O'Reilly logo

Playing with Type: 50 graphic experiments for exploring typographic design principles by Lara McCormick

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:104
102-127_29438.indd 104 10/24/12 4:19 PM
(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:105
102-127_29438.indd 105 10/24/12 4:19 PM
104 playing with type
(Text)
31
hand lettering 101
Good typography is meant to be clear and
easy to read—lettering has some wiggle
room. Lettering often acts as a work of art
on its own, inviting the audience to spend
more time with the piece. Challenging
the viewer to decipher some words can
be a good thing within a compelling
composition. Combining words into abstract
and improvised illustrations forces you
to work letters into strange spaces and
enclosures. Experimentation is the key to
developing your own style. The more you
draw, the more you discover new ways to
render words and letterforms.
Create a hand-lettered composition.
Select a quote, and practice writing the
words in different lettering styles. Spend
some time tracing letterforms from existing
typefaces. Getting used to drawing the
shapes, curves, thicks, and thins will help
you when creating your own.
Sketch a framework for your quote. Map out
the words in a composition to use as a loose
guideline for your illustration. It’s difficult
to judge how much room you have to fit a
word or phrase, and this process will
remove the guesswork (there’s nothing
worse than running out of space after
drawing your letterforms).
Scan your favorite composition, digitize it,
and clean it up in Illustrator. Now its time
to add color and fill.
One of the challenges of lettering in this
style is creating cohesion out of random,
improvised words and characters. You can
do this through the use of a consistent color
palette. Letters and words of different
shapes and sizes can live in harmony when
placed strategically in relation to one
another. For example, if your typographic
composition forms a particular shape,
mixing the letter styles within the shape
will still make the composition appear
cohesive. A good rule of thumb is to always
have a unifying feature no matter how
diverse your letterforms are.
Keep practicing! Lettering is about
experimentation, practice, and fun. Each is
as important as the other. The more you
draw, the better you get.
Project contributed by Chris Piascik.
(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:104
102-127_29438.indd 104 10/24/12 4:19 PM
lettering play 105
(Text)
Above and opposite page: Lettering: Chris Piascik
(Ray)
(Fogra 39)Job:10-29438 Title:RP-Playing with Type
#175 Dtp:225 Page:105
102-127_29438.indd 105 10/24/12 4:19 PM

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required