Early Letterform


Shianne Yang. Early Letterform. Type studies.

Christal Reed. Early Letterform. Type studies.

Emily Martin. Early Letterform. Type studies.

Aida Alarcon. Early Letterform. Type studies.

Level: ,
Duration: 3 weeks
Category: ,
Filed Under: , , , , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Originally created by the Cooper Union, I wanted to repurpose the project for our introductory graphic design course. This project was to help students review the design process, learn new printing methods, and revisit copywriting to produce a final design without the use of imagery.

Firstly, students had to pick a letter based on either Phoenician or Greek alphabets, write and proofread a 100-word paragraph, then design 3 distinct compositions that respectively explore symbol, display, and text type. These two-dimensional compositions needed to include all the text and explorations to multiple solutions were encouraged. Throughout the project, students were to only use one of these 5 classical typefaces that include Garamond, Baskerville, Bodoni, Century Expanded, or Helvetica.

Learning Objectives

This project was:

  • to help students review the design process
  • review printing methods
  • allow students to revisit copywriting to producing a final design.
  • challenge students to work within limitations (specifically with type and no imagery)


3 prints, trimmed to 10x10 inches.


Thinking with type


NOT RECOMMENDED for high school - this is an introduction to typography at the collegiate level. At first, students found this project difficult, as they were accustomed to working with both type and imagery. Their challenge was to think typographically, which prompted them to create intriguing compositions. Some even thought this method was a better way of exploring grids and visual hierarchy with type. After a couple of semesters, students started getting better at designing the spreads. 

Related projects