Andrew Kutchera
Senior Lecturer of Design

Advanced Typography / Phrase Exploration

Project Published 8/10/14 Last updated on 5/16/18

I like the exercise described below since it offers students a way to explore the way letterforms interact, and it also prompts a discussion of the meaning of letterforms, as well as typographic terminology. This exercise also requires that students really dive into the software and explore the how to use multiple programs within one project.


Select an adage or proverb. Search for typefaces or lettering samples which feel appropriate for your message. You should employ magazines, type specimen books or your own photographs as your material. You will use your samples to create eight collages which spell out your phrase. It's important to select a wide range of typographic choices, not just ones that make sense on first viewing. In the second phase, you will select the most successful collage and redesign it six times using the computer. Make sure to keep the underlying concepts and rough composition, but test all the formal relationships.


Accompanying readings:
> If the Image of the Text Has More Value Than Its Content / Wigger Bierma and Ewan Lentjes (Eye)
> In the Absence of Good and Bad Taste / Alastair Johnston (Eye)
> Set the Letters Free / Jason Grant (Eye)

  • Acrobat

    The complete PDF solution for working anywhere. (includes desktop, web, and mobile access)

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • Illustrator

    Create beautiful vector art and illustrations.

  • InDesign

    Craft elegant layouts at your desk or on the go.

Age Levels
1+ Week

Each student must have — printed copies of handout / scissors and glue stick / Adobe CC with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat.

CC License
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