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Project 3: Fictional Letterforms (Process Work)

Project 3: Fictional Letterforms was all about seeing letters through a designer’s eyes: as lines, curves, and shapes. Although we as designers clearly realize this and utilize letters in a way the rest of the world does, we also have trained ourselves to see letters outside of their everyday context and to take a step back in order to analyze their visual qualities. This project also capitalized on the various type classifications and the characteristics which set them apart from each other.

Here is a small excerpt from Ellen Lupton’s “Thinking with Type” on Type classification:

  • “A basic system for classifying typefaces was devised in the nineteenth century, when printers sought to identify a heritage for their own craft connected to calligraphy and the movement of the hand.”

For this project, I chose to utilize the font Perpetua, which falls under the type classification of Transitional. I worked to study the font closely, noticing all of it’s unique distinctions. I initially typed the entire lowercase alphabet out on my computer, and used this as a guide to begin sketching some thumbnails. I focused first on breaking up the letter, getting close and seeing every individual curve, weight, and overall taking notice of the different parts of the anatomy.


I then moved on to experimenting with creating my own fictional letterform based off of my previous findings:


The next step was to then switch over from using a pencil and paper to creating letterforms in Illustrator:

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After much experimentation, I chose the following letter form to be my final product. It is a combination of the letters u, t and g.


The file was then sent to Professor Dan, who took the time to get each student’s letter laser cut on wood in the WSU wood shop. I then spray painted the letter matte black. We were then asked to have a “photoshoot” with our letter, collecting various images to potentially be used in the next step of the project: the creation of a poster.



Once I had collected my images, I began to work on the poster. The poster project had a very rigid set of guidelines that were to be followed. I spent time working on various elements, such a devising a Pantone color scheme, showing my letterform interacting with the existing alphabet, naming my letterform and deciding it’s phonetic spelling, and writing¬† information about the typographic category from which it came (transitional).

below: working on my poster

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Posted by Ciara Diamond on October 21, 2014

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