Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Long-Term Project Glyph Deadline

Due March 9, early reviews begin March 2. Students should have completed all of the vowels for their typeface design, as well as any consonants needed to set the following words:


Set your words with good kerning. If you have an all-caps face, consider increasing the tracking (inter-letter spacing).

too close: FADED
more spacing: F A D E D

The next deadline is after Spring Break, March 23, when you need at least 40 glyphs drawn for a formal critique.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Long-Term Project Workflow

264 points, Final Typeface Design (due last day of class, Thurs. Apr. 20): making the letters, numbers, punctuation, and/or other glyphs, with 52 glyphs in all and vectorizing them in Illustrator (any/all type must be vectorized, even if you have made it with pen and ink or a brush); students will also create a spec sheet (all of the glyphs on a single format, showing every glyph they've made), a branding board that has the name of their font, and three capabilities with your design used in 3 ways (may be any or all of the following, print, digital, 3d, environment, etc.)

See the class calendar for critiques, deadlines, and milestones.

Required Reading, Playing:

Create a total of 52 glyphs: Letters, Numbers, Punctuation, Symbols, Flourishes, Alternate Characters. Glyphs shall be delivered as vectorized character outlines, produced in Adobe Illustrator, saved as outlines in both Adobe Illustrator (AI) and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) formats. Letters may be drawn or painted first, scanned in for vectorization, and handed in as AI and PDF files. Letters may also begin in Illustrator, as pure vector files.

Character Options: students must create 52 characters in all, and can choose one of the following approaches
  1. 26 uppercase, 26 lowercase
  2. unicase - 26 uppercase, plus others* (see below for full list): numerals 0-9, punctuation, swashes, and/or other characters
  3. unicase - 26 lowercase, plus others* (see below for full list): numerals 0-9, punctuation, swashes, and/or other characters
  4. any option not listed above must be approved by the instructor
*the 26 others
  1. items 2 and 3 below are required for the others, and students may choose from items 4-11 for their additional characters
  2. digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  3. punctuation: periods, commas, open/closing quotes, apostrophes, colons, semicolons
  4. alternate characters, such as various styles of one or more letters, see Amanda Moore's Tonic from last term as an example
  5. swashes, such as stylized ampersands (&) or upper- and lower-case letters
  6. fractions: ½, ⅓, ⅔, ¼, ¾
  7. math symbols, multiplication, plus, divide
  8. currency symbols, US, EU, Asia, UK currency marks
  9. miscellaneous: copyright, registration, trademark, servicemark, diamonds, arrows
  10. crosses: Roman, Orthodox, Celtic
  11. Latin accents: grave, acute, circumflex, tilde, diaeresis, ring, macron, breve, ogonek, caron, etc.
Final Deliverables. In addition to creating your font, students are expected to create the following to market their typeface and give it a personality. The model for the items below is the Lost Type Co-op, where they have name boards in their browse section. Note: all sizes below are in points, so size your layouts accordingly. You can build these in any program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign), but note the file requirements asked for when turning in the work.

A. Multiple Spec Sheets: 842 points wide by 597 points high, 300dpi, RGB, TIFF—will include all 52 of your characters, can be color, should have your name, as the designer also listed in the layout, as well as the font's name too. This is noted as Multiple, as in many spec sheets because some students may need to show more than one spec sheet, especially those with layered typefaces. But these are the ones you are required to show:
  • black text on white ground
  • white text on black ground
  • others (as needed) perhaps colored for layer effect

The following works in sections B and C shall be assessed and counted as a separate grade from your letter design work.

B. One Brand Board: 700 points wide by 300 points high, 300dpi, RGB, TIFF—this will have the name of your typeface on it, and use materials and color in order to promote a look and feel, the character if you will, of your font. Consider how a background image, faint or full, or texture, can add to that character. 

C. Three Capabilities Layouts: your typeface used in situation, and applied to a layout or other design application; the application should be appropriate, meaning it makes sense as it's applied; an example of an inappropriate application would be Comic Sans used on the resume of a banker, which would look rather dubious; format may be rectangular as portrait or landscape, may also be square in shape, but cannot be any smaller than 500 points in any one direction, must be 300dpi and RGB, TIFF; examples include but are not limited to: billboards, wordmarks and other brand identity, tabular layouts such as stock information, album covers, posters, bumper stickers, book covers, eight track cassette tapes, vinyl record labels, CD cases, railroad signage, trading post signage, stationery, envelopes, rock band poster, classical music posters, toy packaging, real estate advertisement and/or identity, cigarette packaging or advertisement, cigar packaging or advertisement, alcohol packaging or advertisement, etc., etc.

Worth 264 points total, with category points as follows:
  • 20 craft
  • 124 composition of glyphs, including legibility and overall unity
  • 20 research and development
  • 40 presentation and professionalism
  • 60 capabilities designs, collateral's quality, composition, rendering
  • detailed assessment criteria will be shared in-class

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Select one book from the list below, and design a cover using only typography. Students are encouraged to select a book they've read, and they are also encouraged to re-read the book as part of their research. Another option: Select a book you've not read, and read it just for this project.
  • 1984
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Animal Farm
  • Brave New World
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Dracula
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Frankenstein
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Heart of Darkness
  • Jane Eyre
  • Little Women
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Merchant of Venice
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Color Purple
  • The Fountainhead
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • The Joy Luck Club
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Shipping News
  • The Stranger
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (a.k.a., Ripley, no. 1)
  • The War of the Worlds
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Valley of the Dolls
  • You Must Remember This
  • (other titles not listed must be approved by the instructor)

Select your one book and submit at least 3 rough concepts at the early review stage (Feb. 23). Hand in 1 final design at the project's conclusion (Feb. 28).

You may work in color, you may include textures, patterns, ornaments/decoration, and graphics. However, neither photographic images nor icons/symbols may be used—nothing representational. In other words, if you select The War of the Worlds, you cannot use stars, planets, aliens, spaceships, farms, lasers, skeletons, people.

Learning Outcomes:
  • design, layout, and compose specifically and only with typography
  • develop visual ideas using limited graphic elements, namely, only typography
  • explore and make typography that may be hand-crafted with pencil, pen, brush, and paper, or their digital equivalent, and using type for book design
  • work with typography in a digital environment, be it Illustrator or Photoshop, and compose it in a layout
  • understand vocabulary used with typography, type setting, and book cover design

Design Research & Process
  • Absorb the content: get to know your material, read and re-read your book; read about your book, read about your author and the time period the book takes place
  • Analyze the content: understand what's important, what the "big idea" is; how to make your book cover unique while being relevant and meaningful
  • Understand your audience 
  • Be mindful of appropriateness, contrast, and readability of images
  • Render your visuals: draw, collage, set type; revise as needed

Suggested Approaches for the Design Stage
  • Direct: using a font that appears as if it is a "close match" to the content in your book 
  • Simple versus Complex (contrast): using a simple font in conjunction within (or with) a busy environment; or using a complex font within a simple environment 
  • Historical Relevance: the font can have historical connection to the material in your text, such that it was designed during a period of significance in your text's content, or maybe it originated near a country of significance 
  • Hand Made: rendering the cover entirely by hand, drawn, painted, or printed
  • Atmospheric: uses textures, patterns, overlapping, layering, transparency, collage, etc. to evoke the sense of that topic; evoke, verb: 1. bring or recall to the conscious mind: the sight of baseball evokes pleasant memories of going to baseball games with my dad; 2. to elicit a response: the awkward kid who evoked giggles from his sisters via Oxford English Dictionary

For additional suggestions and creative paths, read the very wonderful Type, Image, Message by Skolos and Wedell, and consult other texts listed in this site's sidebar.

  • size your book cover based on actual edition of the book, be it a paperback or hardcover
  • you need only design the book's cover, however, consideration of the full form of the book (cover, spine, and back cover) is possible
  • you may have a book case, be it a full slip-case or a partial one
  • you may have a book jacket that goes over a hardcover
  • you may have a 3D book cover
  • test your book cover printed at 100% size, as well as scaled down as a thumbnail that would appear on Amazon, Google Books, or another digital library

  • Concept and Sketch/Ideation Deadline: at least 3 different well-crafted and appropriate cover ideas, Thurs. Feb. 23, as PDFs to Turnstile_2 or rough sketches on paper
  • Final Deadline: Tues. Feb. 28, start of class, one book cover
  • Final Format: PDF saved to Turnstile_2 in our class folder 

worth 100 points total
  • 10 craft
  • 40 composition, layout, readability
  • 30 concept, message, research
  • 20 presentation, professionalism

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long-Term Project Lab Work

Students will use Feb. 16's class time for hunting and gathering, finding two typefaces to aid in their visual research. Each student will analyze the typefaces using the instructions below.

The two typefaces you analyze during class time will be due at our next class, Feb. 21, along with two additional ones, for a total of four typeface analyses in all.

I. Find two different typefaces like yours:
  • similar in stroke, especially stroke contrast
  • similar in shape, position, and/or detail
  • similar proportions of width and height
  • similar weight be it thin, bold, or black

II. Set each typeface in the case you will make:
  • be it lower abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

III. Look at the letterforms you've set in lowercase and/or uppercase, identifying the following for each typeface (remember, you need to do this for two typefaces total in class and they need not look exactly like yours or what you plan on making):
  • height
  • cap height
  • median (the top of the lowercase 'x')
  • baseline
  • ascender height
  • descender height 
  • overshoot and undershoot
  • width
  • widest letter
  • narrowest letter 
  • proportion
  • size of upper shapes compared to lower (C, B, S, E, F, P, K, Z, G, O, X, Y)
  • relationship of left/right halves (Y, U, J, O, M, W, Q, T, H, X, A, V)
  • in addition to the above, seek out and identify other proportional relationships or anomalies on your own
  • strokes
  • stroke consistency or stroke difference, using a matrix
  • measurement of strokes at thinnest and thickest points (measure in points)
  • shapes
  • are circular shapes actually circles 
  • are straight lines actually straight
  • are square-like shapes really squares
  • tiny details
  • are dots on i square, diamond, round
  • what about periods, commas, quotes
  • what about dots on ! and ?
  • does the J go below the baseline, if so, how far
  • what does the tail of the Q look like
  • if you're doing lowercase, how do the a, e, f, and g look?

The two typefaces you analyze during class time will be due at our next class, Feb. 21, along with two additional ones, for a total of four typeface analyses in all.

Visiting Lecture II

Thurs. Feb. 23
9:15 a.m.
Rutledge 220

Alyssa Baker from BOLTGROUP, who graduated from Winthrop's VCOM program, will visit class and share her work and her process for BOLTLETTERS. She will also talk about AIGA and how you can get involved with current and upcoming events and happenings with AIGA Charlotte.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Visiting Lecture I

Thurs. Feb. 9
8:30 a.m.
Rutledge 220

Lettering artist and graphic designer Kathie Soza will visit our class to show her design work and talk about her process. She will critique your Project 2 work, which you should have printed out at 100% size and pinned to the walls for review.

See the Project 2 brief for more information about the final deadline, that has been revised.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Statement

see updates below regarding Feb. 9 critique and new deadline of Feb. 14, to accommodate for visiting lecturer on Feb. 9

Project 2, The Statement, challenges your typographic and lettering abilities, requiring you to design letterforms for a political or promotional statement, or for a passage or phrase such as a direct quote.

You will be making a word, words, or a sentence that is:
  • political in nature
  • promotional, and encouraging or challenging
  • passage (as a direct quote) from a book, poem, text, or meme
  • phrase (spoken words) from a movie, play, television show, cartoon

Your statement may be:
  • kind or angry 
  • happy or sad
  • focused or confused
  • funny or serious
  • controversial or commonplace
  • academic or an absurd meme
  • calm or manic
  • a meme or a quote
  • from print, television, a song, or a movie, as well as a play, musical, or performance

Learning Outcomes:
  • learn and refine freehand drawing skills for making multiple glyphs (letterforms)
  • learn and refine digital drawing skills, as well as drawing input and refinement in Adobe Illustrator
  • exploration of type styles that may be hand-crafted with pencil, pen, brush, and paper, or their digital equivalent
  • awareness of visual and formal vocabulary with regard to glyph rendering, drawing, editing, and making

worth 80 points total
  • 20 craft, rendering technique
  • 10 composition within the 10 by 10 inch format
  • 30 composition of the lettering and typography, legibility, readability
  • 10 concept and message
  • 10 professionalism, making portfolio-worthy work

process, development
  • for the Jan. 26 critique, bring at least one of each of the following for discussion: a political statement, a promotional statement, a passage (direct quote), and a phrase (may be another direct quote or a meme)
  • with your chosen statement in hand, explore the ways you can render it typographically, be it through lettering, designing a typeface, or building/constructing type by hand using 3D methods
  • work in class on the chosen direction Jan. 26 and Jan. 31
  • updated Feb. 4: you may incorporate graphic elements such as shapes, ornaments, decoration, and/or photography, but the lettering and typography needs to do a majority of the work, the heavy lifting
  • updated Feb. 6: refine and finalize the work, having 100% size and full-color work hung up on Feb. 9 for a critique; revisions may be made over the weekend with a final delivery on Tues. Feb. 14

final format:
  1. full color
  2. 10 by 10 inch format
  3. lettering elements and/or strokes may break the format, going off the edge for a bleed
  4. submit both EPS and PNG for final to Turnstile_2
  5. Illustrator.EPS vector file
  6. PNG (ideally PNG-24) with transparency, no compression, RGB, 600dpi
see the Course Calendar for more information about deadlines

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Long-Term Project

The long-term project, a.k.a. LTP, a.k.a. Project 4, a.k.a. Final Typeface, is worth 330 of the 630 total points for the term, making it approximately 52% of the term's overall grade. The long-term project has three components.
36 points Final Typeface Research (Thurs. Feb. 2): presenting a variety of type designs that you are interested in exploring for the final project, with a discussion about the work you're interested in pursuing; you will pitch no less than 3 typeface designs that you could pursue for the semester as your long-term project; they may be of any classification (sans serif, serif, slab serif, script, decorative, etc.) and used for one or more applications (print, digital, environmental, etc.) for display and large formatting or for long-form, focused and intensive reading
  • 3 points craft of presentation and its imagery
  • 15 points no less than 3 typeface designs (5 points per example) for possible pursuit shown as found type that you've photographed or drawings you've made on your own
  • 15 points specifying where each of your typefaces could be used appropriately in print and/or digital and/or environmental applications
  • 3 points presentation, professionalism, following directions
  • presented as a 11-inch wide by 8.5-inch high multi-page PDF in class at the Windows workstation, and also copied to our Turnstile_2 folder

30 points, Final Typeface Proposal (Tues. Feb. 14): presenting your narrowed-down direction and identifying the glyphs you will make, be they uppercase, lowercase, numbers, punctuation, math symbols, symbols, graphics, icons, etc.; you will need to have a total of 52 glyphs for the Final Typeface Design (see Final Typeface Design); examples of 52 glyphs include 26 uppercase plus 26 lowercase, or 26 uppercase plus 10 numerals and 16 punctuation, or 26 uppercase plus 26 alternate characters, or make a layered typeface with 26 uppercase and 26 uppercase fills and/or outlines to transform the uppercase, etc., layered examples include Sullivan, as well as fonts by Terrance Weinzierl such as Pizza Press
  • 10 points at least 1 typeface design you will pursue for the remainder of the semester, showing at least 10 glyphs that serve as an example: example glyphs you show must include ZHORL or zhorl; if you'll only do uppers or only do lowers, then show ZHORL (or zhorl), and 5 other glyphs, be they numbers or punctuation, or symbols (show 10 sample glyphs in all, at 1 point for each glyph) may be drawn by hand or drawn using Adobe Illustrator
  • 10 points specifying what complete glyph set you will make in total (see the examples above about the 52 combination examples), you may type your glyph set for this presentation using any typeface; in other words, you don't have to design your typeface's 52 glyphs for this proposal
  • 5 points specifying 5 places/applications where your typeface could be appropriately used in print and/or digital and/or environmental and/or signage/wayfinding areas, among others, show examples as photograph, design prototypes, or other visuals
  • 5 points presentation, professionalism, following directions
  • recommended presentation: 11-inch wide by 8.5-inch high multi-page PDF shown in class at the Windows workstation, and also copied to our Turnstile_2 folder 

264 points, Final Typeface Design (due last day of class, Thurs. Apr. 20): making the letters, numbers, punctuation, and/or other glyphs, with 52 glyphs in all and vectorizing them in Illustrator (any/all type must be vectorized, even if you have made it with pen and ink or a brush); students will also create a spec sheet (all of the glyphs on a single format, showing every glyph they've made), a branding board that has the name of their font, and three capabilities with your design used in 3 ways (may be any or all of the following, print, digital, 3d, environment, etc.)

This post will be updated with more information as the semester progresses, and we will discuss the Research, Proposal, and Design components in class as we near the first of the above deadlines.

See examples from prior years in Turnstile_2’s VCOM 358 folder.