Easy As ABC
|Level:||Foundations, Freshman, Introductory, Non-design Majors, Undergraduate|
|Category:||Graphic Design, Print, Symbols, Type Design, Typography|
|Filed Under:||3-D, Brainstorming, Collaboration, Color Theory, Community College, Composition, Design Thinking, Digital, Education, Experimental, Form-making, Grids, Handmade, Illustration, Photography, Poster, Printed Matter, Production, Sustainability, Technology|
Design a typeface that will be composed from elements in the world around you. Assemble your twenty-six-character alphabet using only found objects or environments of your creation. Letters may be documented through collage, photography, photocopying, digital and/or traditional illustration, and other appropriate mediums.
Avoid documenting elements of existing writing or signage, or pulling into your typeface anything that may be considered a traditional letterform.
You may complete this assignment by whichever means you feel is appropriate for communicating your intended message. ie. You may choose to illustrate or paint your final artwork, you may choose to build elements and photograph them, or you may choose to compose it digitally. Note: All imagery used in your composition (illustrations, photographs, or constructed environments) must be of your own creation. You are not permitted to simply credit another source.
Students are introduced to the idea of working within a system. Each individual character will need to be considered, but will ultimately have to fit within the structure of the entire alphabet. As students are able to use whichever media they choose, they have the opportunity to work out styles and aesthetics of their choosing, while also being introduced to the roman alphabet and all of its inherent structures. Often times, the compilation of 26 different characters into one composition ends up being one of the more challenging aspects of this assignment. As such, an Adobe Illustrator template file is provided, for those who wish to stick to a pre-determined structure.
• All process related to this project to be submitted in a docket or via electronic process blog.
• Illustration board — 11x17 inches.
• Illustration board must be covered with a tracing paper overlay for instructor feedback and a mayfair overlay for protection. Both overlays should be folded over the top of your artwork and adhered to the back.
• A Hi Resolution PDF file of the final artwork uploaded to the Dropbox folder on Slate. File name: lastname_firstname_prj5.pdf
This project not only allows students to play with forms of their own creation, it forces them to compile all of those elements into one composition. As such, students should be reminded not to spend too much time at the front end of their process coming up with the perfect concept, not allowing themselves appropriate time for assembly. I have, over the years, also pushed students to work outside of the template provided and to see if they cannot make one composition that "contains" all of the alphabetic forms. So for example, it may look like an underwater scene, but everything in the composition is contributing to the theme of the alphabet. So fish, coral, sunken treasures, plants, might all be manipulated to look like a natural environment, all the while showing the 26 characters of the roman alphabet.
Lastly, some students will chose to work with the "duality" of the alphabet where each letter is reflected in the form drawn. So, A is for alligator, B is for baboon, etc. Students should be cautioned that should they choose to pursue this concept, they should first write out each letter of the alphabet and make sure that something exists for each letter, before committing to a concept that cannot be completed.