brossa was a Spanish artist, graphic designer, poet, and playwright who only wrote his work in the Catalan language. Brossa was one of the leading proponents of visual poetry in Catalan Literature. Visual poetry incorporated graphic and visual design elements to convey its meaning. Brossa is a typeface that is based on the typefaces that were used by Joan Brossa in his visual poems.

sabeenakarnik.com, 2010, paper

Alex Trochut
Alex Trochut is a Spanish graphic designer, artist, illustrator, and typographer. He was born into the typesetting trade, as his grandfather, Joan Trochut, was a well known typesetter as well. As a designer, Alex has worked with many big brands and artists, including Nike, Katy Perry, Patagonia, and many more. When it comes to typography, Trochut believes that it has two functions. The primary function is the word’s design and how we view it, reading is secondary. Trochut’s love for design encourages him to view language as a visual medium, playing and experimenting with words so that they become a type of visual expression.

Alex Trochut, N.D., https://levineleavitt.com/artist/alex-trochut/#

SebeenaKarnik1.JPG

Sabeena Karnik
is a graphic designer and illustrator from Mumbai, who specializes mainly in paper typography. That is to say, she creates type and letters by hand using only paper, which is the primary thing that sets her work apart from other typographers. She says that this “evokes many reactions from the viewer, especially because it is all handcrafted by me and nothing is done digitally”.

sabeenakarnik.com, 2010, paper

NicolaYeoman1.JPG

Nicola Yeoman
 A still life typography artist was born in Yorkshire, United Kingdom and moved to London in 2001. She worked at the Guardian as a picture editor while studying furniture at Guildhall University. Her combined love of photography and her practical skills as a designer led to an accidental career as a set designer. She grew up on a farm in North Yorkshire which had a big influence on her work. She uses a wide array of different materials as well as everyday and discarded objects.

Nicola Yeoman, 2012, mixed media/typography

SeanUa2.JPG

Seen Ua

Commonly known as ‘the Godfather of Graffiti’, Seen was not one of the first on New York’s graffiti scene, but he has remained active one way or another since he started in 1973.

He first gained recognition for painting the subway, including dozens of whole cars, some of which are featured in Subway Art. Seen has used various mediums throughout his career including canvas, 3D sculpture and tattoos.

 

Seen Ua, 1983, aerosol on canvas

VOCABULARY

Vocab

Typeface/Typography:  The strategic arrangement of type in order to make written language readable and visually appealing.

Font: A set of displayed or printed characters of a specific size and style. Fonts can be printed or digital.

 

Serif: A group of fonts that have little strokes or lines tacked on the ends of each letter. They are sometimes called feet. They look like this. Traditional, older style, and classic.

 

Sans serif: A group of fonts without the little strokes or lines tacked on to the ends of each letter. In other words, these fonts don’t have feet. Just like this font. Modern, sleek, simple, clean, and bold.

 

Script: This group of fonts resemble handwriting. Cursive, fluid, calligraphic, and playful.

 

Decorative: Decorative fonts are unique and uncategorizable. These fonts can be absolutely anything, such as bubbles, shapes, patterns, and shadows.

 

Italics: A style of typeface in which the letters are slanted to the right. 

 

Bold: A style of typeface that is heavier and darker than what is usual.

 

All Caps: Text or font that only contains capital letters and no lowercase.

 

Mixed Caps: Text or font that uses both uppercase and lowercase.

 

Small Caps: Letters that resemble capital letters but are similar in size to lowercase letters.

 

Camel Case: When a compound word or phrase is smooshed together to make one word. In camel case, each separate word is indicated with a capital letter. JustLikeThis.

 

Subscript: Typeface that is made smaller than the surrounding script and is placed slightly below the regular type.


Super Script: Typeface that is made smaller than the surrounding script and is placed slightly above the regular type.

Skeleton:  a stick letter sketch of the letters you are going to design.

Embellishment:  a decorative detail or feature added to something to make it more attractive.

Reading

READING

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