Type Hike


Izzy Cruz – Sea Shore, First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Adam Caporuscio – Skyline Drive

Sarah Gugercin – Stadium Woods, Blacksburg, Virginia

Reagan Adams – Fairystone Park (with typographic study)

Mackensie Hessler, Sydney Haddon, Nina Morris – Examples of how having a limited color palette for the class enabled cohesion for the exhibition, even though styles were quite different

Educator/s: ,
Level: , ,
Duration: 1 month
Category: , , , ,
Filed Under: , , , , , , , , , ,
Bookmark Project

Project Brief

In 2016, David Rygiol and James Walker created Type Hike, a collaborative non-profit design project that celebrates and supports the outdoors through typography. The project was born from the belief that all designers are obligated to use their talent and ability to make the world a more beautiful place. Over the past three years, they’ve worked with nearly 200 designers to create typographic posters, raising money for numerous national parks – most recently the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. (http://typehike.com) This class assignment is based on that project.

Student Prompt:

You will select a park, place, monument, or museum that you will be able to visit at least once during the duration of this assignment.

You will come up with word lists describing the place, complete several typographic exercises, sketch poster ideas, and eventually create a typographic solution. Colors must be chosen from a provided (limited) color palette.

Learning Objectives

Explore typographic expression and how a typeface and style can convey meaning.

+ Get Outside and See the World
+ Hierarchy
+ Typographic Expression
+ Message Making


+ A process book
+ An 18x24 Poster
+ Pdf file of poster


This project is based on the ongoing project “Type Hike” – more of which can be seen at http://typehike.com

Leading up to their final solution students created descriptive word lists, numerous typographic studies, and a variety of sketches. Students were told to explore how different styles could convey and shift meaning. The final work of the students was put on display in an exhibition entitled “Words Matter” at the Perspective Gallery, an exhibition space that emphasizes social good.

I also had students do a "Ten Words" Exercise (based on one given by Rob Carter):

As letters represent a sound in language, words represent a more comprehensive meaning. In this project you explore typographic ways to reenforce the meaning of words.

  1. Choose any ten English language words with a commonly understood meaning that relate to your place.
  2. Sketch an idea for each word. Share in class.
  3. Select your favorite 5 and digitally develop based on a prompt given in class.

You may use only black ink in any typeface and any size you like. You may not use any photography, illustration, or non- typographic shapes. Your solutions should not be altered to the point that they are no longer type; your solutions should still feel typographic. You should be creative and expressive in your use of type. Try to represent the meaning of each word as clearly and as simply as possible; overly complex solutions are usually not as successful as simple ones are. Remember to use scale, placement, cropping, etc. to your advantage. While you cannot use color, you can use screens of black (shades of gray) to help you in your solution.


This project has also been the inspiration for a workshop at Utah Valley University, led by James Walker. For this, he focused on using narrative and history to tell a story. He wanted to find out how you could represent a larger-than-life thing as a poster or icon – truly getting at the essence of a place. James asked workshop attendees to discover ancient lore, mysterious happenings, current purpose, factoids, and personal stories. By looking at the same place through such a variety of lenses, immensely different solutions emerge.

Overall, this was a great way to get students to go out into the world to find inspiration.

I recommend having this project fall over Spring Break, so students have more opportunity to go travel to places for the assignment.

Related projects