Ornamental Letter


Brooke Nelson – Hand-Lettered Design

Brooke Nelson – Digital Translation

Seungmi Kwon

Becca Zimmerman

Level: , , ,
Duration: 4 weeks
Category: ,
Filed Under: , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

You will be assigned a Grimms Fairy Tale in class. Begin by reading the story and taking notes. Then start sketching your ideas for an ornamental letter. This project is meant to familiarize you with the trace paper methodology of lettering. You will work at 100% (or larger) scale on trace paper. You revise your design by tracing the previous layer and making adjustments on the new. Start with less detail – focusing at first on form and composition. The final layer should have more intricacy.

Learning Objectives

Students learn to develop hand-lettered and illustrative pieces using a layered trace-paper methodology. They also learn how to digitally translate their work from print.


For Phase 1, you will turn in your original trace paper design, without added color (should be in pencil or pen). For Phase 2, you will turn in a digitized version of your design – it will likely be full color.


They read Phill Meggs Chapters 4 & 5, and I take them to the Special Collections library at our University, and I bring in reproductions of the Book of Kells. I also lecture on contemporary lettering artists and designers such as Martina Flor, Louise Fili, and Jessica Hische.


I like that this project allows students to focus on just one letterform for an extended period of time, but it doesn\\\'t allow as much integration of other design elements or small text.

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